Within Ahold Delhaize’s accounting department, a large number of manual excel spreadsheets were used to reconcile approximately 331 general ledger accounts each month, all of which were maintained independently.
About Ahold Delhaize
Ahold Delhaize is one of the world’s largest food retail groups, a leader in supermarkets and e-commerce, and a company at the forefront of sustainable retailing. Its family of 21 local brands serves more than 50 million shoppers each week in 11 countries Ahold Delhaize employs more than 375,000 associates in 6,500 local groceries, small format and specialty stores. The preparation and review of the monthly reconciliations was a daunting and time-consuming task with no visibility into whether the reconciliation and closing tasks had been completed on time, if supporting documentation was attached, or more importantly, if there were any issues that needed to be resolved.
Business Drivers to Automate
A reorganization of Ahold Delhaize’s accounting department occurred with a goal to enhance control on two levels. Firstly, by business process or cycle through a horizontal approach across all companies in scope, which was the responsibility of the transactional accounting department. And secondly, by company, a vertical approach through all accounts of a specific company, which was the responsibility of financial accounting & control department. The overall goal was to enable the company to achieve greater control through system-driven standardization and automation.
For the initial project, Ahold Delhaize identified seven operational accounting processes spanning seven of its divisions that it wanted to automate and make more efficient. The primary objectives for the project included developing and maintaining key control on company accounts (P&L, Balance Sheet and CFS) along with a better understanding and explanation of the content of each account of the financial statements in both local GAAP and IFRS. There was also a requirement to be able to follow-up the closing tasks on a daily basis and reduce the manual effort on creation and review of individual spreadsheets.
Solution in Action
Finally, Ahold Delhaize wanted to grant a global overview of all performed controls and tasks and increase ownership by allocating each account to a determined reconciler and reviewer to reduce exposure to errors and to mitigate risk.
The implementation of Trintech’s Certification has allowed Ahold Delhaize to benefit by identifying all tasks for the whole accounting department including the set-up workflow, i.e. reminders by email for late tasks. The solution also offers complete visibility for the accounting manager into the status of the closing activities by removing the use of spreadsheets and centralizing its monthly reconciliation exercise into a single tool.
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