The following is attributable to Adrian Stafford-Jones in his official capacity as Managing Director of Albany Software – www.albany.co.uk
When it comes to people’s money, no institution or organisation can afford the negative impact of not making customer, employee or supplier payments on time. The recent downtime experienced by one of the High Street banking groups, sends a stark warning to businesses of the importance of ensuring their finance function is well-prepared, robust and caters for the worst-case scenario. Missing supplier payments or failing to make the payroll run could have serious knock-on effects, especially for staff relying on their salary to honour existing standing orders and avoid bank fines.
When disaster strikes, it is imperative that companies are well-prepared to deal with the continuity of their finance function. Banks offer no contingency service for a business solely reliant on internet banking, aside from visiting their branch or struggling through call centre support – so if the system is not available for any reason, the payment run will be compromised and the company will be at risk.
Last-minute cheques or CHAPS payments are not a viable or cost effective alternative. So how else can corporates mitigate risk in such circumstances? Direct Bacs payment solutions have many vital advantages, not least of all enabling payments to be made from multiple bank accounts thereby not tying you into a single bank’s solution. Automation, such as advanced payment scheduling and lights-out processing, also ensures that payments are not dependent on a single individual to be on-hand to validate, authorise and submit payments on a specific date. With advanced security, extended support, automated reporting, longer submission times, configurable workflows and batch submissions available; a direct to Bacs solution ensures organisations maintain the security, confidentiality and control of their payment processing.
Contingency is also a key factor when dealing with payments. Whether contingency is having access to same-day Faster Payments for corporates; a replicated Disaster Recovery environment or a registered service with a Bacs solution provider, every organisation needs to ensure that it is never at risk of not having access to its own funds and that business finance processes can continue regardless.
There is no longer any reason for payments to provide the weak link in the financial transaction process. This step is perhaps the most critical aspect of any business and should not fall victim to third party delays and downtime.