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The account reconciliation process is one responsibility that is integral for ensuring that the total amount leaving a particular account aligns precisely with the amount that has been expended.

This is not just a routine financial chore; it's fundamental for accurate reporting and robust risk management. While it may appear to be a time-consuming and difficult process, several software solutions can remarkably simplify and expedite it. In this article, let’s explore how your business can simplify reconciliation tasks with software.

What Is Reconciliation Software?

Reconciliation software serves as an automation tool designed to streamline the account reconciliation process. It encompasses tasks such as data entry, verification of account balances, and the detection of errors or omissions in financial transactions.

One of its primary functions is to compare a corporation's internal records with those in its external accounting system. This meticulous examination ensures the accuracy of account balances.

Users can electronically verify and complete reconciliations, which are subsequently routed to approvers for review. The reconciled data is securely stored in a centralized database once it is certified.

Why Is Reconciliation Important?

Account reconciliation serves as the hub for ensuring that a company's transactions and reports align seamlessly with those from independent third parties. It assures that both accounts balance harmoniously after the accounting period and that the total expenditure from an account is matching with the total amount spent.

While balance sheet reconciliation is the most conventional method, reconciling credit card and bank statements is also quite prevalent. For businesses managing several bank accounts and executing complex financial closure processes, frequent reconciliations are vital. This is a proactive measure that guarantees the accuracy, currency, and regulatory compliance of a company's internal financial data. It equips businesses to take preemptive actions in averting potential financial losses.

Benefits of Using Account Reconciliation Software

Streamlining and Automation

Reconciliation software takes on the burden of automating labour-intensive and repetitive tasks, thus eliminating manual processes. This not only accelerates the overall financial process but also upholds data accuracy, particularly in the case of data.

Focus on Other Tasks

By helping accounting teams from the shackles of manual processes, account reconciliation software lets them focus on value-added tasks, scrutinize open entries, and devise strategic initiatives.

Ensuring Reporting Accuracy

Reconciliation software furnishes a comprehensive overview of all financial transactions and ensures data precision and the reliability of financial reports. An additional advantage is the swift identification and rectification of any irregularities within financial records. It can also provide real-time cash flow insights, enabling business leaders to make informed financial decisions.

How to Select the Ideal Reconciliation Software

Selecting the most suitable reconciliation software is a pivotal decision. As a result, it's important to outline your company's specific needs and then assess whether the software aligns with those requirements. Key features to look for include:

Some of it might contain sensitive or confidential information, like client data or financial records. 

You could spend hours shredding it yourself, or you could take a smarter route: mobile shredding. In a world where time is money and security is paramount, mobile shredding offers a perfect blend of convenience and safety.

The Dilemma: Busy Schedules and Stacks of Paper

If you're a busy professional, your calendar is probably jam-packed with meetings, deadlines, and a to-do list a mile long. The last thing you want to do is take time out of your day to shred papers. 

Worse still, if those papers aren't disposed of correctly, you could be risking data breaches, identity theft, and even hefty legal fines. That's a lot to juggle!

Time is Money: The Efficiency of On-Site Shredding

Let's get real: time spent shredding is time away from doing what you do best, whether that's managing your team, meeting clients, or strategizing for the future. Services like mobile shredding take the hassle out of the equation, allowing you and your staff to concentrate on your core job tasks. Just schedule a visit, and the truck takes care of the rest.

Dollar and Cents: The Financial Benefits

You might be thinking, "Sure, it saves time, but what about the cost?" The truth is, doing your shredding isn't free. 

Factor in the time employees spend, the wear and tear on your office shredder, and the costs of disposal, and you'll find that mobile shredding is a financially savvy option. Plus, many providers offer different plans, so you can find one that fits your budget.

Don't Risk It: Reducing Liability with Professional Shredding

Improper document disposal can lead to a world of trouble, including potential legal penalties. Mobile shredding companies adhere to strict industry standards to ensure your documents are securely destroyed. Many even provide a certificate of destruction as proof that your papers have been properly disposed of.

Flexibility Is Key: Catering to Your Unique Needs

Whether you need a one-time shredding service for a big project or a scheduled service to keep your document flow manageable, mobile shredding services are flexible enough to meet your needs. Plans can be customized based on volume, frequency, and type of materials.

The Eco-Friendly Bonus: Shred and Save the Planet

Think shredding is bad for the environment? Think again! Most mobile shredding services recycle the shredded materials, turning your unwanted papers into something useful while reducing your carbon footprint.

Making the Switch: How to Choose a Mobile Shredding Service

Choosing the right mobile shredding service is crucial. Look for companies with strong reviews, industry certifications, and transparent pricing. Remember, you're not just hiring them to destroy papers; you're trusting them to protect your sensitive information.

Let the Shredder Come to You

When it comes to managing your time and money efficiently while also ensuring top-notch security, mobile shredding is the way to go.

With the convenience of on-site service, flexibility to meet your specific needs, and a focus on security, the ROI is clear: Mobile shredding is an investment that pays off in spades for busy professionals and institutions.

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, CFOs play a vital role in driving profitability and ensuring long-term success. With the advancement of digital technology, CFOs have the opportunity to leverage innovative tools and strategies to optimize financial operations and enhance profitability. This article explores the various aspects of incorporating digital technology in finance and provides insights into how CFOs can harness its potential to drive profitability.

Understanding the Role of a CFO in the Digital Age

The role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has greatly evolved in the digital age. Traditionally focused on financial planning, reporting, and risk management, CFOs now play a strategic role in leveraging digital technology to drive growth and profitability.

