Paperless invoicing for the Groupe Rocher in Europe: successful roll-out in 5 countries!

After setting up an electronic invoicing project in 2012-2013 in France, the Groupe Rocher continued the experiment in 2014-2015 by entrusting its partner ACCELYA, a specialist in paperless flows and electronic invoicing, with extending this project for the retail channel in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland.

A succesful gamble

It was a successful gamble as the project was set up in nine months to process 130,000 electronic invoices annually, an objective reached during 2015!  From Germany to Spain, five leading retail countries included in this European project

After the success of an electronic invoicing project started in France in 2012, which led to 140,000 tax-compliant paperless invoices and 60,000 payment advice notes being sent per year to more than 650 stores, the Groupe Rocher and Accelya continued to roll out this project in 2014-2015, following the example and good practices put in place in the French retail market.

Now Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain have joined this electronic invoicing project for the Yves Rocher brand and each Groupe Rocher subsidiary-entity sends its invoice data electronically to its store partners as well as to its accountants, with the aim of 100% of invoices being paperless within a few months.

Good practices

To begin with, a single information system was used for both projects, for France and Europe, to work on the same files and the same access portal structure, offering a core model approach for the Groupe Rocher.

The European roll-out of the project required processes to be audited and flattened. The Groupe Rocher’s Finance Department again led this project, dedicating time and resources to set up the project teams and draw them together through communication and support on change management.

Alain Lefeuvre, Head of Digitalisation of Financial Flows, Group Finance Department:
“One thing is certain, even if electronic invoicing is not introduced today, it will be necessary tomorrow so we need to deal with it. We cannot go paperless overnight; there are always changes to make and new elements to introduce without calling into question the conceptual building blocks. It is useful to put in place key indicators, from the start of the project to its implementation, to start with an overview before breaking it down into segments. The idea was to start with the French project, an area where a lot of thinking had already taken place, and then expand it to other European countries, managing it overall and then in lots”

The results

With five European countries with different languages and cultures, the implementation and conditions for achieving results varied according to the country: “There is a place for change management with a group perspective when facing varied country structures, cultures and local regulations. We were faced with a very distinctive tax system in Spain through its fiscal territories (Iberian peninsula, Canaries, etc.), the very strong paper culture of our store partners in Belgium, simpler agreements in Germany, Switzerland and Austria with constraints related to the organisation and availability of the Finance and Commerce teams”, added Alain Lefeuvre.

To date, most of the 250 stores targeted in these five countries view their invoices electronically, with nearly 100% having moved to paperless. The store partners save valuable time managing their invoices and the accountancy firms also benefit in terms of data quality and processing time. “As with the French retail project, the major value is again being ‘paperless’, viewing the store partner’s invoices on any device, mobile or not, and the mirror portal for the accountancy firms, which are provided each month with an accounts file to automate recording”, said Alain Lefeuvre.

What next?

The Groupe Rocher is now thinking about moving to the next stage and continuing its aim of digitalising all its internal invoicing and making it paperless. In 2016, the company is embarking on a new aspect of going paperless through making the whole process of subsidiaries sending invoices to each other paperless. “An illustration using the ‘6-sided die’ of omnichannel invoicing (FR, Europe and non-Europe)”, said Alain Lefeuvre.

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