rethinking organizational charts

Legal entity management – rethinking organizational charts

3 February, 2023


How to succeed in automating and delivering org charts to the group

In many organizations, maintaining and updating org charts could be challenging. Entities may have changed names, become dormant, or a change in the ownership structure has taken place. Changes such as these must be reflected in the org charts you maintain for the group. Often you also have many charts to update, e.g., one for the group, one for the large countries, and one for each segment/division, etc., which may take a long time to update.

Several group stakeholders request Org charts for internal or external purposes, such as inclusions in filings with authorities in various compliance processes. The stakeholders require high-quality data and correct org charts, and these requirements increase the need to secure that you can produce up-to-date org charts. In addition, you need to meet the specific requirements that some departments may have.

When you implement a process to secure high-quality data and org charts, there are a few things that, in our experience, are vital to consider.

Legal entity management

The first step is to secure that you efficiently collect data which you need to draw up the org charts. This step is done via a legal entity management system. It is crucial that you collect all data points required for an org chart and that it is easy to add or change the data you collect to meet future requirements.

It is also essential to reflect the different segments you have in your group to give you added flexibility when producing your org charts. Sometimes it could be helpful to keep track of your operating entities and build a bridge between the legal and operational structure. If you have many entities and are making restructurings or spn-offs, it may be vital to have this information and to include this information in an org chart.

When you work with collecting legal entity data, you must have a flexible access rights system that allows you to reflect your organization, e.g., to work centralized or decentralized. The flexible and advanced access rights system will enable smart functionality when you draw up your charts. For example, it will allow you to automatically grant access to certain people to view charts for a country or a segment and restrict others from viewing these. You can also push down the possibility of drawing up and maintaining charts to a sub-division or automatically publishing charts on your intranet.

Org chart functionality

To produce a high-quality org chart quickly, you need a full integration with your legal entity management solution. The org chart function needs to be intuitive and user-friendly yet include advanced functionality that gives you options to customize and display different information in your charts. The key word is flexibility.

The org charts should be drawn up automatically based on the information from your legal entity management solution. This function will save you much time, starting with quality-controlled data and avoiding a manual drawing process. An example of how powerful it can be is when you pick any historical date, a selection of companies, and have the solution automatically draw up the chart for the selected date.

You want to ensure that you have a continuously developed solution with new functions to meet new compliance requirements. The legal entity management solutions and the org chart function should be future-proof.

Examples of specific functions

Many different functions may be helpful when you draw a chart. Some that you may want to consider including in your solution are listed below.

  • Include advanced charting with, e.g., cross-ownerships and treasury shares
  • Quickly select which countries, entities, segments, or entity statuses to include in a chart
  • Manage permanent establishments, operating entities and quickly draw up sub-groups, or various ownership chains
  • Select what information to include in a chart, e.g., company number or external shareholders
  • Fine-tune information that is included and how it is displayed
  • Quickly and easily draw up charts for historical dates
  • Apply extensive formatting possibilities in a chart with your colors and logos
  • Fine-tune all data and how it is shown in the chart
  • Define and automatically update charts at regular intervals of your choice
  • Get notifications of what changes have been made to each chart
  • Automatically publish charts for a wider audience
  • Draw up a chart for one entity showing direct owners (internal & external) and direct subsidiaries with the click of a button

Examples of how what you can achieve with an advanced charting function

You want to draw up a chart for the 3rd of April last year to show the group structure before a large restructuring. You also want to highlight certain entities, such as holding and dormant entities. The chart should show a specific division, but only all North American entities in that division. You also want one chart which includes all entities owned by a north American entity outside of North America and one that excludes them. Finally, you want the chart to show the color scheme and logo of the selected division.

An advanced charting function allows you to select different shapes for different types of entities, such as rounded corners for holding companies and specific colors for dormant entities, etc. Furthermore, it should be possible to easily select companies with exclusions to show only the companies you want to show in the chart for a specific date. It should be possible to display entities next to each other or grouped. Suppose you have an entity under liquidation and want to highlight this. In that case, it should be easy to show the under liquidation status for that entity and have all charts automatically updated where this entity is included. When you have the chart ready, applying the color scheme and logo for the division you are drawing is easy with an advanced charting solution.

The group perspective

The compliance burden is increasing in multinational groups. Thus, people responsible for the legal entity data and org charts will be affected since this information is needed in many compliance processes. The increased compliance requirements mean you must deliver data to several departments. Each department may have its requirements and need the data at different intervals. You need to meet these requirements. Implementing an efficient data collection process that keeps track of how data changes over time and connects this to an org chart function will make it easier to meet these demands.

The advanced functions described above are examples of how you can meet the increasing requirements when drawing up many charts for various internal and external stakeholders and situations.

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