MINT selects single bank to help deliver ‘Smart Dog’ amidst an ‘about-turn’ on ERP platform
Mood Media has acquired no fewer than six smaller rivals over the past decade. With its global customer-base it can claim to be the world’s largest business of its kind.
Each of those acquisitions brought with them new geographies, new regulations and new banking providers. The company had a fractured banking structure with more than 75 accounts; the need to consolidate was now urgent.
For Nick Gilbert, London-based CFO of Mood’s international business, it was time to look for a banking provider who could offer a truly global service.
Mood Media International (known internally as ‘MINT’) issued a request for proposal (RFP) and Bank of America was invited to bid as a result of the strategic nature of the relationship it had with MINT’s HO in Austin, Texas. Bank of America’s bid was successful.
Moving from a fragmented structure to the new, integrated one would deliver huge benefits for MINT but the company knew it would be a mammoth task.
While the firm already had a shared service centre (SSC) in Romania, there were still 32 legal entities with multiple bank accounts spread across 13 jurisdictions to be transitioned to the new structure. In the process, those 75 accounts were reduced to just 41. A domestic cash pool in France would need to be replicated, payment file solutions established and direct debits set-up in the UK, Netherlands, Ireland and France.
As Adam Pring, International Treasury Manager recalls, “the scale of the project wasn’t the only challenge we faced; part way through the process of integrating each country’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, it was announced that the whole company would be transitioning to Oracle as our global ERP platform in a project code-named ‘Smart Dog’”.
Having already completed testing and, in some cases, gone live in countries using legacy ERPs, the team had no choice but to unwind the work they had done and rework the integration with the new ERP.
Another unavoidable hurdle emerged. Of the 13 jurisdictions included in the international banking remit, 12 were covered by EU anti-money laundering (AML) legislation. When the fourth AML directive came into force mid-way through the project, the team had to revisit all their documentation to ensure immediate KYC compliance.
By 2020, MINT had moved from a fragmented, country-based, banking set-up with limited visibility to a unified cash management structure.
Best practice and innovation
Whilst championing change in its banking provider, Mood used the opportunity to review its internal processes and approach to treasury management. A significant change is the introduction of a European cash pool. Building on a domestic French pool that existed previously, Mood will launch a pan-European structure to consolidate group liquidity through one legal entity. This will simplify daily cash reports, automate internal and cross-entity intercompany funding and reduce the requirement to regularly repatriate liquidity to the corporate HQ in the US. This will go live once Phase 1 of ‘Smart Dog’ completes.
Regular contacts and close collaboration were crucial in overcoming obstacles that could easily have caused significant delays. The result is a banking consolidation that offers an example to others looking to achieve similar results.
One day a month is saved on setting up intercompany transactions.
Around €500,000 in additional liquidity has been ‘freed up’ by having access to the pool.
20% reduction in bank charges.