Compliance in Asset Management for a Global Company
BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies, with interests in more than 100 countries and over 96,000 employees.
Because of its size and its continued growth, BP’s Convenience Retail group in the United States needed a standard, more efficient method for processing certain requests, as well as an accepted process for tracking and reporting on those requests to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.
BP Sought Automation To...
- Replace paper finance memos with a more efficient, more regulated, automated system to save time and provide a paper trail for all financial requests.
- Find an approval management system that would integrate with the company’s SAP system and not duplicate its functionality.
- Find a way to track and archive data necessary for compliance under the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.
- The solution needed to be affordable as it had not been planned for previously in the group’s budget for that year.
BP’s financial team researched the available solutions and determined that Integrify came closest to offering exactly what the company needed.
“The cost and the simplicity of Integrify were the two big reasons for choosing the solution,” said Elizabeth Petrie, Capital Planning Controller, BP. “There were a lot of programs out there, but some of them were overkill. We use SAP for our financial information, which wouldn’t change, and it doesn’t do the project tracking.”
A primary benefit of choosing the approval management system was finding a solution that directly addressed compliance issues. Integrify has a built-in capability that offers reporting and analytics that simplify SOX compliance.
“Before Integrify, we used paper ‘finance memos’ that weren’t all standard, that resulted in storage issues, that often lacked the appropriate approvals and then later were difficult to look up and locate,” said Petrie.
“Our users always had trouble finding the information before, but now employees know where to find it, it’s all in one place.”
According to Petrie, getting the appropriate approvals for the company’s capital spend from the right people with the correct DLA, then tracking them and storing the information all in one place, was one of BP’s greatest challenges and drivers behind implementing an approval management system.
The Integrify Solution
Integrify has provided BP with significant flexibility and a wide breadth of request types that specifically match the Convenience Retail group’s needs.
Approximately 150 employees in multiple locations of the Asset Management department in the Convenience Retail group are designated system users. Integrify is used to attain approvals to spend capital money in the United States and to track each project (a couple of hundred at a time) once it is implemented. Request types for individual projects include divestment memos, approval of changes in site floor plans, and allocations for raise-and-rebuilds.
The Integrify system also allows companies to implement, monitor, and control processes and policies that require authorizations as part of the internal control compliance requirements in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. By allowing users to design, describe and publish corporate policy; automate the enforcement of internal controls; create a complete audit trail of control activities; and automate and document risk assessments, the software will help the company reduce the extra time and cost of auditing and attesting on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting.
The system also allows BP to move approvals and projects forward in a more timely fashion, not just due to the automation of the approval system but because of the ease with which Petrie can set up and monitor each process.
“I can create my own reports, I can change my own forms, and I can change the process whenever I need to,” said Petrie. “With some of our approvers, it depends on what market of the country they’re in, and sometimes those designations change at odd times.
"Integrify makes those quick changes transparent and I can see how everything is working.”
“I can have the process ordered any way I choose, and I can see it,” she said. “Before, someone would have to submit a real request before I could see if it would work, but now I can check beforehand and see what order the approvals will be routed, whether the request was submitted properly, whether all the approvers are included in the routing.”
Integrify was working so well in getting BP projects approved and initialized that Petrie’s group soon found it a useful tool in tracking the projects through to the end.
“We were just using it to have our projects approved, but then we still had problems getting updates on the progress of those projects, and that affects our balance sheet,” she said. “If the ending date changes and we don’t know about it, that can be a problem. But with Integrify, I can adjust the ending date and send it, and it changes throughout the system in SAP.”
The most significant return on the investment has been the increased simplicity of the processes because the group can process and track requests in real-time, which makes the process more efficient and allows BP to move forward with projects in much less time than before.
“Potentially, a project can be approved in one day if you get everyone on board to check their dashboard,” said Petrie. “There was no way that was going to happen before. We had people scattered all over the country—someone in Chicago had to approve it, and then maybe someone in Los Angeles, and it could take weeks when we were paper-based.”
The Convenience Retail and Fuels groups are separate entities, and the latter is not currently using an approval management system, so BP is looking into expanding its use of Integrify into that group in the future.