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The French Football Federation (FFF) is a non-profit body responsible for the organisation, supervision and development of football in France. The main challenge in financial management is maintaining and sustaining the financial stability of the FFF by optimising and securing the use of federal resources in support of the objectives set by the Executive Committee.
The project to modernise the financial and committed spend management arose in this context and under the ‘optimise the organisation of football bodies’ part of the FFF’s Horizon Bleu 2016 project. The uniqueness of this project lies in the decompartmentalisation of financial information between and within departments and the empowerment of employees.
This project reflects the FFF’s determination to optimise all of its processes.
We focused our project on users and digital solution to improve autonomy and responsiveness.
By broadening access to financial data with full transparency through digital solution, we have removed the barriers to intra- and inter-departmental communication. This project has helped to improve internal communication and understanding of how the FFF works, but also communication with suppliers. »
The FFF has commercial funding (partnerships, TV rights, ticketing, etc.) and funding related to its statutory activities (licences, club subscriptions, grants, etc.). Spend is split between running costs, “levies” (taxes and duties, amortisation, etc.), football aid, investment and operational expenditure related to an event (French team matches, etc.). Each expense is allocated to a “cost centre” (or responsibility centre) with a budget.
« As an organisation with a public service contract, we are subject to a number of audits and we are accountable to the Executive Committee, the Treasurer and General Management. This way of working necessitates modern, structured and reactive monitoring of expenditure liabilities », explains Christophe Moreaux, head of management control and project manager for the overhaul of the financial chain.
« We knew that improving the committed spend process would have a direct effect on improving purchase control and securing our commitments with our suppliers. All employees contribute to the financial life of the organisation. From the beginning of the project, it was clear that financial information should be easily available to everyone. We had to change our processes to decentralise management and budget entry to departments to empower them, while staying in control and being responsive! »
A challenge that would be impossible to achieve without an overhaul of the spend management and a thorough review of software tools. Based on Cegid accounting software, an ageing procurement solution, a budget management tool and complex spreadsheets, the existing process required many re-entries and did not provide a real-time global view of committed spend.
« Our tools were very demanding in production time, to the detriment of analysis », remembers Christophe Moreaux « There was a monthly budget review and distribution of budget spending. We had to manually consolidate committed spend from the procurement tool and reported spending to get a global view by cost centre. » Furthermore, frequent travel by employees to sites where French team matches are held had an effect on the approval time for committed spending. In view of these considerations, investing in a solution providing visibility, mobility and responsiveness became a real necessity.
« One of the aims was to decentralise committed spend management to departments to allow them to take control of their budget »
The OLGA project (Online Management and Procurement Tool), with the full support of the Managing Director and Financial Director, has been successfully completed in line with the specifications, thanks to three key factors, as Christophe Moreaux explains : « the active and joint participation of finance (management control, accounting, procurement and treasury) and business departments, sound information systems management, and the business expertise of partners such as Oxalys and 2B consulting, have led to the successful completion of this project. We chose the IBM Cognos TM1 business intelligence tool to manage budget entry, consolidation and monitoring. The Oxalys solution was selected for committed spend management, from requisitions to payment approvals ».
One of the advantages of the solution is its ability to adapt both to the specific needs of the FFF (including event budgets and amateur football aid) and to the regular changes to which the federal organisation is subject. The Oxalys solution interfaces with IBM Cognos TM1 to collect revised budgets twice a day and re-enter committed spend in budget monitoring.
The Oxalys solution also communicates with the Cegid accounting software to recover all invoiced data and enter purchasing data (suppliers, accounting records, payment approvals, etc.) in the accounts. This integrated approach provides users with real-time visibility of the available balance of their budget and all spending allocated to their cost centres.
« With digital invoices available in the solution and access to approval workflows via smartphones, we have significantly simplified, secured and shortened approval processes »
Budgets and revisions are entered by managers and approved by management controllers in IBM Cognos TM1. Purchase requests are then created by employees in the Oxalys solution, which allows work on several financial years at the same time. The solution controls budget availability and, depending on the amount and the spend category , the expenditure may or may not be automatically delegated to requisitioners by the procurement department. Depending on the purchasing process, the digital order is sent by either the procurement department or the requisitioner . When the invoice arrives, it is digitised by the accounting department and made available in the Oxalys solution to the requisitioner and/or manager. The manager can easily approve it. ADR (Automatic Document Recognition) allows recognition of the SIRET [company registration number] of suppliers, costs including and excluding tax, and matching with purchase orders. Some expenses are routinely subjected to a posteriori approval, on production of invoices, by the manager (travel costs, fees, etc.).
The solution was quickly adopted by 160 users and has allowed us to achieve the objectives set: automation and modernisation of the budget preparation and monitoring processes, empowerment and autonomy of users, real-time visibility of committed spend, and simplification of approval processes while complying with internal control rules.
« Now, the procurement department manages only issues on which it provides expertise and management controllers can focus on monitoring and analysis rather than production. When our users improve their understanding of the process, they also improve the quality of the data collected and ask for higher added value tasks. Time-consuming searches are a thing of the past now that information is available to everyone ».