Home How RPA Facilitates Finance Transformation of Veolia Australia/New Zealand

How RPA Facilitates Finance Transformation of Veolia Australia/New Zealand

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Veolia Environnement S.A., branded as Veolia, is a French transnational company with activities in three main service and utility areas traditionally managed by public authorities – water management, waste management, and energy services. Veolia Water division is the largest private operator of water services in the world. In 2012, Veolia employed 318,376 employees in 48 countries, including Australia and New Zealand whose division is preparing to deploy a pipeline of process automation within its finance function after laying the groundwork over the past three years. Let’s learn how it’s running.

The local efforts of process automation deployment fit within a broader global finance transformation program across Veolia headquartered in France. The transformation involved the adoption of UiPath RPA. Cher Mitchell-Viale, Deputy CFO at Veolia A/NZ told UiPath’s automation breakthroughs conference that the worldwide operations – including Australia – first had to de-duplicate and optimize processes before they could be considered candidates for automation.

“Part of that [transformation] is looking at harmonization of processes and mutualization of functions, and incorporated in that is looking at taking out the routine work and trying to open up opportunities for people to be more value-added in their roles. What that did when we started our journey was it really highlighted that we had a lot of different processes for the same process flows – across Australia mostly – and so the focus has been to harmonize those processes and get them streamlined before we started the automation journey, to not start that automation focus with a very scattered process landscape. So that’s where we are now. We’ve actually really positioned ourselves to start and really roll out that pipeline [of automations].”

Mitchell-Viale, Deputy CFO at Veolia A/NZ

Like other organizations, Covid was a temporary hindrance to progressing the transformation, though Mitchell-Viale indicated the project had regained momentum.

“If I look more locally, when I started [three years ago], we were all very excited. We had a list of projects that we wanted to look at, and then Covid hit. With the limited capacity, we had last year, that sort of slowed us down. I think that is now really coming back again. There are multiple levels of automation happening at the moment [and we’re] looking at really increasing our usage of what we’ve got.”

Mitchell-Viale, Deputy CFO at Veolia A/NZ

Mitchell-Viale said that the A/NZ transformation team was able to tap into work performed in other locations via a central ‘RPA dashboard’:

We have an RPA dashboard where all countries that are part of the Veolia Finance Transformation Program upload their RPA projects in detail, which process it entails, and provide opportunities for copying and adaptation. We also have an annual program where teams can submit their projects for an award and that’s where you really see if you take it more global than just Veolia A/NZ.”

Mitchell-Viale added that another sign that the A/NZ finance transformation is regaining momentum is approval to hire specific resources to tackle the work.

“For a long time, we have tried to do it next to BAU [business-as-usual], so part of my daily job and part of some of the accounting teams’ daily jobs was to look for those opportunities and try and work out a project plan. Early in 2021, I was able to really get that focused FTE [full-time equivalent staff] that would really be driving our projects in the rollout of that [automation] pipeline and working with different teams around Veolia, and that really has made a big difference.”



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