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47

H

e is sitting in the waiting room of the direc-

tor of a factoring company, waiting to nego-

tiate financing his accounts receivable. He is

offered an espresso by the secretary. The machine

is behind her and she mumbles: “I have run out of

coffee…” She opens the petty cash box and rushes

away. Ten minutes later, he is enjoying his espresso.

Later on, he asks the director how the compa-

ny manages its small everyday expenses. Taken

aback, the director quickly brushes the subject

aside. This makes him realise that many financial

institutions still rely on pen and paper for keep-

ing track of their small office expenses.

Why are large companies – while offering the

best there is in customer service – not having the

same level of concern when it comes to manag-

ing their own internal business? One would argue

that generating income is essential to thriving on

the market – but what about spending controls?

Finance companies are starting to realise that this

matter is fundamental to their well-being. Their

procurement department may be busy requesting

quotes for procurement applications. Think about

the integration – what a headache! Think about all

the administrative functions necessary to manage

the internal day-to-day chores of a financial institu-

tion. Picture the grin on the auditor’s face when an

entry for espresso refills gets squeezed on the ledger,

between two multi-million dollars disbursements.

This director would love to run his factoring com-

pany using software that will ease the burden of the

nitty-gritty functions that management misses once

the business is up and running. But what are these

functions? And what software can be used to help?

A comprehensive internal consumption module

can track the procurement cycle from inception

to final payment to sundry and assets suppliers,

while a maintenance module can keep an eye on

those hard-to-keep machines and other expensive

electronic equipment. A relationship management

module can be used when meeting service suppli-

ers, equipment vendors, technicians, customers

and debtors. A document management system can

keep a digital copy of all the important documen-

tation, and identify the person who has filed away

the original document, and where it has been filed.

Do not forget an alert system reminds users of

things such as a contract renewal, a meeting with

a client or simply buying coffee capsules.

A scheduler will run reports tailored to whom-

ever requires them, which are then sent by e-mail

at set times. Furthermore, dashboards can be fed

by key performance indicator wizards and a dy-

namic business intelligence back-end.

By having the correct technology in place,

finance companies can cover all bases when it

comes to running their business.

Cherif Bedran is chief technology officer at

Information Management

Finance and the

espresso capsules

With companies increasingly focusing on customer service, all too

often internal processes are slipping under the radar

CHE R I F B EDRAN :

I NFORMAT I ON MANAG EMENT

V I EWPO I NT

“Generating income is essential

to thriving on the market – but

what about spending controls?”