ENPAY for ManCos/AIFMs: Automating Kartesia’s company payment processes for more control, security & efficiency
During the European Finance Summit on 1 December, we sat down with Marc Housieaux, Group Finance Manager at Kartesia, a privately-owned European specialist financing small and middle-market companies with more than €4.5bn of assets under management as per June 2022. He shared with the audience why Kartesia chose to automate its corporate payments with ENPAY and explained how the platform features, in collaboration with Finologee, solved the challenges related to its specific ManCo/AIFM context.
What is ENPAY? The CALIE use case
Jonathan Prince, CSO and co-founder of Finologee, started the fireside chat by giving some background on the development of ENPAY, whose initial definition of product requirements was done together with Crédit Agricole Life Insurance Europe (CALIE), one of the leading life insurance companies in Luxembourg. The company had pointed out a number of challenges related to B2B payments and mentioned that some banks were requiring faxes to trigger payments, which was no longer acceptable for CALIE in their digitalization journey. This was a wake-up call for Finologee, which led to the decision to develop this platform.
While ENPAY primarily targeted payments, it also covers securities and other assets today, and encompasses different layers of fraud prevention and a Peppol access point.
Who is KARTESIA and what were its challenges with company payments?
Kartesia is an independent and privately-owned European specialist financing small and middle-market companies. Its founding principle is to provide a flexible alternative to bank funding as the disintermediation of banks in Europe continues.
M.H.: At Kartesia, we are very invested in the digitalisation of finance. In the context of business payment transactions, we increasingly saw the need to streamline the corresponding processes. On the one hand, there were too many manual daily tasks, on the other hand, we saw the potential to automate and optimise the corresponding workflows.
The context: Around 10 tokens, 50 entities & 200 different IBANs
M.H.: While many different steps were required for the staff prior to releasing a payment, including faxes and signature scans, which was relatively inefficient and cumbersome, also one of our Managing Partners was heavily involved in authorising payments. For this, he had a bag with ten different tokens to approve transactions through various bank interfaces. This is to be seen in the light of the fact that
KARTESIA regularly makes payments to up to 50 entities with more than 200 different IBANs. Part of the reason for this is that the banks are relatively late to the game when it comes to digitalisation. We have also experienced a certain resistance from the banks to work with each other.
“He had a bag with ten different tokens to release transactions via different bank interfaces”
The advantages of automating company payment processes: Security, workflows, happier staff & financial control
M.H.: The digitalisation of our payment processes also goes hand in hand with greater security and more coordinated workflows, as manual steps are gradually being eliminated. This leads to fewer errors and the colleagues involved are also happy about this, because of course they don't want to bother with scanning and faxing these days. So, for us, automating these processes also has something to do with retention of the team in general.
Another advantage is the comprehensive financial control and overview of the balances of all our bank accounts. We no longer wanted to waste time not knowing exactly "where we stand" every morning. In the past, it often happened that we spent an hour or two wondering whether the money had arrived in the account or not. We can use these hours more efficiently.
What are the advantages of working with ENPAY and Finologee?
M.H.: What I particularly appreciate about working with the Finologee team is the co-creation mode in which we can work with them. The team is willing to adapt to our needs and special circumstances and also literally "breaks new ground" for us, i.e., when integrating new partners into the processes. The team is approachable and open-minded, and it is never difficult to reach the right contact person – something we have unfortunately not always experienced in the past with other providers.
“This is why we have also worked with other providers in the past to streamline our payment processes but encountered some difficulties because we lacked the possibility of flexible co-creation”
How does the platform address your payments-related challenges and needs?
Aggregated view per user
M.H.: One of the elements we really like about ENPAY is the "My Accounts" bar item. It is the go-to place to get a quick overview of all our bank accounts and gives us much better control over our assets than before – everything at a glance. The detailed view per account additionally gives us a quick overview of the account balance over time, access to all incoming and outgoing transactions and retrieval of account statements.
We work with several banks in Luxembourg, such as ING Luxembourg, RBS and RBC, Deutsche Bank in Germany and Société Générale in France, among many others. These are all big banks, and yet it was very surprising to see how reluctant they are at present to allow more automation for their corporate clients. For this reason, we have also worked with other providers in the past to streamline our payment processes but encountered some difficulties because we lacked the possibility to flexibly co-create. Thanks to ENPAY, our team can now work much more productively.
Workflows and approvals
M.H.: ENPAY provides a valid electronic signature for payment and counterparty authentication. Without using a multi-banking platform, connecting to each bank is very complex and the respective authorisations are time-consuming, as you can imagine. It also involves a lot of paperwork as we give multiple members of the finance team access to the accounts so they can connect to all banks at all times. However, it is also crucial to be able to customise the respective access rights. With ENPAY, this is very easy, and it is much more automated and secure.
Currently, we rely on Luxtrust for such authorisations, but eventually we will fully switch to ENPAY and the mobile app FinologeeAuthenticator for signatories to validate transactions and counterparties. ENPAY's validation workflows, which require hardly any manual intervention, are a big advantage for us in terms of risk management and efficiency.
Connectivity & flexibility
Flexible access rights and roles, complex workflow management capacity, a secure multi-factor authentication system and compliant audit/reporting capabilities provide a comprehensive gateway that encompasses all core banking payment functions via a single secure web interface or API.
Given the growing list of regulatory compliance requirements particularly around AML/CFT challenges, the platform also comprises features such as counterparty name screening and monitoring using blacklist and sanction lists. In this way, clients are enabled to tailor multiple layers of security based on regulatory requirements, ensuring higher levels of compliance at lower cost.
In addition, a Peppol access point is integrated into the platform, allowing electronic invoices to be sent to the Luxembourg government, public institutions and municipalities.
M.H.: What is great with ENPAY is that it can be integrated with any ERP, TMS, process or endpoint in clients’ environments. Accordingly, we have initiated the integration of the services of Yooz, our existing partner for invoice management, into the ENPAY platform. This process was straightforward and one of the strongest aspects that convinced us to work with the Finologee team - their openness to integrate any preferred solutions according to our needs.