Microsoft’s method of managing its bank accounts was cumbersome and inefficient. Documentation travelled to and from Redmond via courier, and the cycle times to make signature changes or close accounts could be as long as six weeks. Microsoft has more than 800 bank accounts in 110 countries for 230 legal entities. The company has limited resources to dedicate to administrative tasks and those it does have are tied up in processing 1,500 bank administration workflows.
Photo of Mark Tweedie, Citi and Jose Luis Marti from Microsoft accepting on behalf of Nancy Wells.
Senior Banking Manager
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Microsoft realised they could improve their processes if they addressed the paper delivery of documentation. The objective was to find a solution that used digital signatures and allowed electronic transmission of documentation to make the process more efficient and ensure accurate completion.
It was for this reason that the company chose to participate in a pilot programme that uses Citi’s eBAM solution to maintain the company’s accounts with the bank. They have implemented the solution in a phased approach that began in May 2010. There are currently more than 160 accounts uploaded to the portal and by the end of May 2011, the company expects to use Citi eBAM to process signer changes and account closures for more than 230 accounts in 19 countries.
“Citi’s eBAM portal enables Microsoft to leap forward into electronic bank account management and enjoy the benefits of a direct link to the bank. Documentation does not get lost, electronic workflows ensure corporate policy is enforced and requests are completed quickly with fewer queries. The current version of the signature card is visible to both Citi and Microsoft. The tool provides a clear audit trail for administration activities by account. Replacing a paper-based process with eBAM will streamline the process for 25% of our bank accounts by the end of 2011,” says Nancy Wells, Senior Banking Manager.
“It is an honour to be recognised by the prestigious Adam Smith Awards for ‘Harnessing the Power of Technology’ using Citibank’s eBAM portal. This innovative tool is helping us gain efficiency in bank administration.”
The system works by assigning a digital identity to each person authorised to provide direction to the bank as mandated by the banking resolution for that uploaded legal entity. The company’s corporate secretary approves the set-up to ensure the right individuals are assigned the appropriate authority. Existing signers may be deactivated quickly within the portal. A new signer is added by uploading a signature specimen and the supporting identification documentation. The workflow to remove and add signers for the account are approved in eBAM by the digital signatures of two assistant treasurers as mandated to be authorised to provide direction to Citi.
The signature change workflow is sent to the bank once authorisations have been provided. The documentation related to maintenance or closures is stored within eBAM. A clear audit trail of workflow steps is displayed and can be reported. Citi’s eBAM has significantly reduced the hand-off of paper documentation between Microsoft and their central contact at Citi and the Citi branch where the account is held. eBAM has improved the delivery cycle within the account maintenance process. Corporate governance is upheld in that the corporate secretary has an approval role within the tool to grant authoriser access by legal entity. Internal controls are supported by one-over-one approval within eBAM, ensuring separation of duties. eBAM is also helping Microsoft comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements and is fully scalable allowing the company to roll-out the technology in each country it does business.
“As Citi rolls out eBAM functionality in a given country, we upload all our Citi accounts in that country to the eBAM portal, including operating signers and their required identification documentation. For each legal entity uploaded, we assign a digital identity for each person authorised to provide direction to the bank as mandated by the banking resolution for that entity,” explains Nancy.