Saint-Gobain chooses the geoficiency solution to strengthen its accounting control system
27/10/2022 Client testimonials

Saint-Gobain chooses the geoficiency solution to strengthen its accounting control system

GEO, BM&A’s digital financial and accounting auditing and control solution, has been deployed worldwide by Saint-Gobain, the world leader in sustainable construction.

Finance, accounting, tax and legal departments are faced with increasingly complex challenges, particularly linked to auditing and control requirements, as well as regulatory changes. With the aim of using a single tool for automating control processes that is simple, quick to deploy and easy to learn, Saint-Gobain has chosen and successfully deployed the geoficiency solution in around 80 subsidiaries.

Strengthening accounting controls

With the diversity of its ERPs, the 75 countries in which Saint-Gobain is present, the organization of the Group into regional accounting shared services centers, and the very large volume of data to be analyzed, Saint-Gobain was looking for a solution that would meet Sapin 2 requirements in terms of accounting controls, the needs of the accounting department to strengthen its internal control, and the expectations and requests of the audit committee and statutory auditors.

Aware of the value of the information contained in its accounting flows, Saint-Gobain has decided to strengthen its means of control and analysis by setting up a global and exhaustive system. Accounting flows are thus observed from several angles (where they come from, when, how, on which accounts, according to which accounting schemes, any atypicalities in relation to work habits, etc.). In this way, while having the means to “X-ray” their accounting production, subsidiaries and SSCs are jointly able to meet the needs identified in the first instance (control of manual entries and implementation of anti-corruption accounting controls). In the future, these users will be able to carry out other existing thematic analysis (payment deadlines, accounting organization, consistency of practices, analysis of FEC content, requests from statutory auditors, internal audits and investigations, etc.). In conclusion, a single solution to cover a maximum number of needs.

Saint Gobain, which had previously tested other potential solutions, learned about geoficiency at an event organized by the APDC in 2020. The group was initially won over by the solution’s ability to manage a volume of nearly one billion movements per financial year, but also by the strong promise of flexibility and support from geoficiency‘s teams.

Supported, customized and co-constructed deployment

An initial test was carried out in 2020 on 2 subsidiaries based in different countries, to validate geoficiency‘s ability to adapt rapidly to a complex and multiform accounting environment. The trial was a success, as geoficiency was perceived as easy to learn and operationally useful by the SSCs, entities and Chief Finance Officers who had already used the tool. The collaboration therefore officially began in mid-2021, and today around 80 entities, covering the most significant subsidiaries for the Group, use geoficiency.

geoficiency was deployed with the support of a multi-disciplinary team from BM&A including business specialists in internal control and anti-corruption measures, and geoficiency technical experts. In July 2021, a first deployment of the solution was carried out on an initial perimeter of 25 major entities. The users concerned received initial training on geo<strong<ficiency’s principles and operation, followed by a second, more practical training session (based on real data) once they were up to speed.

By the end of 2021, just 6 months after the first wave, it was time for the remaining 60 subsidiaries within the initial scope to be covered by geoficiency.

To accompany the roll-out of this new kind of control system, Saint-Gobain has published two practical guides, one on the use of geoficiency’s specific French anti-corruption – Sapin 2 module, the second on the 360° analysis of manual entries made possible by geoficiency. Employees are thus trained and guided, and their ideas and suggestions are also considered to contribute to geoficiency‘s development roadmap.

Pascal Perrier, Director of CSP and Group Finance Digital Transformation at Saint-Gobain: “Responsiveness and efficiency are the watchwords of the geoficiency team. All commitments were met, and sometimes exceeded. Throughout this period of training, testing and data checks, the promise of flexibility and support was more than kept. We are very satisfied with our partnership with geoficiency. Several SSCs and BUs have already asked us to extend the solution to other entities, and to use it more frequently by increasing the frequency of accounting controls. The module for controlling payment deadlines will also be studied for potential deployment. It’s rare and pleasing to get this kind of feedback when a new solution is first deployed.

There were a few of us who were convinced of the need to implement such a feature, and now there are many more of us who are.”

Jean-Marc Allouët, Chief Operating Officer and designer of geoficiency: “We’re obviously delighted with Saint-Gobain’s confidence in us, and even more so with the way our collaboration has gone. This project bears witness to the power of the geoficiency solution and its suitability for the company’s needs, both in terms of its capacity to process large volumes of data, and its immediate response to the needs of the various business lines. Thanks to an excellent understanding with Saint-Gobain’s teams, we were able to adapt to the constraints linked to the extraction of data from the Group’s Data Lake, which geoficiency required. Indeed, Saint-Gobain’s recent implementation of this Data Lake meant that we had to be involved in discussions on source data quality and the best querying and extraction solutions. Since geoficiency</strong< can be fed in a variety of ways, we have always been able to adapt to Saint Gobain’s technical constraints and requirements.

In addition to these technical aspects, the presence of BM&A’s industry experts is more than invaluable – it’s indispensable. Implementing such a solution necessarily involves business and organizational thinking. This type of system is not just technical, and cannot be reduced to Plug&Play, a concept that is often more marketing than realistic. To this end, we always favor an approach we call “Learn&Play”, integrating from the outset of the project an effort to fully understand our customer’s context, enabling us to benefit from the analysis produced by geoficiency by making them more accurate for Saint Gobain.”

About Saint-Gobain

A world leader in sustainable construction, Saint-Gobain designs, produces and distributes materials and services for the housing and industrial markets. Developed through a dynamic process of continuous innovation, its integrated solutions for the renovation of public and private buildings, lightweight construction and the decarbonization of the construction and industrial sectors deliver sustainability and performance. The Group’s commitment is guided by its raison d’être “MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER HOME”. 44.2 billion euros in sales by 2021 166,000 employees, presence in 75 countries Committed to achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 To find out more about Saint-Gobain, visit and follow us on Twitter @saintgobain