Group Name: BIC
Solutions: Concur Expense, Concur Mobile, ExpenseIt, Intelligence
Sales: €1.627 billion (2020)
Number of employees: Over 11,000 employees
Location: Sales presence in 160 countries
Why SAP Concur?
- The transversality of the solution worldwide
- Homogenisation of the IS ecosystem
- The digitalisation of expense management
- Simplification through digitisation with probative value
- The ability to connect SAP Concur to other platforms (ERP, IS and HR)
- The ability to work in the Cloud
- Better visibility and control of expenses through reporting
- The opportunity to restructure accounting processes and activities
- System security and auditability
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of stationery products, lighters and shavers, BIC delights and simplifies consumers’ everyday lives. For more than 75 years, the company has been making essential, high-quality products accessible to everyone, everywhere in the world. This vocation has enabled the Group to create one of the most recognised brands. Today, BIC sells products in more than 160 countries, and the Group also owns iconic brands such as BIC® Kids, BIC FlexTM, BodyMark by BIC TM, Cello®, Djeep, Lucky Stationery, Rocketbook, Soleil®, Tipp-Ex®, Us.TM and Wite-Out®. In 2020, BIC achieved sales of 1,627.9 million euros. Listed on Euronext Paris, BIC is included in the SBF120 and CAC MID 60 stock market indices. In addition, the Group has received an ‘A-‘ rating in the CDP ranking.
Careful pre-project phase for successful deployment
The BIC Group launched the global deployment of the SAP Concur solution in 2019 to homogenise expense report management. Accompanied by ARAGO Consulting, the international IT department, based in France, took care of the project’s foundations by taking the necessary time to set up governance and a core model that could be deployed throughout the world. “We did a lot of work on the pre-project to define the financial and accounting core model and to review the spending policy,” explains Thomas Rivière, SAP Concur Programme Manager, Senior Business Analyst, IT Group Functions, at BIC. “We also took the time to discuss the project with the various parties involved to structure it properly. This first phase proved to be crucial.”
This homogenisation project, which concerns 29 countries and will be rolled out to the other countries in the Group, requires an accurate methodology. “The success of our work with ARAGO Consulting is based on the collective effort made to define a core model that can be adapted to each country, with a strong focus on the financial part (tax rules, group policy and charts of accounts) for international deployment.” Thomas Rivière explains. “By working with the same team for two years, we have benefited from a trusted partner who knows our environment and the specificities of our organisation. The ARAGO Consulting team has shown great adaptability in overcoming specificities and potential fears in certain countries and ensuring that the model and platform are well received and adapted in each entity of the Group.”
A new global accounting core model
In this first phase of the project, it was also necessary to consider the local and regulatory specificities imposed by certain countries. ARAGO Consulting also provided local expertise and advice on this subject.
The adoption of SAP Concur at the BIC Group level was also an opportunity to rethink the accounting organisation at five levels (geographical area, country, entity, department, cost centre, etc.). “This new structure and a new harmonised chart of accounts improved how accounting teams process expense reports. In addition, the automation of the integration and the harmonisation have resulted in a smoother process for the finance teams. We will replicate this new structure in our other tools,” says Thomas Rivière.
Many criteria to choose from
The choice to deploy a platform such as SAP Concur Expense was evident for the BIC Group. The solution allows the Group to address all of its countries, to connect to other systems (ERP, IS and HR), to evolve in the Cloud – the Group’s desire to deploy global tools in the Cloud – but also to optimise expense control through reporting, a vital requirement from purchasing. “I was aware of Concur’s strength; it is one of the best solutions on the market. It is one of the best solutions on the market,” says Thomas Rivière. “In addition, we benefited from a great knowledge of the tool and local rules through the support of ARAGO Consulting and from very positive feedback in the countries where we deployed the solution in the first phases of the programme”.
Rapid adoption and high user satisfaction
BIC also chose to adopt SAP Concur Mobile, a real plus for users. Today, the feedback is very positive. “We are also waiting to implement the probative value – currently available in three countries – in all our entities to certify receipts,“ he adds. Eventually, the vast majority of BIC Group entities will run SAP Concur Expense. In the countries already deployed, users are delighted with this new tool.
The Finance departments see a real change compared to the tools previously used: simplification, time savings, better compliance, in particular. “SAP Concur has also given us much more structure in our processes and activities. The direct integration into the ERP is also an asset for accounting, as is the automatic integration of employees from our internal tools (HR, IT) into SAP Concur”, says Thomas Rivière, before concluding: “This project has helped us with the deployment of other tools. We were able to prove that it was feasible to implement and design global solutions within the Group, despite fragmented local processes.”