Client Case

Sodineuf Habitat Normand :

Dematerialise accounting management and improve supplier relations

Sodineuf Habitat Normand (a real estate subsidiary of the Action Logement Group, which includes some 72 Entreprises Sociales pour l'Habitat and nearly one million rental units in France).

Developer, builder and manager of social rental housing, Sodineuf is established on the Normandy coast in more than 90 municipalities. It offers nearly 9,000 housing units and accommodates nearly 18,000 tenants.

By building some 120 new homes each year, Sodineuf has become a major player in the Normandy region, providing all the building trades with an activity that creates jobs and development.

Sodineuf, whose majority shareholder is currently 3F, is in the process of merging with Immobilière Basse Seine du Havre. The new company will have nearly 24,000 housing units and 330 employees and will officially come into being next October. This new company aims to become a key player on a regional scale.

As part of this development, Sodineuf has chosen to turn to the dematerialisation of its supplier accounting to improve the processing and management of its invoices as well as relations with its suppliers.

Interview with Isabelle Devaux, Accounting Manager at Sodineuf Habitat Normand.

 

The Context

 

Why did you set up this project?

The project to dematerialise our supplier invoices was implemented during the first containment period in March 2020. Prior to this period, all of our paper invoices were processed by video coding which was a very time consuming and manual process.

In addition, we planned to reorganise our way of working with three main objectives in mind:

  • Reduce manual steps to save time and to process invoices remotely.
  • Improve data quality.
  • Limiting demands and improving relations with our suppliers.

 

What drove you to take the step?

For 3 years we have been using an ADL system. This system consists of scanning documents, checking the results of the video coding and then transferring this data to our ERP. This organisation required the equivalent of two full-time staff. 

At the time of the lockdown, we were all teleworking except for one employee who came into the office one morning a day. Going from 2 to ½ FTE complicated the management of our accounts payable. We therefore had to review our organisation in order to be operational even from a distance. This is why we called on Neovacom to deploy the Freedz solution.

 

The Project

 

How was the project set up?

The implementation of the project went well. The project to dematerialise supplier invoices was presented to us when we returned from containment. Subsequently, we set up a communication campaign with Freedz to inform and support our suppliers in this change.

We started using Freedz at the end of November 2020 and we immediately saw the power of the tool and how quickly our suppliers got to grips with it. Between November 2020 and January 2021, the number of invoices submitted by our suppliers on the platform increased fourfold.

 

Profits received

 

What benefits do you see from using Freedz?

The first benefit that has been perceived is the saving of time. With Freedz we have significantly reduced the time spent on entering and filing invoices. The processing of invoices has also been improved thanks to the performance of the tool. In our previous experience with ADR software, the invoice was not always legible and we had to check and re-read the document. This is no longer the case with Freedz.

In addition to the improvement in processing time, the implementation of the tool has also allowed us to increase efficiency. The elimination of manual data entry, the monitoring of invoice processing and the accessibility of data by the supplier have all helped us to gain in productivity. With the invoice processing status, we have not only improved the payment time of our supplier invoices, but we have also improved our relationship with our suppliers because they can follow the status of their invoice in real time. We have significantly reduced the need to call or email to find out if their invoice has been processed or not.

Freedz is also used for our fluid invoices with Engie (energy invoices) and the EDI filing improves our efficiency. We receive all of these invoices in digital format and thus avoid the loss of documents that can occur when processing paper invoices.

 

How did your suppliers adapt?

Our suppliers have adapted well to this change and we have accompanied them so that the transition goes smoothly. We explained to them the stakes of the finance law which will oblige companies to use dematerialisation from 2024 onwards, but also presented the advantages for them (monitoring of invoices, reduction of payment times, etc.).

The support of our Customer Success Management played an important role in achieving this objective. It is very responsive and listens to our questions. In addition, the communication tools put in place as well as the support provided to our suppliers is one of the keys to the success of this project.

Subsequently, we have had very positive feedback from our suppliers who have immediately felt the benefits of the platform. They also gain in efficiency because they eliminate the need to print and send postal mail, they follow the status of invoices in real time and they no longer have to worry about archiving paper invoices.

 

What was your goal for the year 2021? What are your objectives for the current year?

We process around 20,000 invoices per year and we had set ourselves the target of dematerialising 80% of these invoices by 2021 (i.e. 16,000 invoices). The objective has been reached because by 31 December 2021 we had processed 15,800 electronic invoices.

For the current year, we want to continue this momentum and increase our dematerialisation rate. This will be done by integrating Veolia into the Freedz portfolio to be able to receive invoices by EDI as we already do with Engie.

Finally, we have a project to merge with Immobilière Basse Seine du Havre. This new company aims to become a key player on a regional scale. This project will therefore increase our supplier base as well as the number of supplier invoices, and we will continue with this desire to dematerialise supplier accounting management.

Halpades

Isabelle Devaux

Accounting Manager, Sodineuf Habitat Normand

Sodineuf in brief :

i

20,000 invoices/year

400 suppliers

A major player in social housing since 1900

16,500 people housed

9200 housing units managed in 90 municipalities, 1 region, 2 departments

135 employees

Euro

49.7 M€ of turnover in 2021