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, businesses are increasingly relying on digital tools and platforms to streamline operations, gain insights, and stay competitive. As a result, CFOs have become key players in navigating the complex landscape of digital finance.

One of the primary responsibilities of CFOs in the digital age is to understand and anticipate digital disruptions in the finance landscape. By staying up-to-date with emerging technologies and market trends, CFOs can proactively identify opportunities to optimize financial operations and enhance profitability.

With the advent of digital technology, CFOs have access to vast amounts of data that can be used to drive informed decision-making. By harnessing the power of data analytics, CFOs can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, market trends, and financial performance. This data-driven approach enables CFOs to make strategic financial decisions that align with the organization's goals.

The Evolving Responsibilities of CFOs

As digital technology continues to transform the finance function, CFOs are faced with new responsibilities and challenges. In addition to their traditional roles, CFOs are now expected to drive digital transformation and innovation within their organizations.

CFOs are increasingly responsible for evaluating and implementing digital tools and systems that can optimize financial operations, such as cloud-based accounting software, robotic process automation, and data analytics platforms. These technologies streamline financial processes, improve accuracy, and provide real-time insights for better decision-making.

Furthermore, CFOs are now playing a critical role in cybersecurity and data privacy. With the increasing risk of cyber threats and data breaches, CFOs must ensure that their organization's financial systems and data are secure and compliant with regulatory requirements.

To meet these evolving responsibilities, CFOs need to develop digital literacy and stay abreast of the latest technological advancements in finance. Embracing digital technology is crucial for CFOs to drive profitability and maintain a competitive edge in today's digital age.

The Importance of Digital Literacy for CFOs

Digital literacy is essential for CFOs to effectively incorporate digital technology in finance and drive profitability. It involves understanding how digital tools and platforms can enhance financial operations, make data-driven decisions, and identify growth opportunities.

Developing digital literacy requires continuous learning and staying ahead of emerging technologies. CFOs should actively seek opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in digital finance, such as attending seminars, webinars, and industry conferences.

In addition to technical knowledge, CFOs also need to develop soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and adaptability. These skills are vital for effectively leading digital transformation initiatives and driving cross-functional collaboration within the organization.

As the digital age continues to reshape the business landscape, CFOs must embrace the opportunities and challenges that come with it. By embracing digital technology, developing digital literacy, and staying ahead of emerging trends, CFOs can play a pivotal role in driving growth, profitability, and success in the digital age.

The Intersection of Finance and Digital Technology

The intersection of finance and digital technology presents numerous opportunities for CFOs to improve profitability and drive growth. In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, the finance landscape is undergoing a digital revolution that is reshaping the way financial transactions are conducted and managed. This shift towards digital finance has not only resulted in increased efficiency and reduced costs but has also brought about significant improvements in customer experience.

One of the key ways digital technology is changing the finance landscape is through the rise of online banking, mobile payments, and digital currencies. These innovations have made financial transactions more accessible and convenient, allowing individuals and businesses to manage their finances anytime, anywhere. With just a few taps on a smartphone, people can transfer funds, pay bills, and even make purchases, revolutionizing the way we interact with money.

But the impact of digital technology on finance goes beyond just convenience. It has also enabled the automation of routine financial processes, such as invoice processing and financial reporting. By leveraging technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), CFOs can streamline these tasks, reducing the risk of errors and freeing up valuable time for strategic initiatives and value-added activities.

Furthermore, digital technology has facilitated the integration of financial data from multiple sources. In the past, CFOs had to rely on fragmented and siloed data, making it difficult to get a comprehensive and accurate view of the organization's financial health and performance. However, with the advent of advanced data integration tools and cloud-based platforms, CFOs can now have a holistic view of their financial data, enabling more accurate forecasting, better risk management, and proactive decision-making.

Key Digital Technologies Impacting the Finance Sector

Several key digital technologies are transforming the finance sector and have the potential to significantly improve profitability:

 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning:

 These technologies enable CFOs to automate data analysis, identify patterns, and make accurate predictions for better financial planning and risk management. With AI-powered algorithms (ChatGPT), CFOs can analyse vast amounts of financial data in real-time, uncovering valuable insights and trends that can drive strategic decision-making.

 

Data analytics:

Advanced data analytics tools allow CFOs to extract valuable insights from financial data, enabling them to identify cost-saving opportunities, optimize pricing strategies, and improve profitability. By leveraging data visualization techniques and predictive analytics, CFOs can gain a deeper understanding of their business performance and make data-driven decisions.

 

Blockchain:

The use of blockchain technology in finance ensures transparent and secure financial transactions, reduces fraud risk, and streamlines processes such as supply chain financing and cross-border payments. By leveraging blockchain's decentralized and immutable nature, CFOs can enhance the security and efficiency of financial transactions, eliminating the need for intermediaries and reducing costs.

 

Risk management systems:

Digital risk management platforms enable CFOs to analyse and mitigate financial risks in real-time, enhancing the organization's ability to respond to potential threats. By leveraging advanced analytics and real-time monitoring, CFOs can identify emerging risks, assess their potential impact, and take proactive measures to mitigate them, safeguarding the organization's financial stability.

 

These digital technologies are not only changing the way finance operates but also presenting CFOs with new opportunities to drive growth and profitability. By embracing digital transformation and leveraging these technologies effectively, CFOs can position themselves as strategic partners within their organizations, driving innovation, and shaping the future of finance.

Strategies for Incorporating Digital Technology in Finance

Successfully incorporating digital technology in finance requires strategic planning and careful implementation. The following sections discuss strategies for identifying the right digital tools for your organization and steps to implementing digital technology in finance operations.

