4apps group simplifies VAT reporting, unlocks real-time data sourcing with Yellowfin BI




Established in 2001, 4apps group is a tax expert IT services consultancy that helps companies better their processes and meet challenges concerning their indirect tax, which encompasses value-added tax (VAT), standard audit file for tax (SAF-T), e-Invoicing and other VAT reporting.

With extensive experience with Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, including Oracle e-Business Suite, NetSuite ERP and Fusion Cloud Applications, 4apps group creates scalable, easy-to-use, highly flexible solutions for its international clients, helping them ensure indirect tax compliance, while providing continued support as a lifecycle solution partner.

4apps group’s software product is itax4apps, which helps puts Customers in control of their VAT declaration, VAT summary, VAT audit, and VAT integration with tax authorities on an Oracle source database running in the Oracle Cloud infrastructure. It is designed as a plug-and-play solution for all VAT processes within the EU for Oracle e-Business Suite, NetSuite and Oracle Fusion Applications. A previous iteration, Yelloobee, was the foundation for itax4apps, and the start of 4apps groups’ strategic partnership with Yellowfin BI as its analytics solution.

“Cheers to 20 years of groundbreaking analytics and seamless collaboration with Yellowfin—the engine powering our itax4apps software. Together, we redefined how customers can perform their VAT reporting and integration with tax authorities, improving the speed, accuracy and efficiency of this labor-intensive process.”

Frank Laarhoven, Founder, 4apps group


Legacy analytics platform that required modernization

The rise of digitalization has fundamentally reshaped the business environment, and indirect tax compliance is no exception. VAT regulations have become increasingly intricate, demanding more data from businesses electronically. As such, tax authorities and EU governments are placing greater emphasis on timely and accurate VAT return submissions via digital systems.

“What this all means is invoices, transactions and VAT declarations now need to be sent to tax authorities digitally,” explained Frank, co-founder of 4apps group. “It also means real time data is now going directly to tax authorities. For instance, in Italy, you send invoices not to your buyer (as a supplier), but via the tax authority to your buyer. That means the tax authority already knows what kind of transactions are being handled, which means more companies, like our customers, need to adapt to this new way of working. It’s what we wanted to support with our next solution.”

With the pace of business accelerating, 4apps group recognized that its customers need a solution that could integrate seamlessly with their existing Oracle ERP systems, and simplify the multi-regional complexity of VAT reporting.

“Every country has its own speed and processes, and it’s all fragmented,” said Frank. “Big organizations may have a tax department in Belgium, or work with service providers in Italy because regulations there are different from, say, Spain. To make a change in such a dynamic environment is tough, without a local presence to guide you. So we wanted our solution to work as a shared service, bringing all indirect tax reporting together to work through, end-to-end.”

The challenge for 4apps group was to make their indirect tax reporting software more adaptable, user-friendly, and robust to keep pace with regulatory changes across multiple countries, digitalization of systems, and business growth. To do this, 4Apps Group decided to leverage its existing partnership with Yellowfin to enhance their product experience with embedded analytics.

“Back in 2012, we saw interest from our customers to extract their data out of Oracle, which they couldn’t with the standard reports from Oracle. So, 4apps developed an operational intelligence solution within Yellowfin,” said Frank. “Yellowfin was the business intelligence (BI) tool we used to fill everything that came out of Oracle database, and we structured it in a way we could time travel between data, as it was important for accountants and financial controllers to be able to see the dates, which was impossible to do in Oracle alone. We called this solution Yelloobee.”


Updated BI platform with streamlined reporting for all

4apps group white-labeled Yellowfin into its Yelloobee product in 2014, but the continuously rising demand for better tax reporting was something it wanted to address immediately.

“When we implemented Yelloobee, we got all kinds of questions related to tax reporting,” said Frank. “If you compare tax reports with a financial controller’s process, they have a general ledger with sophisticated balancing reports to understand the figures. But tax reports were generally a case of collecting all the data, aggregating it in Excel with a pivot table, and then trying to produce a VAT declaration out of it. That’s another area where we thought we could help our customers.”

