The Nottingham Building Society
ClientThe Nottingham Building Society
The Nottingham is a top 10 building society with a proud tradition of putting customers first, and of putting people before profits. It has replaced a legacy reconciliation system with powerful three-way matching in Groupit from Aurum Solutions. The benefits include enhanced financial control, a faster, more accurate reconciliation process and increased operational flexibility. The Nottingham particularly praises Aurum Solution’s professional consultative approach.
The Nottingham is a mutual building society and estate agency. Since 1849 the society has been putting customers’ needs at the heart of everything it does, providing financial advice, products and services for every stage of their lives to make sure customers have a secure home and financial future.
Maintaining efficient financial controls within the back office is a key part of delivering this service. To this end, the building society has recently deployed Groupit from Aurum Solutions to manage their complex bank statement reconciliations.
The Nottingham was a long term user of the EasiRec reconciliation system. Over time an increasing number of manual workarounds had become necessary in order to manage the building society’s developing operational complexity. Recognising that a more effective solution was required, the society evaluated a number of alternatives, as Eddie Inskip, Financial Systems and Forecasting Manager at The Nottingham, explains: “We are committed to a process of continual improvement over our financial controls and back office efficiency.”
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“We looked at three different options. The first was to use a reconciliation module from our General Ledger system. The second was a high-end reconciliation system, and the third was Groupit. The latter quickly became our favoured option. It was cost-effective and offered all of the functionality of the high-end system combined with the greatest amount of flexibility to meet our reconciliation requirements.”
Powerful, three-way matching
The process of migrating from the legacy system to Groupit was straightforward thanks to Aurum Solution’s project planning and assistance. “Once the training had been delivered, our users were very keen to get started on Groupit and, once we were live, they didn’t want to go back,” Eddie adds.
"[Groupit] was cost-effective and offered all of the functionality of the high-end system combined with the greatest amount of flexibility to meet our reconciliation requirements."Eddie Inskip, Financial Systems and Forecasting Manager - The Nottingham
The Nottingham have 15 different bank accounts with thousands of transactions to reconcile daily, including cash, cheques, Faster Payments, BACS , CHAPS, debit and credit card receipts. Due to the large transaction volumes involved, The Nottingham’s GL system is updated with daily aggregated totals for each of the transaction types.
Eddie explains: “This poses a challenge as we need transaction level matching. Aurum Solution’s consultants recommended a powerful three-way reconciliation process, using data from the GL, bank statements and our CRM system. This has worked very well.”
Bank statements are imported into Groupit along with transactions from the CRM system, and this data is used to reconcile against the GL. Eddie notes: “This also ensures that all of our systems are aligned from a financial control and consistency perspective.”
The Nottingham has 15 different bank accounts with thousands of transactions to reconcile daily, including cash, cheques, Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS, debit and credit card receipts.
Dealing with Complexity
Each day the society downloads a single file from its bank containing transactions for all their bank accounts. Groupit then splits this data into the different accounts for reconciliation purposes, enabling the work to be carried out by different users. In addition to the main users of Groupit, other building society staff use Groupit’s query and reporting tools to determine answers to particular questions, such as whether a specific cheque has been cashed. “The deployment via Citrix means Groupit is available on any desktop, which offers a lot of flexibility for our users to access the reports,” adds Eddie.
The complexity in Nottingham’s reconciliations is illustrated by the fact that not all accounts are reconciled in the same way. For example, cheques are banked by branches and these are aggregated into daily branch totals. Groupit therefore has to manage one-to-one matching and one-to-many matching as well as catering for the time difference between cheques being received and cleared.
“Reconciliation is one of our key financial controls and we know that, thanks to Groupit, there is a full bank reconciliation on the first day of the month. It enables us to focus our time on resolving exceptions, resulting in enhanced financial risk management.”
Eddie explains the benefits from implementing Groupit:
“Previously we ran a monthly reconciliation but we have been able to move to a faster, more efficient, daily bank reconciliation which allows us to investigate outstanding items on a daily basis.
“Reconciliation is one of our key financial controls and we know that, thanks to Groupit, there is a full bank reconciliation on the first day of the month. It enables us to focus our time on resolving exceptions, resulting in enhanced financial risk management.
“There are clear benefits in terms of improved and consolidated financial control. We have greater transparency and operational flexibility, meaning we can deal effectively with any changes to our business such as adding new accounts.
“One of the best aspects of working with Aurum Solutions is they always take a professional consultative approach, and establish a clear understanding of what we are looking to achieve. They are very practical, applying their knowledge of industry best practice to the process of improving the management of our reconciliations.
“I’ve worked with many IT suppliers, and have to say that Aurum Solution’s approach is refreshingly different. From the outset they were focused on helping to solve our business problems and getting the job done efficiently. If something only takes their experienced consultants half a day, then that is what we are charged.
“We also manage the reconciliations for all of The Nottingham’s subsidiaries, and we are continuing to bring these reconciliations onto Groupit.
“Aurum Solutions are reconciliation specialists and this was obvious throughout the project.”