Allied Domecq to shed 700

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The Independent Online
Allied Domecq has launched a radical streamlining of its worldwide accounting and finance operations, which is expected to lose up to 700 jobs and save around pounds 15m a year.

The Financial Process Redesign Project is being orchestrated by Peter Lyster, Allied's director of taxation. It is intended to shorten communication lines and improve the quality of information available to management.

During the three-year project, the accounting function will be centralised to leave just one finance department responsible for each continent.

New locations for the accounting centres have already been identified, but the company will not identify them until staff have been properly briefed on the impending changes.

An investigation by Mr Lyster and his team has concluded that the current system is too unwieldy.

It has developed largely as a function of the group's acquisition programme, which has left it with an accounts department in every country in Europe and three in the US.

The decision to overhaul the accounting process follows the company's move 18 months ago to segregate the marketing and sales operation from the production process.

Allied Domecq has benchmarked its operations against peer companies and intends to devise a process that will be a world leader.

The aim of these changes is to put the businesses in much closer touch with customers and allow the group to operate from the market up rather than from production and accounting down.

Mr Lyster believes that implementing a common account-ing system and a centralised approach will provide the organisation with information that will allow it to respond more effectively to market needs.