Identifying the Right Digital Tools for Your Organization

Before implementing digital technology in finance, CFOs need to evaluate their organization's specific needs, challenges, and goals. This involves conducting a thorough assessment of existing financial processes, systems, and data requirements.

CFOs should collaborate with finance and IT teams to identify digital tools and platforms that align with the organization's objectives and budgetary constraints. It is crucial to select technology solutions that are scalable, flexible, and provide a seamless integration with existing systems.

Furthermore, CFOs should consider the long-term impact of the selected digital tools on profitability and return on investment. Conducting a cost-benefit analysis and seeking input from key stakeholders can help in making informed decisions.

Steps to Implementing Digital Technology in Finance Operations

Once the appropriate digital tools have been identified, CFOs need to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. The following steps can guide CFOs in successfully integrating digital technology in finance operations:

 

Define objectives and scope:

Clearly define the objectives and scope of the digital transformation initiative, keeping in mind the organization's overall strategy and financial goals.

 

Engage stakeholders:

Involve key stakeholders, including finance, IT, and other relevant departments, in the planning and implementation process to ensure buy-in and collaboration.

 

Allocate resources:

Allocate the necessary resources, such as budget, personnel, and infrastructure, to support the implementation and ensure smooth adoption of digital technology.

 

Train and upskill:

Provide training and upskilling opportunities for finance and IT teams to effectively use the digital tools and maximize their potential.

 

Monitor and evaluate:

Continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of the digital technology, gather feedback, and make necessary adjustments to ensure its effectiveness in driving profitability.

Measuring the Impact of Digital Technology on Profitability

To evaluate the effectiveness of digital technology in driving profitability, CFOs need to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure the return on investment (ROI) of digital initiatives. The following sections discuss the key KPIs and the evaluation of ROI:

Key Performance Indicators for Digital Technology in Finance

The selection of appropriate KPIs depends on the specific objectives and scope of the digital initiatives. Some common KPIs for measuring the impact of digital technology on profitability include:

 

Cost reduction: Measure the percentage reduction in finance-related costs, such as processing costs, error correction costs, and labor costs.

 

Efficiency improvement: Measure the time savings and cycle time reduction achieved through digital tools and automation.

 

Forecast accuracy: Measure the improvement in forecast accuracy and the ability to proactively identify risks and opportunities.

 

Revenue growth: Measure the impact of digital initiatives on revenue growth, including increased sales, improved pricing strategies, and enhanced customer retention.

 

Evaluating the Return on Investment of Digital Technology

To evaluate the ROI of digital technology in finance, CFOs need to compare the costs incurred against the financial benefits achieved. This involves tracking the direct cost savings, revenue growth, and intangible benefits such as improved decision-making and enhanced stakeholder satisfaction.

ROI can be calculated by dividing the net financial benefits by the total cost of the digital initiative and expressed as a percentage. Regular evaluations should be conducted to ensure ongoing alignment with the organization's profitability goals and to identify areas for further improvement.

In conclusion, incorporating digital technology in finance is essential for CFOs to improve profitability and drive long-term success. By understanding their evolving responsibilities, developing digital literacy, and leveraging key digital technologies, CFOs can optimize financial operations, make informed decisions, and identify growth opportunities. By implementing digital tools strategically and measuring their impact, CFOs can ensure that their organizations stay competitive in the digital age.

Why Capgemini partnered with American Express to create a single payment solution for its T&E spend worldwide

 

As a global leader, Capgemini delivers greater efficiency and operational excellence for its partners by harnessing the power and value of technology. For over 10 years, Capgemini has partnered with American Express to leverage a single payments solution that tackles all its business travel and expense (T&E) spend globally.

 

“Relevance, speed and fluidity are essential to us,” says Emmanuel Erba, Group Chief Procurement Officer at Capgemini. “They are the essence of our business, and a single payment solution helps us achieve these, making it easier for our teams across the globe to partner with our clients and keep us agile.”

 

As a global business working with clients across different industries, often on major technology and transformation projects that span many months or even years, the potential for financial complexity is huge. “Our business is one of scale, which risks creating fragmentation, friction, inefficiency and a lack of transparency. Wherever possible, we need to overcome this and create a better experience.”

 

With over 15,000 suppliers, there is a huge complexity of goods and services being delivered. Whether internal or external spend, achieving harmony between the business and its suppliers is vital to the smooth and successful performance of Capgemini – especially when it comes to day-to-day business T&E spend which represents hundreds of thousands of transactions. Equally, Capgemini’s financial team must ensure spending happens within its set policy and must find a way to manage a highly fragmented group of indirect suppliers.

 

A single payment solution was key to tackling this problem – offering Capgemini a single point of aggregation and consolidation for this typically low value, high volume spend, often undertaken through one-off suppliers.

 

“The solution makes it easier both in terms of transparency and traceability. Our aim is to digitise as many of the transactional activities that take place as possible, and ultimately enable the transparency that is needed to review what we spend in real time, as well as bringing simplicity for our people.”

 

Capgemini chose American Express to create the best possible experience for its workforce and to help it manage reconciliation and reimbursement easily and efficiently. Today, it drives T&E spend through more than 66,000 American Express® Cards in use across the world.

 

“We combine Amex with our expense management platform, which fully digitises the capture and reimbursement flow, giving us a real-time view over our external T&E spend.”

 

As well as the benefits for security and control, the American Express payment solution also provides Capgemini’s people with an enhanced experience. “When an employee books a trip or makes a purchase, the process is fully aligned and directly billed to the American Express Card of the employee.”

