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RCI Financial Services Limited Case Study

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Mind Map bullets

Problems

  • Complexity of calculations
  • Manual data aggregation for reporting and analysis
  • Reliance on Excel
  • Difficulties in sharing information for making pricing decisions

Requirements

  • Fast, automated data flows
  • Greater visibility to potential risk
  • Spend less time calculating and more time analysing
  • Singlesource for all processes: Actual, Reforecast&Pricing

Solution

  • SAP BPC
  • Project delivering value across phases
  • Transformed reporting and forecasting speed and capability

Benefits

  • Halved calculation times for some key processes
  • More informed pricing decisions
  • Improved confidence in forecasts
  • Reduced time and resources required
  • Clear audit trails

The Background
The UK finance partner for Renault, Nissan, Infiniti and Dacia, RCI Financial Services Ltd (RCIFS),offers financing services to its retail and corporate customers managing over 120,000 vehicle contracts per year. RCIFSprovidesa large range of products such as Hire Purchase, Personal Contract Purchase, Lease Purchase, Lease Hire and Contract Hire for cars. It also proposes wholesale funding facilities to the Nissan, Renault & Infiniti dealer networks for both new & used vehicles & parts.The RCIFS team comprises of more than 200 employees, all focused on delivering high levels of customer satisfaction.

The Requirement

Early in 2014 RCIFS’s UK Finance Director, Alice Altemaire, initiated a project to transform the reporting, forecasting and pricing processes within the finance function of the business. The calculation and analysis of all these processes was based on an arduous manual process, reliant on a series of unwieldy Excel files.

The goal was to make a consistent, fast, automated set of analytics that would enhance local business decision-making and consequently feed into the group reporting system.

“We had two primary objectives for this project. The first was to automate all of our reporting processes and thus, increase efficiency and improve the granularity of analysis of both actual and planned performance.  The second objective was to ensure all of our pricing conversations and decisions were based on consistent information,“ said Alice.

The overall goal was to enhance the comparative analysis capability across variables such as product, geography and account manager.Furthermore, the ability to have informed conversations with other departments such as marketing about the impact of pricing and promotional decisions was also required.  Ultimately, having the ability to react faster with better access to actual and variance data would support these fundamental requirements.

When Rinedata first met with RCIFS, they were using Excel to consolidate and analyse data held in different systems.This was hampering both financial reporting and forecasting.  At this stage, RCIFS had already undertaken an in-depth review of its processes and had established a clear view of what they wanted to achieve.

“We wanted to create a single database to hold all of our analysis data rather than use multiple spreadsheets. The first step of this transformation was to work with Rinedatato review these requirements and consequently define the structure, members and dimensions that would support fast, accurate planning, analysis and reporting,” said Alice.

“Every organization has areas of complexity, but the vast number of variables within each product RCIFS sells in terms of size, repayment terms, and interest coupled with the need to report and forecast on specific performance indicators such as Net Acquired Margin (MAC) and Net Instant Margin (MIC) made this project particularly challenging,” explains MihirPatel, Director at Rinedata. He continues, “We spent time to assimilate the requirements and worked collaboratively with RCIFS to and break down the data and formulae that underpinned the key metrics.  This was paramount, ahead of confirming whether SAP BPC was the right technology platform to satisfy the overall requirements.”

The Solution

In May 2014, the decision was made to adopt SAP BPC. “The investment we had made in reviewing and refining our processes ensured that our deployment of SAP BPC was fast and efficient. Within seven months of starting the project, almost all of the phases are now complete and delivering value to the business, “explained Alice.

The table below summarises some of the key areas of development:

Area of development General Requirement Business Value
Calculation of Commercial Margin, Net Acquired Margin (MAC) and Net Instant Margin (MIC) by contract. Replace Excel for these critical complex calculations and reporting metrics For development and maintenance to be controlled by Finance and not IT.

 

Toestablish intuitive access to theexternal data warehouse containing detailed contract information underpinned with athorough audit trail.

 

To provide the flexibility towork around missing information inthe data warehouse.

 

To create a flexible business model that would adapt to meet future business requirements.

 

The new process has not only reduced potential errors but has considerablyreduced calculation times.Automated load of contract level data for 10,000+ contracts a month.

 

The team now has the ability to conduct quicker analysis of commercial margins using specially designed formulae to calculate variables such as gross customer rate (margin plus cost of refinancing plus other factors) financing products, dealers, car makes and models.

 

The finance team now has improved audit trails and process controls within its group reporting processes, helping drive overall efficiency.

 

Commercial Forecast Actual data together with pricing data to calculate margin for future periods To remove the data integration constraints in comparing actual and planned pricingthat prevented clear visibility offuture volumes, by product and model for predictingmargin values.

