How Takeda accelerated the financial close process by nearly two weeks

Takeda, a leading pharmaceutical company, collaborated with EY teams to help create value through finance innovation and process excellence.

The better the question

How can finance work smarter, not harder?

Takeda wanted to transform its finance processes to accelerate the close and improve user experience.


Following the acquisition of Shire Pharmaceuticals in 2019, Takeda, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, started its journey toward becoming a best-in-class finance organization.

Takeda's global CFO, Costa Saroukos, acknowledged that in order to achieve its vision, the finance organization had to evolve. Working collaboratively with EY teams through a three-year engagement, Takeda’s financial close process underwent an end-to-end transformation to deliver an accelerated process while improving user experience.

“Project Quantum” was initiated to bring this vision to life and to advance the closing process to best-in-class. 

“When we launched Project Quantum in early 2020, it was clear that we had a long road ahead of us to reach our best-in-class aspirations in financial close processes. But I was confident that with our great people in Finance at Takeda and the right application, we could achieve this goal,” Saroukos said.

The project scope was expanded to include performance targets, with key metrics established that were strongly endorsed by Takeda’s senior leadership. These metrics went hand-in-hand with an effective monitoring and governance workstream tracking each of Takeda legal entity’s performance against these targets.

To deliver such a transformational impact, the project team was led by the record-to-disclose (R2D) global process owner and structured into four workstreams:

  • Base-to-close (local closing procedures, up to submission to the corporate team)
  • Calendar and governance
  • Finance systems, consolidation and governance
  • External reporting

Barbara Lenzlinger, Project Quantum Lead & Global Process Owner (R2D) at Takeda, said: “Our goal since the beginning of Project Quantum has been to accelerate the financial close by working smarter, not harder.”

Our goal since the beginning of Project Quantum has been to accelerate the financial close by working smarter, not harder.

The better the answer

Creating a successful close process

Project Quantum required broad expertise and a team that was able to collaborate across disciplines, regions and business units.


When optimizing the accounting processes, it was critical to establish a global close governance and monitoring initiative aimed at harmonizing the ways of working across the globe. Takeda’s project team set up daily huddle meetings to foster cross-functional collaboration and enterprise-wide thinking, which in turn accelerated the closing process significantly. The team also established a global, harmonized month-end close calendar.

Monitoring close submission timings created a culture of transparency as it highlighted dependencies between the closing activities. As part of the reporting KPIs, Takeda implemented a “right-first-time” metric, which ensured a greater focus on accuracy when reporting entities submitted their financials to the corporate team. Takeda managed to improve the number of right-first-time submissions significantly, which in turn avoided rework.

For the executive sponsors of the project, innovation and technological advancement have been key drivers for efficiencies along the journey. A core initiative was the development of a new digital accrual solution that automated monthly accrual postings while easily capturing pertinent data from purchase order (PO) users. This tool became a game changer for PO owners, with a greatly enhanced user experience and data being collated in a globally standardized manner for the first time. Ultimately, this release led to over 100,000 hours per year being saved, freeing up time to focus on more value-add close activities.

Saving time
hours of reviewing purchase orders saved per year from Project Quantum

The team also identified ways to help optimize the manual journal entry (MJE) process. They implemented multiple releases focused on automating key processes and developed an easy-to-use dashboard which provided more visibility on real-time statistics. Through improved controls, monitoring and reporting, combined with the standardization of global ways of working, the number of global MJEs was reduced by 75%, the equivalent of 45,000 productivity hours per year. 

Saving more time
hours of producing MJEs saved per year

Furthermore, Takeda aspired to simplify its enterprise resource planning (ERP) data journey into its consolidation system with the objective of reducing system complexity, thus enabling better data transparency and allowing users to spend more time on analytics and insights. Additionally, utilizing Takeda’s digital transformation allowed for improved process optimization which increased the transparency for financial data.

“The changes to our submission process are one of the most important initiatives for us to achieve our target of closing acceleration,” explained Nori Takeda, Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) at Takeda. “It was a great cross-functional team collaboration! And comprehensive training manuals for all users and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are valuable assets for us. Furthermore, this improvement enabled the Consolidation team to drive further process efficiencies to streamline the reporting process.”

The external reporting team focused on opportunities within the corporate reporting area in Japan by releasing a new platform, which reduced the manual work required to prepare high quality financial reports from a multi-week effort to just a few steps. Additionally, the preparation of some complex financial disclosures, such as revenue by product and region, is today automatically completed by pressing one button.

The better the world works

Becoming a best-in-class finance organization

Takeda’s finance transformation saves time and money by focusing on user experience.


Over the last three years, the collaborative efforts of the Takeda finance community, Takeda’s Data, Digital and Technology (DD&T) organization and the EY team have helped to implement over 30 global initiatives. Bringing strong process experts, digital champions, and external best-practices together in one team, enabled people to work smarter, not harder, and to accelerate Takeda’s financial close process by nine workdays.

Moving faster
9 days
The number of working days shaved off the financial close process

“This was a huge milestone accomplished,” said Sanjay Patel, Head of Takeda Business Solutions (TBS). “This would not be possible without the efforts of all the different groups involved, and really demonstrates the power of the finance operating model and each pillar doing their parts supported by our colleagues in Data, Digital & Technology. An example of one team, one vision, working without boundaries.”

Takeda’s next step is to deliver a continuous improvement framework incorporated within its record-to-disclose global process owner organization. The primary focus will be stabilizing and maximizing the benefits of the project that have been implemented over the last few years to ensure that the company’s finance organization will continue to be best-in-class for the future.

“During the past three years, within the scope of Project Quantum, I have seen an incredible level of engagement and support across Finance and TBS in challenging the status quo, thinking across silos, and reinventing our financial close processes, said Saroukos. “I am confident we can maintain the pace and enthusiasm that has helped us become a more agile finance organization!”

"Over the past three years there has been a tremendous effort by a combined Takeda and EY team, seamlessly working across the globe, in three different regions and time-zones (Japan, Europe and the US),” said Frederik Schmachtenberg, Partner for EY Financial Accounting Advisory Services. “Every team member pulled in the same direction, which made this significant advancement to a best-in-class close process possible".

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