 

For the business’ finance and admin teams, the Corporate Card solution has clear benefits around reducing admin and time-consuming processes. But American Express delivers more than just a payment solution. “Amex have a broad view of the market and are always bringing to the table opportunities for us to streamline spend that we are not yet taking advantage of. These add tremendous value.”

 

Looking ahead, the partnership looks set to go from strength to strength, including increasing use of American Express’ virtual payment tool, which offers a user-friendly digital payment solution for small B2B value purchases without the need for a Card.

 

“At Capgemini, we are focussed on enabling the future that we all want. And for us, this is about making T&E transactions swift and easy, but also controlled, so our teams can focus on supporting our people and our clients and not admin.”

Sponsored content provided by American Express

 

In a digital age where cybersecurity and operational resilience are paramount, the European framework known as DORA (Digital Operational Resilience Act) has emerged as a significant touchstone for financial markets. This act illuminates the pressing need for financial institutions to bolster their digital defences and streamline operations, particularly against the backdrop of increasing cyber threats and ICT disruptions. As we delve into this intricate framework, we sit down with Junaed Kabir, Partner and Managing Director of Parva Consulting, to uncover its profound implications, specifically for Luxembourg, a notable epicentre in the global funds industry. The insights provided shed light on the challenges ahead and highlight the potential opportunities for those ready to adapt and innovate.

 

To begin, please clarify the essence of DORA and its significance to the funds industry?

DORA (Digital Operational Resilience Act) is a European framework that aims to establish a robust and resilient approach to delivering digital capabilities in Financial Markets.

The requirement to ensure that organisations can continue resilient operations in the face of significant disruptions caused by cyber-attacks and information and communication technology (ICT) concerns is at the heart of DORA. DORA fosters the convergence of standards for ICT and cyber practises by offering a unified and consistent approach.

DORA covers five major issues: ICT risk management, incident reporting on ICT-related topics, administration and oversight of critical third-party providers, digital operational resilience testing, and information and intelligence exchange.

DORA underlines the significance of financial firms proactively identifying and categorising ICT assets in order to restrict inherent risks to acceptable levels. Financial institutions must develop effective risk management policies to protect themselves from cyber-attacks and disruptions by thoroughly knowing their digital infrastructure.

 

Luxembourg is a prominent hub in the global funds industry. How do you envision DORA specifically impacting this sector in Luxembourg?

The emphasis placed by DORA on strengthening operational resilience and defending against ICT-related risks will compel Luxembourg's financial institutions to reconsider their current processes and controls.

DORA will necessitate the implementation of new and more sophisticated rules, information technology controls, and resilience testing procedures. While some businesses, such as credit unions and investment firms, may already be in compliance in some areas, many will need to create totally new frameworks to meet DORA's criteria.

As the compliance journey evolves, it becomes increasingly crucial to incorporate critical stakeholders in the process. Information Security Officers, IT Officers, Risk Officers, and others must work together and contribute to achieve total compliance.

 

Can you delve into how the implementation of DORA might affect the daily operations of firms in the funds industry?

As Luxembourg-based financial institutions begin their compliance journey, it is obvious that DORA necessitates a proactive and dynamic approach to operational resilience and risk management.

Given the prominence of Luxembourg in the global funds industry, the country's financial firms will need to embrace DORA's criteria in order to maintain their competitiveness and reputation. As the legislative process draws to a close, the Luxembourg financial sector must prepare to detect, monitor, and defend itself against an increasing variety of ICT-related threats. This includes adapting to the Act's requirements for robust ICT infrastructure, incident reporting systems, and comprehensive testing.

 

Are there particular challenges that Luxembourg-based funds might face concerning DORA that you don't foresee in other jurisdictions?

The adoption of DORA is expected to have a significant impact on the financial industry, requiring various reforms to comply with the new regulatory framework. DORA seeks to increase the operational resilience of financial institutions by pushing investment firms to make significant changes to their internal procedures, risk management systems, reporting, and transparency methods.

Many Luxembourg-based financial institutions benefit from the IT infrastructure of a parent firm that is not based in Luxembourg. Control, oversight, and incident reporting are frequently assigned to the parent corporation. This will have to change; under DORA, the Luxembourg organisation must be able to demonstrate complete ownership of the IT infrastructure.

Investment businesses will need to conduct a thorough examination of their internal procedures in order to identify flaws and potential sources of failure. To avoid disruptions caused by cyberattacks or technological failures, comprehensive operational risk management practises, such as the establishment of contingency plans and seamless communication between departments, will be essential.

DORA intends to impose higher transparency standards on investment firms, forcing them to provide more detailed and regular disclosures to regulatory agencies and investors. This will need the development of new reporting frameworks capable of capturing a greater range of operational risks and occurrences.

DORA implementation will increase compliance costs and resource allocation for investment firms. Adapting procedures and systems to satisfy the new criteria will necessitate a significant investment in both financial and human capital.

Investment firms will need to invest in advanced technology and cybersecurity measures to boost operational resilience. Cyber threats constitute a significant threat to operational continuity; therefore, enhancing cyber defences is vital.

DORA is a critical step towards enhancing the financial industry's technology and cyber risk management and resilience. DORA's goal is to offer a uniform regulatory framework that improves the industry's operational resilience across all EU member states by focusing on risk management, incident reporting, and oversight of critical third-party providers. Financial organisations must proactively embrace DORA's criteria to ensure their ability to withstand, respond to, and recover from ICT-related disruptions and threats, ultimately safeguarding the stability and security of the financial system.

 

What opportunities might the introduction of DORA bring for the funds industry, particularly in Luxembourg?

The implementation of DORA in Luxembourg opens several opportunities for the funds business, leading to increased growth, innovation, and competitiveness in the global financial market.