 

Now have the ability to define the assumptions and data feeds required to improveaccuracy of forecast and provide new ways to interrogate the information, together with the ability to flex the data to perform multiple iterations and “what if” analysis.

 

Financial Accounts

 

WIP –  Scheduled for go live summer 2015

Automate the financial statements from SAP.

 

 

To directlymap and load trial balance from SAP to Magnitude (group consolidation system).

Ability to make specific data transformations.

Facility to make manual adjustments and analyse the balance sheet movements.

Export information to group system.

 

Improvedaudit trail.

Simpler process.

Data used as the basis for the finance forecast.

Improved validations and control.

 

Financial Forecast Prepare the financial forecasts using the actuals and commercial margin. Generate calculations on outstanding balance withinthe existing portfolio and for new business.

Analysis model for operational expenses by department

Ability to simulate multiple forecasts scenarios

 

Improved audit trail.

Simpler process.

Faster and more and more accurate process.

Improved validations and control.

The Benefits

We have transformed the efficiency of our financial processes and have new insights across a range of key performance indicators that we did not have before.  This is of immense value to our business and as a result, this is now being looked at more widely within the group,“said Alice.

Members of the RCIFS team have been freed from many of the manual reporting tasks. Many of the reports are now being produced in minutes rather than hours.There is a general feeling that far more time can now be spent on value added tasks rather than adding up numbers.

Although the requirements were clearly defined at the outset, as the project evolved, some elements of the requirements did of course change. RCIFS have been impressed with Rinedata’s ability to adapt accordingly.

“Our decision to work with Rinedata has been a good one.  We were impressed with their flexibility and the speed with which they understood the complexities and intricacies of our business and what we were trying to achieve.  If we hit barriers they have been quick to propose alternative approaches and deliver the very specific industry analytics we needed,“concludes Alice.

The majority of the UK project scope has now been delivered but the value of this investment will not end there. This UK transformation project has been reviewed centrally at a group level. As a result, the group is now evaluating this initiative can be leveraged in other countries to continue the drive for improved profits across Europe.

Finance

How payments can help streamline operations and boost customer satisfaction in the vending industry

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How payments can help streamline operations and boost customer satisfaction in the vending industry 1

By Darren Anderson, Business Development Manager, Self Service, Ingenico Enterprise Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an astounding impact on the payments industry, causing cash usage to plummet as contactless and card-not-present volumes soared. Of course, this phenomenon was not unforeseen by payments professionals, who had predicted such a movement away from cash, but not at the speed the virus guidelines facilitated. In fact, due in part to the hygiene perks of contactless payment methods increasing its adoption, 50% of customers think that cash will disappear completely at some point in the future.

The unattended market was ahead of the pandemic in terms of contactless alternative payment method (APM) adoption, and it continues to upgrade its offerings to suit a wider range of industries. Nevertheless, the pain point for vending operators is that they’re often not sure exactly how these technologies work, or how to implement them. And with payments offerings constantly evolving, it’s becoming harder for vending operators to know which solution would be the best fit for their business.

As such, one easy way for vending operators to ease this load is to partner with a knowledgeable payments advisor who can not only provide the best solutions for their business, but guide them through the process and any need-to-knows. It’s also important to investigate the payments trends across the vending market, what the future might bring and what vending operators need to know about newer payments technology and the value it can bring to their unattended retail business operations.

Vending through the pandemic

Coronavirus has impacted the unattended market in various ways. In some cases, vending machine use has decreased as a result of lower footfall and closed premises. However, the nature of vending being self-service, for many it’s just been a case of upgrading systems to meet new guidelines and hygiene recommendations to start boosting their usage again. As cash usage decreased over the course of the pandemic, cards and APMs stepped in to provide a host of benefits, and as customers use and enjoy these seamless technologies, they are fast becoming the preference.

These developments have provided the opportunity for vending operators to embrace newer technologies which, although ultimately positive, can prove daunting if such retailers are not accustomed to working closely with payments. Fortunately, the vending market is in a great position to take advantage of new contactless technologies, being already low on human interaction and having 24/7 capabilities.

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

What’s more, the market can not only cater to consumers’ evolving needs, but it can also provide the flexibility and reliability that consumers are relying on as the world around them is changing. Many new technologies can also improve the general operations and management of vending, offering features such as easier on-the-go stock management and maintenance notification technology.

Keeping the consumer in mind

Consumers today want to enjoy the latest innovations and best-in-class customer experiences. These shoppers believe that self-service is a time-saver, and they also view cashless and contactless as faster and more seamless ways to pay – a fact which is reflected in the recent consumer demand for a wider variety of APMs. Customers now expect even more options to pay for their goods and services, from QR codes, to in-app payments and more.

Alongside the cashless trend, data-security and customer experience are two other factors driving the vending market evolution. With constantly evolving fraud developments in the online world, good security is more pertinent than ever, and has to be a central consideration to vending operators – as well as ensuring a seamless customer experience.

