During its 116-year history, the Kempinski Group has grown from a single establishment in Berlin into a worldwide group operating from its headquarters in Geneva.
Since the Thailand Crown Property Bureau took a majority stake in the group in 2004, Kempinski has rapidly grown its portfolio to include 76 5-star hotels in more than 30 countries.
Growth has come through a series of mergers and acquisitions, which have been overseen in recent years by director of corporate finance Nina Eckerle. The group includes one directly owned hotel in Munich, two leased properties and “managed” hotels that remit a fee to Kempinski as part of their contract with the group.
This varied structure made life somewhat difficult for the finance team.
“People were everywhere in the world and doing things completely differently,” Eckerle explained. “To get information at the end of year from everyone was difficult: some was Excel-based, some came in on PDFs. There was a lot going forward and backward and it was very stressful to get all the information in a quick time.”
Kempinski is a private company, but is still subject to the Swiss ICS [internal control system], which is similar to the US Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. “It means we have to have more documentation and automated approvals,” Eckerle said, “so we started thinking about going in the US direction.”
The need to streamline its consolidation processes and for additional documentation and functionality ultimately led Kempinski to the Californian web-reconciliation specialist, BlackLine...