CASE STUDY – INK GLOBAL

Introducing Ink Global
If you’ve travelled by train or plane, you’re very likely to have laid eyes on many of the things that Ink Global makes: it’s an international travel publisher and advertiser with over 40 magazines in 17 different languages.
In addition, the company provides digital, offline and mobile advertising to travellers. This is backed up with market research and data science teams that work to understand the audiences Ink Global serves; the Global Passenger Survey polls respondents across 40 airlines and 370 million passengers.
In 21 years of operations, Ink Global has grown from a single London office to a staff of more than 400 people across site in London, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Melbourne, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore.

James Malone
James Malone

The challenge – cope with
As Ink Global grew, it acquired both bespoke and off-the-shelf accounting software to handle transactions across several locations, currencies and nations. By last year, James Malone, Ink Global’s Group Credit Director, found he was running between six or eight platforms open on his computer at any one time as he co-ordinated the efforts of eight credit controllers across the UK, US and Singapore.
Faced with sensory overload, he decided that a single system that could be used in all of the locations, and across all of the currencies and jurisdictions Ink Global operated in was the way forward.
Under pressure to keep costs manageable, Malone was faced with the possibility of having to let a member of staff go, just as activity ramped up. The need to work smarter, if not already important, had become imperative.

The solution – work simpler, work smarter
“While we weren’t adding more currencies to the mix, we were handling a greater volume. Adding more people to the team to address this problem doesn’t necessarily solve it – to a certain extent, it can create more problems,” says Malone. “People go on holidays, or move on to new jobs. Using older, more complex systems and practices can mean that handovers are complicated, and there’s a raised possibility of human error.”
Under pressure to keep costs manageable, Malone was faced with the possibility of having to let a member of staff go, just as the pace of activity increased. The need to work smarter, if not already important, had become imperative.
After evaluating a number of options, Malone settled on Sidetrade for his team.
“Sidetrade is multicurrency for base accounting and reporting, and were willing to take on the task, and that was exactly what we were looking for.” says Malone. “For us, multicurrency is a huge thing, because you don’t need to deal with FX – and there’s no need to go through three calculations to deal with an invoice. In fact, with Sidetrade, we find we simply don’t fear FX anymore.”
Sidetrade is now used by all team members – eight people across three countries, and has driven down Day Sales Outstanding significantly for the business. Staff absences or changes don’t affect workflow – it’s simply handed over to another staff member, removing the possibility of lost paperwork or human error.

Unexpected benefits
There’s been another benefit, too – the team’s personal development. Malone can pull reports that analyse the efficiency of controllers, showing areas where they are performing strongly, and others that need improvement, allowing Malone to coach, train or support as needed. As a result, efficiency, individual time management and personal development have improved markedly.
As for other benefits, the standout for Malone is workflow. “Sidetrade has simply transformed workflow for us,” he says. “For that alone, it’s worth its weight in gold. A couple of team members moved on recently, and we were able to absorb the extra workflow without skipping a beat while their replacements were hired. In the past, that might have meant a few sleepless nights, plenty of handover activity and possibly international travel. Sidetrade has made that process, like so many others, a lot more bearable.”

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