Treasury Practice

Problem Solved: Rob Ramsay, MACH

Published: Oct 2006

MACH handles anything between 5,000-10,000 monthly payments for the mobile operator industry and as such needed a system that gave the company complete control over the payment orders. Deutsche Bank’s db-connect allowed the company to automate the entire process as well as boost security.

Rob Ramsay

Director of Financial Clearing

MACH is a financial service provider to the majority of the world’s mobile telephone operators. About half of all mobile telephone companies worldwide outsource their accounts receivable and accounts payable processes to inter-operator solution providers like MACH in order to focus on their core telecommunications activities.

Through one of its main services, MACH enables mobile operators to exchange billing and payment information relating to roaming – the extension of connectivity services from one mobile operating company to the subscribers of another operator. MACH, based in Luxembourg, has offices in 10 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America and the US and provides its customers with a secure channel to deliver roaming data between the mobile operators. MACH aggregates and nets the balances of individual roaming partners, and collects or initiates the payments of the related charges on their behalf.

Problem…

MACH handles substantial amounts of business-critical data for the mobile operator industry and effects between 5,000 and 10,000 payments per month. Clients, particularly operators that are subject to the US Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, consider it essential that their service providers have certified secure internal control processes.

In 2006, MACH successfully completed the SAS 70 type II certification for its Data Clearing services, allowing it to demonstrate the soundness of its international control activities and processes to its customer base. Subsequently, MACH needed to extend the audit to its Financial Clearing services. Rob Ramsay, Director of Financial Clearing at MACH, explains that in order to obtain the certification the company required a solution that would automate the workflow throughout the payment cycle. “One of the issues that we have with SAS 70 is to ensure that we have complete control over the payment orders. So we wanted to establish a straight through process from the creation of the payment file in our proprietary system right through to the deposit of the payment instruction with the bank. The challenge for us was to get the payment files to the bank without any kind of manual interference.”

…Solved

Prior to MACH’s merger with Danish clearing house DanNet, both companies had been looking for a clearing bank and both had independently identified Deutsche Bank as their desired provider on the basis of a number of selection criteria. “We considered foreign exchange activity, the account structure and the administrative tasks,” explains Ramsay. “We also looked at the online features and the ease of use for the clients. In all cases Deutsche Bank was identified as the number one provider.”

Deutsche Bank offered db-connect, the bank’s host-to-host solution, for the transmission of payment files from MACH’s proprietary ERP system to Deutsche Bank. “db-connect has allowed us to automate the entire process,” says Ramsay. “We create the payment file through our proprietary system which deposits it with db-connect which then takes care of the upload and the reporting.”

Using db-connect MACH not only automated the payment process and improved efficiency of the workflow but also increased its security. “When the payment files have been automatically pushed to the bank, db-connect uploads the file in such a way that once it is in Deutsche Bank’s online systems the information cannot be manipulated.” The uploaded payment files are then reviewed and authorised via Deutsche Bank’s browser based db-direct internet online banking tool. This gives MACH the flexibility to initiate payments in one of its four clearing centres, and approve them centrally, thereby assuring a controlled process.

Based on the new system Ramsay is confident that MACH will obtain the SAS 70 type II certification for its financial clearing processes as soon as it has collected six months of live data necessary for the audit. In addition, db-connect will allow MACH to improve its existing cash collection services. As Ramsay states, “MACH has made substantial investments into an automated cash book facility and the automatic reconciliation of incoming cash movements with payments. For that it is important that we are able to receive SWIFT information in a timely manner and that we are able to control that information through our systems to match those payments. That is something else that db-connect will allow us to do.”

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