DORA's implementation has the potential to improve collaboration and knowledge exchange across the funds industry, resulting in a more unified and forward-thinking financial ecosystem.

 

How should fund managers prepare for the implementation of DORA? What steps can they take now to ensure a smooth transition and ensure they are ready for January 2025?

Fund managers need to plan ahead of time for the adoption of DORA to ensure a smooth transition and compliance with the new regulatory framework. Early and planned action will help them mitigate hazards, streamline processes, and improve overall resilience. They can take the following critical steps:

 

How does Parva Consulting support clients in preparing for and navigating regulatory changes like DORA?

Parva Consulting assists customers in preparing for regulatory developments like DORA, achieving compliance and improving operational resilience through professional consulting services.

 

In this ever-changing corporate world, keeping up with the latest skills and knowledge is crucial to maintain a competitive edge. However, unlike most big companies with elaborate training programs and the budget to allocate towards employee development, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often struggle due to their lack of resources. That’s where LMS comes in. LMS is now becoming increasingly popular among those looking for a cost-effective solution.

For those new to the term “LMS,” it stands for Learning Management System. These systems are designed specifically for providing online training modules and are highly sought after by SMBs all over the globe. Many business owners attest that investing in an LMS could be one of their best decisions.

According to research conducted by HR Tech World Congress, 56% of companies leverage e-learning as their primary training delivery method, while 22% use blended learning options combining classroom sessions with digital technology platforms such as LMS. 

Employing such technology helps companies save money on employee training costs, as traditional learning methods can be expensive due to location rental fees, overhead costs associated with classroom-based instruction facilities like projectors or screens, and experienced instructors’ salaries fees.

Which LMS can benefit your SMB?

Many LMS options are available on the market today, so choosing one can become confusing if you’re unsure what you’re looking for. To get you started, however, we will discuss some ways that will help unleash the power of the best LMS for your small business solution: 

1). Evaluate Compliance Requirements: One primary consideration when selecting an LMS is assessing whether it meets regulatory compliance requirements such as GAMP5 before investing time and money into any system.

2). Accessibility: Choose one that has mobile capability: The workforce is no longer limited to office premises; therefore, choosing an accessible LMS that can cater to mobile access through different platforms is essential. This feature ensures that employees have the flexibility to continue learning even when they’re not in an office setting.

3). Implementation: Ease of setup and use: A user-friendly LMS helps manage employee records and HR functions, tracking employee progress on training courses and compliance requirements with ease rather than getting bogged down by technical issues.

4). Integrations: The ultimate goal of a business in selecting an LMS solution is efficiency. This goal includes having applicable reporting tools and integration options between other systems used in the organization – whether this be Salesforce, Hubspot, or Gmail.

How can an LMS benefit your SMB?

The best LMS for small businesses will be the one that fits your specific needs as an organization. However, critical factors should always include scalability and customization features. In addition to these essential features, some additional benefits of using an LMS for SMBs include:

1). Increased productivity - Introducing an efficient online learning system with automated compliance accreditation processes helps employees focus on areas of their job where they can add the most value to the business.

2). Employee Retention - Once onboarding is over, keeping staff happy with company benefits like ongoing professional development opportunities is reasonably cost-effective compared with budgeting large compensation packages at scale during recruitment drives.

3). Enhanced Knowledge Sharing - Creating shared calendars utilizing content sharing functionality like webinars or slideshows increases knowledge sharing within organizations resulting in tangible ROI reports held against improved sales figures year-on-year

In conclusion, unleashing the power of learning management systems for SMBs might sound overwhelming. However, evaluating your course delivery needs against the initial considerations above will set you apart from companies who jumped `on board` too soon without adequate due diligence. 

Remember, investing in any new technology shouldn’t just be viewed as a passing trend or marketing check-box but as long-term support towards organizational goals made possible through effective upskilling practice implementations resulting in company growth while maintaining happy, motivated staff.

Today, core banking software stands at the center of this digital upheaval, reshaping how financial institutions operate, serve their customers, and compete in a global marketplace.

1. Instant and Real-time Banking

 In today's on-demand world, consumers expect banking operations to happen instantly. Real-time processing, once a luxury, is now a necessity. From transferring funds to checking account balances, instant services provide customers with the convenience and efficiency they demand.

2. Cloud Infrastructure

 As financial institutions aim for scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, cloud-based core banking solutions are becoming the go-to choice. By leveraging the cloud, banks can reduce infrastructure costs, ensure higher uptime, and adapt swiftly to changing regulatory or market conditions.

3. Open Banking and APIs

 The rise of open banking initiatives has paved the way for third-party developers to create a plethora of innovative financial solutions. Through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), banks can integrate with various fintech platforms, extending their services and offerings.

4. AI and Machine Learning

 Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are not just buzzwords; they're tools that enable predictive analytics, fraud detection, and personalized customer experiences. By analyzing vast amounts of data, these technologies can offer insights that help banks make informed decisions, streamline operations, and enhance customer satisfaction.

5. Enhanced Security Protocols

 As digital transactions increase, so does the risk of cyber threats. Core banking systems are focusing on multi-layered security protocols, including biometric authentication, two-factor authentication, and end-to-end encryption, ensuring that customer data remains protected.

6. User-Centric Design

 Modern core banking software prioritizes user experience. Intuitive interfaces, personalized dashboards, and mobile responsiveness are now standard features, ensuring that both bank employees and customers have a seamless experience.

7. Sustainable Banking

 In response to global concerns about climate change and social responsibility, many core banking solutions are integrating features that promote sustainable banking. This includes services that facilitate green investments or tools that enable carbon footprint tracking.

8. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Integration

 With the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, some core banking software is now offering integrations with DeFi platforms. This allows banks to provide services related to crypto trading, lending, and borrowing.

Amid this digital transformation, platforms like Crassula have emerged as robust solutions. They exemplify many of these trends by offering white-label banking software that's both flexible and user-friendly. With such tools at their disposal, financial institutions can confidently navigate the evolving landscape of the banking sector.

In conclusion, the future of banking is digital, interconnected, and customer-centric. As core banking software continues to evolve and incorporate the latest technological trends, financial institutions can look forward to a future that's efficient, innovative, and aligned with the needs of the 21st-century customer.

By Muzammil Shabudin, Risk Advisory Lead for SAS UK & Ireland.

News that The Bank of England had initiated an external review of its forecasting models, to ensure that it was doing everything possible to better respond to economic disruption, was welcomed by many back in June.

The review followed months of uncertainty and criticism from politicians accusing the Bank of repeatedly failing to predict the rise and persistence of UK inflation. The Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, admitted that it would take “a lot longer than we expected” for inflation to come down. This has left economists continuing to warn of further interest rate rises and mortgage lenders rushing to reprice loans, meaning the problems facing the UK economy are clearly not going away.

Further pressure was applied when a cross-party group of MPs called for an overhaul of forecasting processes, deeming that the Bank of England’s modelling was not producing accurate results.

This situation brings to the fore the importance of good model management, especially given the economic turbulence witnessed in recent years. If the models relied upon by the financial services sector are no longer able to accurately forecast events - such as interest rate rises – then economic stability becomes much harder to maintain.

For this independent review to be deemed a success, a structured approach must be taken, using a risk and control audit methodology and the use of consistent, robust and scalable analytics techniques. Here are some of the key elements that should be considered.

Ensuring good governance

It’s important to point out that forecasting and risk models are only as good as the governance framework in which they operate. No matter the quality of the data that goes in, if organisations are not continually reviewing their processes around model development, usage and reporting, there is a chance that these models become unfit for purpose.

A clear governance framework will also help to ensure that any models requiring amendments or recalibration are easily and quickly identified. With automated modelling techniques now becoming far more common, organisations such as the Bank of England need to ensure that their forecasting and risk models are fully explainable.

This becomes all the more important when faced with criticism or scrutiny from regulators or MPs.

Of course, the Bank of England has thousands of models in place so questions will need to be asked around how broadly they want to consider their models, how in-depth they want to go and whether or not they want to review or rebuild every model. Similarly, there is a question around how far back into the data management space the review ought to go.

When looking at risk mitigation, the auditors will also be focused on the controls in place to mitigate risk, whether or not they have been effective to date and if they remain fit for purpose. If the risk mitigation process is found to be overly manual or overly automated, this will raise questions about its effectiveness.

All of these questions need to be considered before the review begins, to ensure that the outcome is satisfactory.

Advances in technology and the need for greater regulation

Aside from the external factors that have made forecasting more challenging, namely the global pandemic and war in Ukraine, rapid advances in technology have also raised questions.

The increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) means that forecasting and risk models are now able to evolve much faster than they previously would have done. Without the right technology in place, this can soon start to create challenges.

In fact, regulation around model risk management processes is already becoming more stringent, with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) having recently directed UK banks to improve model and data governance processes through the introduction of new model risk regulation.

The Supervisory Statement SS1/23 highlighted the fact that UK banks were lagging behind international peers when it came to ‘effective and robust’ model risk management (MRM). Not only did this leave them open to damaging losses, inaccuracies could have an impact on the overall stability of the UK economy.

With this in mind, the new proposed standards contain five key principles that have been designed to reduce the probability and severity of future crises in the financial sector. Covering model identification and model risk classification, firms must have an established definition of a model that sets the scope for MRM, a model inventory, and a risk-based tiering approach to categorise models to help identify and manage model risk.

There is also a focus on good governance, with firms required to promote good MRM culture from the top down, setting clear model risk appetite, approving the MRM policy and appointing an accountable individual to be responsible for implementing a sound MRM framework.

Alongside this, firms must have a robust model development process with clear standards for model design, implementation, selection and performance measurement.

Given the volatility of the market and challenging economic backdrop, firms will also be required to regularly test their data, model construct, assumptions and outcomes - key processes that will help to identify, monitor, record, and remediate any limitations and weaknesses within the models.

In addition, the PRA has introduced independent model validation to ensure that recommendations for remediation or redevelopment are actioned as quickly as possible so that models are suitable for their intended purpose. Should models be under-performing, firms also need to take quick action, often in the form of an independent review to ensure that they are working effectively.

Taking action

SAS works with organisations across all aspects of the financial services sector, having partnered with over 80 banks to implement robust MRM processes. Given the rapidly changing environmental and digital landscapes, as well as the aforementioned increasing use of AI and sophisticated modelling techniques, now is undoubtedly the time for firms to adopt a more strategic approach not only to MRM but all model management.

As we have seen recently with The Bank of England coming under fire, inadequate or flawed design and implementation of models can lead to adverse consequences that pose significant risks to both their own financial stability and the overall economic stability of the UK economy.

 

Although the entire customer relationship management (CRM) software category has been experiencing rapid growth in recent years, Salesforce has consistently stayed ahead of the pack, especially due to its comprehensive array of tools and AppExchange integrations. These include native modules and third-party tools for lead enrichment, financial modeling, human resources, presales prospecting, and configure price quote (CPQ).

In 2023, Salesforce’s projected revenue is $31.4 billion, representing 18% in year-over-year growth and more than twice the company’s 2018 figures. 