Driven by customer demand, 4apps group sought to further refine its VAT software solution to help its customers generate tax reports that allow them to be in better control of their data and know what’s happening, while adapting to the increasingly digital VAT reporting process in the EU. For this, the company turned back to Yellowfin and its white-label, embedded BI capability.

“We want to make VAT reporting simpler, that’s the whole idea behind our solution,” said Frank.






Customized, real-time data for better tax reporting

The implementation involved deeper integration of Yellowfin’s BI tools with 4apps’ Oracle-based ERP solution, creating a powerful combination that leveraged the strengths of both platforms. This integration allowed 4apps group to offer its clients a customized reporting platform that could provide real-time data, actionable insights and indirect tax processing that avoids the inefficiencies of traditional methods.

“Instead of doing a button up approach – dumping all the data in Excel, pivoting and coming towards a declaration – we took a top down approach by first getting all their data out and showing it in a dashboard where it appears to be a summary declaration, and then going from there to the core details in order to see whether the numbers presented are correct,” explained Frank. “We essentially get our customers’ data out on a near real-time basis from Oracle, and present it in our solution. Once done, we send it via our tax hub towards international tax authorities.”

According to Frank, this process was carefully tailored around the various stages of digitalization that each EU government and tax authority was undergoing. “If it was real time reporting, we send in transactions, or we just present an audit filing with all kinds of financial information to go along with it, or if for e-reporting, we send in all AP and AR transactions. This new approach, combined with Yellowfin’s dashboard and reporting suite, helped us enormously in speed, and in understanding our customers’ reporting process, and that was the foundation of itax4apps.”


Modernized embedded analytics for more efficient tax reporting

Yellowfin’s integration was transformative for 4apps group and its clients, which include large companies operating in multiple regions.

  • Flexible BI reporting suite that simplifies presentation of complex tax data in dashboards
  • Modern, up-to-date embedded analytics and AI features that evolve with customer needs
  • White-labeled BI that looks and feels like 4apps group’s existing platform and brand


For Frank, the development of itax4apps in partnership with Yellowfin has placed 4apps in a good position to not only better serve its customer-base, but also enhance its unique place in the market as a plug-and-play solution for all things in-direct tax reporting.

“We are in a business critical path now with our customers, because if our solution is not running, they won’t send out invoices. Once they have logged in, they can send tax data via our solution to the tax authority. We don’t need to be in a specific country and have a tax registration there to support our customers, either. That’s a huge difference compared to other service providers.”

“But for us as a company, a fancy new solution was not the main driver to have a fancy, but more how it works, and what it can do,” Frank continued. “Our customers are happy with how Yellowfin works and how we set it up for them because with a couple of clicks they’re at the lowest level of their data, and that’s what they want. For us the integration is something that’s very flexible, and the security support for single sign-on (SSO) is very awesome.”

The new VAT reporting solution, enhanced with Yellowfin’s embedded dashboards and reporting capability, is not only more efficient but also more adaptable to the evolving needs of the clients. “We like the fact that the new versions of Yellowfin are more modern and up to date, as it helps us evolve our product to keep up with the pace of Yellowfin.”









During the development of itax4apps, one other key consideration emerged that drove 4apps group to choose Yellowfin – future-proofing.

“A lot of disruptive things are happening to VAT in the digital age, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and e-invoicing,” said Frank. “Yellowfin has AI tools, and we have a database with tax data from customers we want to use AI on to show them they can ask a question, such as, ‘Am I compliant in this region?’ and let AI answer that question on their data. We believe governments will use AI to check large volumes of tax data. So why not offer  the same thing before the tax government does, so companies can do it with our solution?”

Overall, 4apps group’s story demonstrates a successful approach to leveraging strategic partnerships and advanced technology to address specific business challenges, showing how they continue to lead and innovate in their industry.

The most important ongoing mission for Frank comes back to the customers and preparing them for the digitalization of the tax reporting process. “I try to explain to a lot of customers, ‘look what’s ahead of you, what’s coming, and where you need to be prepared for.’ We have that great tax software solution for them now, but it’s still tough to explain what it can do to help them long-term. So that’s my mission, and continuing goal – to close that gap.”

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