From a customer usage standpoint, mobile payments are becomingly increasing popular, as driven by the Gen Z market. According to our research, 63% of Gen Zers have said they would pay more for a mobile experience[1].

Trust and a good experience are also considerable factors across all customer groups, with 95% of customers claiming their loyalties lie with a company they trust[2], and 86% willing to pay more for a positive experience[3].

To appeal to ever-hungry consumers, vending operators need to provide the options they want. In the unattended market, this is relatively simple – not only do they provide a convenient and reliable method of payment for customers, but they also avoid face-to-face interaction. They can also supply a range of different products and accept a variety of payment methods to appeal to all customers, no matter their preference.

Using payments to drive revenue

Driving revenue is a two-pronged approach – you need to appeal to customers to keep them coming, and streamline operations to reduce overheads. In order to meet both parties’ expectations, it’s important to respond well to new vending challenges, taking note of the solutions that enable merchants to provide their customers with the payment methods they prefer.

Payments are complicated, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not hugely familiar with the offering out there, or unsure where to start – that’s where a payment service provider (PSP) can assist. With the expertise that a PSP brings, along with the technological solutions they offer, vending operators can improve customer journeys in all unattended environments.

Such technological solutions are flexible and can cater to specific business needs, while providing easy, quick, and secure payment methods that protect both the business and the customer’s personal data. They can also improve operational efficiency, increasing business performance with features such as real-time reporting and smart transaction management, to provide a best-in-class customer experience.

With smart devices, a secure gateway and advanced acquiring capabilities, PSPs can help vending operators design a flexible vending solution tailored to their individual and specific needs. To find out more about unattended retail and how your company can benefit from Ingenico’s unique expert knowledge, get in contact with Ingenico Enterprise Retail today at www.ingenico.com/smartselfvending.

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Finance

ISO 20022 migration: full speed ahead despite recent delays, says new Deutsche Bank paper

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ISO 20022 migration: full speed ahead despite recent delays, says new Deutsche Bank paper 2

Today, Deutsche Bank has released the third installment in its “Guide to ISO 20022 migration series, which offers a comprehensive update on the industry shift to the de facto global standard for financial messaging: ISO 20022. This paper comes at a critical time for the ISO 20022 migration, with a number of changes to existing timelines and strategies from SWIFT and the world’s major market infrastructures having been announced this year.

The paper explores the latest developments, including SWIFT’s year-long postponement of the migration in the correspondent banking space. The decision meets industry calls for a delay and also provides ample time to build the new central Transaction Management Platform (TMP) – a core feature of SWIFT’s new strategy that will allow the industry to move away from point-to-point messaging and towards central transaction processing.

It also details the wave of action that has been seen by market infrastructures around the world – with many, including the ECB, EBA CLEARING and the Bank of England, announcing revised migration approaches.

“Now more than ever, with shifting timelines and strained resources, it is vital that banks and corporates alike do not view the ISO 20022 migration as just another project that can be put on the back burner,” says Christian Westerhaus, Head of Cash Products, Cash Management, Deutsche Bank. “The delays in the correspondent banking space, and across several market infrastructures, should not be seen as an opportunity for banks to take their foot off the pedal. The journey to ISO 20022 is still moving ahead at speed – and internal projects need to reflect this.”

The Guide also highlights the implementation issues on the migration journey ahead – most notably surrounding interoperability between market infrastructures, usage guidelines and messaging formats. This is achieved through a series of deep dives, case studies, and points of attention drawn from Deutsche Bank’s internal analysis.

 “As this year has proved, nothing is set in stone, “says Paula Roels, Head of Market Infrastructure & Industry Initiatives, Deutsche Bank. “The ISO 20022 migration involves a lot of moving parts and keeping abreast of the latest developments is critical for banks and corporates alike. As the deadlines near, and the ISO 20022 story develops, this series of guides will continue to highlight key points for consideration over the coming years.”

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Finance

The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector

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The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 3

By Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4

Banks and financial industries are quite literally where the money is, positioning them as prominent targets for cybercriminals worldwide. Unfortunately, regardless of investments made in the latest technologies, the Achilles heel of these institutions is their employees. Often times, a human blunder is found to be a contributing factor of a security breach, if not the direct source. Indeed, in the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, miscellaneous errors were found vying closely with web application attacks for the top cause of breaches affecting the financial and insurance sector. A secretary may forward an email to the wrong recipient or a system administrator may misconfigure firewall settings. Perhaps, a user clicks on a malicious link. Whatever the case, the outcome is equally dire.

