9th May 2018

Setting your organisation up for a payments automation project

Automation is one of 2018’s tech buzzwords. And for good reason. Automation improves internal payment processes, smooths out unnecessary bumps and frees up staff to focus on the tasks that matter.

We’re sure that you know this. The likelihood is that you’ve had some form of payments automation in place for a while.

Maybe you’re looking to switch providers? Or you could be embarking on a period of business transformation; interested in adding a new bank to your finance function or looking to change your ERP software.

Starting off on the right foot is really important, to ensure you get up and running as fast as possible. So here are a few key things to think about when kicking off your payments automation project:

Taking those first steps towards payments automation

It’s important to remember that these things take time and that each company is unique within its requirements.

Customers primarily come to us looking for three things –

  • Functionality – How will this solution fit into my existing business processes? Will it give me enough spare time to divert staff away from existing, long winded payment processes?
  • Price – Will this save me money? What will the return on investment be?
  • Ability to deliver – Does this company have the capacity to adapt and meet my needs?

Hopefully, we’ll address these major points with this blog.

Things to consider

Implementing automation into your payment process is a strategic move and can make an enormous difference to your overall business efficiency and workflow.

But there are still some key fundamentals and common considerations that may be beneficial to muse on at the very start of your new automation project.

For example, you need to get the key players involved early!

Trust us when we say that having the right people in the right place massively decreases the complexity of your timescales. It’s essential to have someone managing the project who fully appreciates the scope, understands your current structure and knows your payment flows.

Projects with a dedicated project manager tend to go much smoother and faster than those without – this is especially true for larger projects.

Like any new software implementation project, there’s a degree of knowledge about current processes that’s required. As well as an understanding of how the solution we’re providing fits into that.

The worst thing you can do is to have a project manager who blindly uses the same old processes, without changing anything (despite this being the perfect opportunity to do so).

Spend some time considering where payments automation will have the biggest impact and start there. Perhaps you send the majority of payments to one specific bank and want to start there?

Picking strategic places to start your automation integration project means that you get off on the right foot. It means you can start reaping in the benefits before tying up all of the smaller loose ends over time.

Flexibility to drive how your solution is delivered is key.

The next steps

You’re on board. Now what?

Some clients come to us with a specific way of working. They may have an automation requirement that could make a huge difference to their business, but don’t quite understand how to achieve it.

Having a kick-off call with the internal implementation team at the start of any payment automation project is essential. This will help you iron out the business resources required to make the project a success and identify a time frame for delivery.

As mentioned above, there may be scope for looking at new ways of working now you’ve got payment automation software on board. Just because you’ve always done things one way doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it. Especially now you’ve got a new toy to play with.

Examine your payment process in granular detail and think about ways your payment files should flow through the automation system. Any Implementation team worth their salt will be able to advise on the direction your payment project should head in and explain how to achieve this.

So, here’s the killer question – how long will it take to start?

When it comes to a proper project kick-off date, it’s worth remembering that any fintech can only connect as quickly as the banks move. In general, it’s 12 weeks from kick-off to connection, but it does usually depend on how busy your bank is and the availability they have.

Once the bank is connected, you’re ready to start feeling the benefits of a tactical automation strategy that’ll transform your payment processes.

So, in summary, the best practice process to follow is –

  • Get your key players engaged early
  • Appoint a project manager
  • Agree your staging point – Bank, Region, etc

Follow our advice and you’ll soon be taking your steps on the journey towards AccessPay payments automation. Want to know more? Read more about payments transformation & automation on our blog.