CRM platforms act as a type of ground zero for sales workflows, creating an effective and concise springboard for researching, contacting, analyzing, sorting, and prioritizing sales leads. Over 150,000 clients, many of them of an enterprise scale, choose Salesforce as their go-to CRM solution. Since 2021, Salesforce has claimed well over 20% of the entire CRM category’s market share, with this percentage increasing each year.

As more companies make Salesforce a central part of their sales workflow, teams are discovering the useful systems it has in place to support the sales pipeline. Of these, CPQ software is rapidly becoming essential for companies looking to optimize sales and automate quoting services. Using a CPQ in Salesforce can be a major efficiency booster for revenue teams. 

Let’s discover just how effective CPQ software is in the world of Salesforce-based sales workflows.

Introduction to CPQ and CRM-Integrated Workflows

The sales performance management sector, which aims to optimize sales processes to maximize revenue velocity, is rapidly expanding across the globe. Within this sector, CPQ is a popular tool that helps to improve quoting accuracy and efficiency.

CPQ software is a dynamic system of tools that allow businesses to configure products and services, adapt prices based on guidance margins, and rapidly generate precise sales quotes for new potential customers. As the complexity of sales has increased, with more moving factors integrating into daily workflows, CPQ tools have become essential in the world of sales.

Salespeople can rapidly create accurate quotes by using CPQ software. These tools take information from current price margins, stock levels, potential discounts, and even market data to generate competitive deals for both businesses and customers. Beyond increasing accuracy and maximizing potential profit margins, CPQ software also saves sales teams huge amounts of time by streamlining closing paperwork in line with its automatically generated quote.

Although CPQ tools can convert into the forefront of an effective and optimized sales system, they are not out-of-the-box solutions. They sometimes require a great deal of initial data collection, collation, and tinkering before they can deliver personalized quotes to your audience.

Understanding Requirements and Gathering Data

The sales tech stack is already notoriously complicated, with several tools, systems, and software packs that salespeople must be brought up to speed with. Before deciding to integrate CPQ into a workflow, it’s important to define your objectives, pain points, and desired outcomes. Not only does this reduce the likelihood of adopting a redundant system, but the clear objectives outlined will help to streamline integration.

A business may decide to use a CPQ tool to close more deals, reduce internal communication friction or boost sales cycle velocity. Whatever the reason, clearly outlining motivations will help to facilitate an easy adoption process.

For your CPQ system to work effectively, it must have access to all product pricing parameters, shipping and customization options, and discounting guardrails. When it comes to formula effectiveness, CPQ tools work best with structured data that’s organized and standardized.

Configuring CPQ and Optimization Feedback Loops

Whether you are using your CPQ from within your CRM or via a standalone app, you need to configure two-way data sharing between these platforms.

Considering how vital a CRM platform is to the sales process, pairing this with a comprehensive CPQ tool can work wonders. While many salespeople have experience using CPQ tools, there are always a few individuals in each organization who need a helping hand. Instead of overwhelming your team with another new tech integration, providing structured user training can help to bridge any technological gaps.

What’s more, ongoing training sessions allow your team to stay up to date with any new updates and launches that your CPQ system may publish. By testing and refining your usage of CPQ tools over time, your team will be able to continually push for further efficiencies, providing even more benefits to your company. 

Final Thoughts

By integrating with CPQ systems, alongside a plethora of other sales-oriented tools, Salesforce has managed to gain and retain an impressive segment of the CRM industry. By radically improving the sales process by decreasing the time it takes to generate a quote, complete the necessary sales paperwork, and move through the sales pipeline, CPQ tools have become integral to this sector.

The integration of CPQ optimizes the sales process, helping to reduce back-and-forth discussions per sale, increase proposals per month, and even boost the average deal size that each agent covers. 

The two-day conference will be held at the innovative Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and will also host the hotly contested Fintech Awards London 2023.

In addition to providing attendees with a wealth of opportunities for learning and networking in the sector, Fintech Week London's shrewd choice of location will allow privileged access to the fintech elite of the UK's first city. The venue's amenities include numerous breakout areas, open-plan and private suites, and a broad range of experience ctivities that will include stadium tours and 'The Dare Skywalk', the UK's only controlled descent from a stadium roof.

Topics to be addressed during the conference will include world economic challenges, the growing presence of embedded frinance solutions, the ever-increasing importance of fintech as a social good and the impact that cryptocurrencies have on our daily lives. Leading experts and speakers will address these issues and more across an ambitious programme of talks.S Speakers hail from leading fintechs, banks, regulators, private equity firms, investment and media companies, with major players and challengers all receiving representation.

Confirmed speakers include:

The event's full programme and list of speakers will be revealed shortly. Information on booking a place at the event, or becoming a partner, is available on the Fintech Week London website.

By Bruce Martin, CEO at Tax Systems

 

Yet, within this important movement, a key aspect of finance – tax – can often be neglected, with many organisations missing significant opportunities to boost effectiveness as a result.

 

In reality, this is not surprising. As a constituent part of the overall finance function, tax may not be viewed as a priority area when organisations come to implement digital transformation projects. Moreover, tax is ultimately driven by compliance, so the effects of any changes implemented here are felt much less widely than those in other key areas of finance – which are more likely to have a significant impact across the business. As a result, the percentage of the overall finance budget dedicated to digital tax projects typically pales in comparison to other finance functions.

