Imperial College London is een leider op het gebied van bèta/techniek en staat op de 8e plaatsth best university in the world. When a leading university says your software will save them thousands of pounds, it feels great. Especially if savings can go back into the excellent academic research they are renowned for, including the fight against COVID-19.
Maar met een wereldwijd gerespecteerde reputatie komt de behoefte aan een moderne financiële functie - en dat is waar AccessPay komt binnen.
Beginnend met een eenvoudige Bacs oplossing, the innovative fintech has collaborated on two new banking connections for the university, improving the efficiency of international payments. This phased approach has made AccessPay ‘a trusted partner’ of the world class institute.
Fase 1: Het begon allemaal met Bacs
In 2019 the London-based university needed a new Bacs solution. With their incumbent supplier retiring the current platform to force an expensive upgrade, Imperial College decided to do their research and go to tender. With a compelling price point and ‘one portal for all payments’ approach AccessPay won.
Rob Leech, Financial Systems Manager explains: “The university pays thousands of suppliers and employees by Bacs – so it is business critical to have a secure and reliable solution in place. Where AccessPay were head and shoulders above the others is the competitive pricing and the very good feedback we had received from other higher education institutions.”
Ons cloud-gebaseerde platform was een stap weg van hun verouderde on-premise oplossing en gaf gebruikers extra functionaliteit, zoals toegang op afstand voor het goedkeuren van betalingen.
As Rob says: “The user experience is better and the infrastructure is cloud-based which reduces our technical debt and so keeps IT happy. The implementation period was also seamless with allies like Stuart and Lisa project managing it from your end.” But the AccessPay solution had also piqued the team’s interest for another reason.
Fase 2: Internationale betalingen verrichten vanuit het VK
In de HO sector is er vaak een leverancier internationale betalingen to be made, to support global ground-breaking studies and research. Imperial College London pay accounts in 150 countries, in a mix of currencies, so it’s almost as important as its UK Bacs payments.
The university has come a long way as five years ago they were still keying in the data manually to a bank portal. With a half-automated interim solution which was prone to errors and frustrating to use the finance manager turned to AccessPay.
Een andere oplossing die het platform biedt, is toegang tot een rechtstreekse "host-to-host"-verbinding met uw bank, wat betekent dat internationale betalingen kunnen worden verricht via hetzelfde betalingsportaal dat voor Bacs wordt gebruikt.
“You tipped the balance with this additional offering as a direct host-to-host RBS link was music to our ears” enthuses Rob. “It meant not only could we get the UK Bacs working but we could also become more efficient with our foreign payments.”
The automated solution eliminates keying errors and reduces fraud through the encryption of data and multi-factor authentication. There is also better visibility of international payments and AccessPay allows for a clear segregation of duties.
Imperial College transitioned all of their payments previously made through the banking portal to RBS’s host-to-host connection Bankline Direct. Rob said: “We see it as a mirrored solution to Bacs and we like it because it means with AccessPay we only need one way of working.”
Nu de tweede fase in 2020 klaar is, richt de universiteit haar aandacht op de Verenigde Staten.
Fase 3: Leven in Amerika - een betere manier om binnenlandse betalingen te doen
The university pays more U.S. suppliers than any other country, in fact around 50% of their international transactional volume goes Stateside. However, by paying American suppliers out of a UK-based bank it was costing them £40-50k a year in transaction fees. They did have an account with Citizens Bank in America, a left-over from a historical need to write supplier cheques; and so an idea was borne.
Rob explains: “We looked at how much it costs to make an electronic domestic payment U.S. to U.S. and it was pennies, a bit like making a Faster Payment in the UK, it costs almost nothing. So we wanted a solution where we could pay our U.S. suppliers from our Citizens account.”
Having approached the bank directly a couple of years ago to no avail, AccessPay were tasked with extending the host-to-host project to create a new direct connection with Citizens Bank. Explaining the pitfalls of the DIY approach he said: “We didn’t have any experience of working with the U.S. banking sector, which works differently to our own, and the time difference made it difficult.”
Describing the AccessPay project as ‘bold new work’ it will save Imperial College London hundreds of thousands of pounds and is due to go live by mid-2021. Rob finished: “You are adding more value to our proposition and we are building up a global footprint together.”
Ryan Harris, Corporate Sales Executive, AccessPay said: “The ongoing project with Imperial College London is a perfect of example of how AccessPay can future-proof a business. The value that is going to be delivered with the connectivity to their U.S. bank is something all universities should take notice of.”