1.3 Control systems
The internal control systems help management steer and monitor the Group and its segments. The systems consist of planning, actual situation, and forecast calculations based on the Group’s annually revised strategic planning. Particular attention is paid to market developments, technological developments, and trends, as well as their impact on the Group’s own products and services, and the Group’s financial possibilities. The corporate control system’s aim is the continuous and sustainable development of United Internet and its subsidiaries.
The Group’s reporting system comprises the monthly profit calculations and quarterly IFRS-compliant reports for all consolidated subsidiaries. It presents the financial position and performance of the Group and all divisions. Financial reporting also includes other detailed information which is required for the assessment and control of the operating business.
Quarterly reports on significant risks for the Company represent a further component of the control systems.
The above mentioned reports are discussed at meetings of the Management Board and Supervisory Board and provide the fundamental basis for assessments and decisions.
In order to steer the Group’s performance, United Internet AG uses in particular the key figures of the income statement (sales, EBITDA, EBIT, EPS), of the statement of cash flows (free cash flow), and of the statement of financial position (asset items, financial liabilities). Information on the use and definition of the relevant key financial figures is presented in chapter 2.2 “Business development”.
The Management Board of United Internet AG steers the segments mainly on the basis of key performance figures. It measures the success of each segment primarily according to sales, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
The main non-financial key figures used are the number and growth of fee-based customer contracts, as well as ad-financed free accounts.
The performance indicators of the United Internet Group for top management are also presented in “Segment reporting” under note 5 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The key performance indicators (KPIs) used by top management at Group level are sales and EBITDA. These figures are also used in forecast reporting.
As the holding company, United Internet AG (parent company) focuses on the key operating figures of the Group.
The number of customer contracts, the gross and net sales figures, and the related customer acquisition costs in particular – compared to the Company’s plans and forecast calculations – serve as an early warning system.
The key performance indicators used in the fiscal year 2020 were unchanged from the previous year.
A comparison of the KPIs stated in the forecast and the actual figures is provided in this Management Report in chapter 2.2 “Business Development” in the section “Actual and Forecast Development” as well as in chapter 2.3 “Position of the Group”.