 

Think of it this way: in getting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) planning and implementation initiatives off the ground, for instance, businesses tend to do the bare minimum until regulations or other pressures force more urgent change. The same idea can be applied to allocating time and resources to tax transformation. What’s more, the unique needs of each business, its position in the finance and tax lifecycle and the proficiency of the finance team play important roles in the budget allocation relating to digital transformation projects.

 

In this context, and with many CFOs coming from an accountancy rather than a tax background, it’s simply more likely that they will focus on areas more aligned with their roles and experiences.

 

Untapped potential

 

And herein lies a growing problem and an important opportunity for positive change. By overlooking tax transformation, many businesses are missing out on valuable insights and efficiencies. Often seen as a compliance box-ticking exercise, businesses do what's needed to remain tax efficient and compliant. Yet, beyond these core objectives, tax transformation holds immense potential.

 

In practical terms, what does this mean? Implementing tax transformation is all about enabling tax professionals to focus on their areas of expertise: evaluating tax positions and maximising efficiency, while automation assumes the role of handling repetitive tasks. While this could be unsettling for some, the objective is to use advanced tech tools to boost efficiency and productivity. It’s certainly not – as some people fear – about using AI to replace jobs, and for those people at the sharp end, tax transformation frees them to do the jobs that fit their expertise, not the jobs that automation can replace.

 

In this situation, tax professionals are empowered to focus on more value-add tasks that can make a material impact on business performance.

 

These are crucial considerations given that the general direction of travel is clearly in favour of greater digitalisation of the tax function at all levels. This includes HMRC, which is gradually integrating technology more deeply into its capabilities and processes. As they work towards building a “trusted, modern tax administration system,” changes they bring forward will inevitably be reflected in the way organisations interact with them.

 

Ultimately, using technology to deliver tax transformation can undoubtedly contribute positively to a company's cash flow and overall financial strategy. Organisations can only reap these benefits, however, if they adopt a mindset which sees the tax function as being driven by more than just regulatory compliance.

 

By viewing it as an integral part of a wider digital transformation strategy, it becomes possible to leverage the capabilities of both tax professionals and emerging technologies for maximum impact. In the future, those organisations that give tax transformation the investment and strategic insight it requires will be ideally placed to deliver on the capabilities and efficiencies that have become synonymous with the digital age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wearable technology market is rapidly expanding - when walking down the street; it feels like everyone has a smart watch or ring tracking their health, sleep, exercise, and even “energy levels.” But one specific type of wearable is gaining traction: payments. Payment-enabled wristbands, rings, and watches are seeing growing popularity as convenient alternatives to traditional payment methods. However, the technology available for wearables today requires each manufacturer to integrate directly with each and every bank/issuer in the market. Sometimes we’re talking about 1000’s of banks in each market. That creates an impossible mission for innovative wearables manufacturers to offer a credible ‘pay’ capability. At Curve, we recognized the potential of these passive wearables and saw an opportunity to leverage our wallet functionality to revolutionise the payment experience and help manufacturers get to 100% bank coverage. Curve’s wallet functionality also allows customers to attach multiple existing credit and debit cards to the Curve app, and charge those cards through the single Curve card. This “multiple cards in one” functionality makes Curve uniquely positioned to take on the passive wearables market – whereas previously, people could only connect one single card to their smart ring or watch, now they can connect all their cards.

It could have been a risky move, entering an entirely new market – wearables – when we were previously so focused on our original project. Expanding our horizons and jumping headfirst into a new opportunity it’s paid off tremendously. Over the last two years, Curve has focused on forging strong partnerships with leading wearable companies, including Swatch, Garmin, Samsung, Wearonize, Fidesmo, Tappy, Xiaomi, and Digiseq. These collaborations have allowed us to seamlessly integrate our game-changing technology that enables multiple cards to be connected to a single wearable device, a feat that was previously impossible with passive wearables. By doing so, we’re creating a unified payment experience that supports a wide range of payment wristbands, rings, and watches.

Our strategic partnerships have significantly expanded the wearable payments ecosystem. These collaborations have enabled partners to offer an array of customizable wearable options, catering to a diverse range of preferences and styles. While smart devices are bound by the need for software, charging, and screens for interaction, passive wearables can take on almost any form. This flexibility allows manufacturers to really let their creativity flow. Innovators in the space have pushed creative boundaries to enable everything from shirts to jewellery to accept payments. The success of these partnerships is evident in the numbers - wearable customers who attach Curve are more engaged and exhibit higher retention.

 

Curve is actively exploring ways to support our passive wearable partners in targeting large, traditional fashion brands. Many fashion brands have signature aesthetics that customers use to identify a brand. Through Curve’s successful partnership with Swatch, we’ve proven demand for payments-enabled traditional watches. By combining our payment technology with the design expertise of fashion brands, we aim to create a new breed of fashionable and functional wearables. This strategy will not only broaden the appeal of wearable payment devices but also help our partners tap into new market segments.

 

In addition to our efforts in the passive wearables space, Curve is exploring opportunities with a number of smartwatch brands. By collaborating with these companies, we can bring the benefits of Curve’s wallet functionality to a wider range of devices, enhancing the payment experience for smartwatch users as well, without much investment required from the smartwatch brand.

 

Breaking into the passive wearable industry was a marked departure from our traditional channels and serves as a prime example of how it’s worth taking a chance to explore non-traditional customers. As we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, our vision for the future of payments extends beyond just wearables. We no doubt will enter new, currently unconsidered categories. We are committed to raising the bar of customer experience while guiding customers on their journey to financial freedom. Forging strong partnerships with leading wearable companies is a significant contributor to making this vision a reality. By exploring different market segments, embracing new form factors, and targeting untapped opportunities, Curve can confidently shape the future of finance for the better and serve as a model for others to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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