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Treasury management system: Changing from routine to strategic work in six months

Emil Folkesson, Group Treasury Director at Intrum.

Changing treasury management system or moving from several different treasury systems to a single integrated system can be a long and complicated process that drains both time and energy. But Intrum, a credit management services company with headquarters in Sweden, was able to change treasury management systems quickly, conveniently and seamlessly.

“We just slid right into the new system, and we can now focus on strategy and analysis,” says Emil Folkesson, Group Treasury Director at Intrum.

Read the full story why Intrum made the leap to change treasury systems and the factors of success!

 

Swedish credit management services company Intrum experienced substantial growth over the past decade. This growth was put to the test when the company merged with its competitor Lindorff in 2017. In the blink of an eye, the business had double the number of employees and triple the value of total assets.

“This tripled the importance of solid administrative flows for financial management because the increase in total assets significantly drives up the cost of any errors,” says Emil Folkesson.

The new Intrum had a treasury management system designed for a less complex organization with numerous manual processes to manage. It was divided into three separate systems:

  1. cash flow forecasts,
  2. treasury (front, mid and back office) and
  3. payments.

“Manual work is the greatest risk in treasury because of the human factor. Also, it is inefficient to manage payments and other financial transactions manually. We needed a system that could automate the processes as much as possible, all the way from transaction to payment.”

“With Bellin’s tm5 system, everything is integrated and sent directly to the bank. The system manages every step in a transaction. This enables us to spend our time on the right things,” Emil Folkesson explains.

“After the merger with Lindorff, it became clear that we needed a more automated solution for our treasury operations. The merger was not decisive in our choice to switch systems, but it did serve to catalyze the process.”

Basic criteria for the new treasury management system

One of several basic criteria was that the new system must support third-party payments and to be connected with several external parties. Bellin’s tm5 system supplied by Core Process was chosen.

“A key factor was also support for an unlimited number of users. All of our subsidiaries can connect to the system, see their transactions and make new transactions with the parent company directly in their web browser.”

A total of 70-80 people divided across 25 countries have permission to log into the system. Every time they submit an inquiry about a transaction in the system, a case is generated for the central treasury function.

“When you log in, you have a complete to-do list to work through. The same goes for the subsidiaries. When they log in, they have lists of tasks, such as if they have loans that need to be extended.”

Emil Folkesson finds tm5 easy to use and work in. He likes that the system updates without any intervention by Intrum.

How long the switch took

Core Process was able to transfer all of the data and implement the new treasury management system in just five weeks. However, the whole process from start to finish took longer. Core did preparatory work at the start of summer 2018. Both databases were identical by the end of June. The second half of the year was dedicated to training Intrum’s treasury team to ensure everyone was fully comfortable with the plug being pulled on the old system in December.

“I required that both systems be run in parallel for quite a while. The transition was very smooth. We just slid into tm5, and there was no clear project end. We gained the knowledge we needed at a steady pace, and suddenly we were fully immersed in the system and could use it on our own.”

“Core nudged us in the right direction by constantly enhancing our own system knowledge. Core gave us the tools to develop our knowledge and to build new awareness on our own.”

Internal involvement a key factor of success

The single most important factor of success for the convenient and fast transition to tm5 was the great internal involvement of the entire treasury team at Intrum. To others preparing to switch systems, Emil Folkesson advises putting great effort into securing buy-in for the change internally.

“It was important to demonstrate how much time a new system would save and the inefficiencies we previously had in every transaction. And that it’s not about getting rid of people but about giving us the opportunity to focus on the right things and develop. We got the entire organization to understand we had time that could be freed up here. Everyone understood the value of switching systems.”

Let the team be involved in choosing the treasury management system

Emil Folkesson also advocates full transparency when multiple systems are being evaluated.

“Everyone was involved when we looked at each system and shared their opinion. Involvement in selecting the system was a key factor of success.”

“Everyone also got to meet Core’s consultants before they began their work. This built trust in every step. Core was always there when we needed them and successfully translated our expectations into Bellin language to implement what we needed in the system.

The next step in the process for Intrum is to change the behavior of everyone involved,” says Emil Folkesson.

“We will not bring old ways of working into the new system, although it can be difficult to break old habits. Now we will spend our time and energy on strategic work that creates value instead of routine tasks.

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