Having grown acutely aware of the role that people play in cybersecurity, business leaders are scrambling to establish a strong security culture within their own organisations. In fact, for many leaders across the globe, realising a strong security culture is of increasing importance, not solely for fear of a breach, but as fundamental to the overall success of their organisations – be it to create customer trust or enhance brand value. Yet, the term lacks a universal definition, and its interpretation varies depending on the individual. In one survey of 1,161 IT decision makers, 758 unique definitions were offered, falling into five distinct categories. While all important, these categories taken apart only feature one aspect of the wider notion of security culture.

With an incomplete understanding of the term, many organisations find themselves inadvertently overconfident in their actual capabilities to fend off cyberthreats. This speaks to the importance of building a single, clear and common definition from which organisations can learn from one another, benchmark their standing and construct a comprehensive security programme.

Defining Security Culture: The Seven Dimensions

In an effort to measure security culture through an objective, scientific method, the term can be broken down into seven key dimensions:

  • Attitudes: Formed over time and through experiences, attitudes are learned opinions reflecting the preferences an individual has in favour or against security protocols and issues.
  • Behaviours: The physical actions and decisions that employees make which impact the security of an organisation.
  • Cognition: The understanding, knowledge and awareness of security threats and issues.
  • Communication: Channels adopted to share relevant security-related information in a timely manner, while encouraging and supporting employees as they tackle security issues.
  • Compliance: Written security policies and the extent that employees adhere to them.
  • Norms: Unwritten rules of conduct in an organisation.
  • Responsibilities: The extent to which employees recognise their role in sustaining or endangering their company’s security.

All of these dimensions are inextricably interlinked; should one falter so too would the others.

The Bearing of Banks and Financial Institutions

Collecting data from over 120,000 employees in 1,107 organisations across 24 countries, KnowBe4’s ‘Security Culture Report 2020’ found that the banking and financial sectors were among the best performers on the security culture front, with a score of 76 out of a 100. This comes as no surprise seeing as they manage highly confidential data and have thus adopted a long tradition of risk management as well as extensive regulatory oversight.

Indeed, the security culture posture is reflected in the sector’s well-oiled communication channels. As cyberthreats constantly and rapidly evolve, it is crucial that effective communication processes are implemented. This allows employees to receive accurate and relevant information with ease; having an impact on the organisation’s ability to prevent as well as respond to a security breach. In IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach study, the average reported response time to detect a data breach is 207 days with an additional 73 days to resolve the situation. This is in comparison to the financial industry’s 177 and 56 days.

Moreover, with better communication follows better attitude – both banking and financial services scored 80 and 79 in this department, respectively. Good communication is integral to facilitating collaboration between departments and offering a reminder that security is not achieved solely within the IT department; rather, it is a team effort. It is also a means of boosting morale and inspiring greater employee engagement. As earlier mentioned, attitudes are evaluations, or learned opinions. Therefore, by keeping employees informed as well as motivated, they are more likely to view security best practices favourably, adopting them voluntarily.

Predictably, the industry ticks the box on compliance as well. The hefty fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the past year alone, including Capital One’s $80 million penalty, probably play a part in keeping financial institutions on their toes.

Nevertheless, there continues to be room for improvement. As it stands, the overall score of 76 is within the ‘moderate’ classification, falling a long way short of the desired 90-100 range. So, what needs fixing?

Towards Achieving Excellence

There is often the misconception that banks and financial institutions are well-versed in security-related information due to their extensive exposure to the cyber domain. However, as the cognition score demonstrates, this is not the case – dawdling in the low 70s. This illustrates an urgent need for improved security awareness programmes within the sector. More importantly, employees should be trained to understand how this knowledge is applied. This can be achieved through practical exercises such as simulated phishing, for example. In addition, training should be tailored to the learning styles as well as the needs of each individual. In other words, a bank clerk would need a completely different curriculum to IT staff working on the backend of servers.

By building on cognition, financial institutions can instigate a sense of responsibility among employees as they begin to recognise the impact that their behaviour might have on the company. In cybersecurity, success is achieved when breaches are avoided. In a way, this negative result removes the incentive that typically keeps employees engaged with an outcome. Training methods need to take this into consideration.

Then there are norms and behaviours, found to have strong correlations with one another. Norms are the compass from which individuals refer to when making decisions and negotiating everyday activities. The key is recognising that norms have two facets, one social and the other personal. The former is informed by social interactions, while the latter is grounded in the individual’s values. For instance, an accountant may connect to the VPN when working outside of the office to avoid disciplinary measures, as opposed to believing it is the right thing to do. Organisations should aim to internalise norms to generate consistent adherence to best practices irrespective of any immediate external pressures. When these norms improve, behavioural changes will reform in tandem.

Building a robust security culture is no easy task. However, the unrelenting efforts of cybercriminals to infiltrate our systems obliges us to press on. While financial institutions are leading the way for other industries, much still needs to be done. Fortunately, every step counts -every improvement made in one dimension has a domino effect in others.

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