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Great Reconciliation Starts with Self-reflection
Richard Chapman | Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Reconciliations, FIS
February 22, 2020
Highly automated technology is absolutely vital for efficient, agile reconciliation. (Trust me, I’m a technology vendor.) But the success of any data integrity strategy relies on not only running the right reconciliation software, but also supporting it with the right operational processes and maintaining the technology over time. That can mean taking a long, hard look at your overall approach to reconciliation.
On the road to total data integrity, it’s useful to think about optimizing reconciliation in three key stages.
First, for faster time to market and consistent audit and control, you need to standardize your approach to creating and managing reconciliations – by developing common practices in areas such as reconciliation data management, access and approvals, and exception management.
Second, you should consolidate your business’s reconciliation processes. When you bring together disparate departmental reconciliations and manage them centrally with the same technology solution and a common team, you deliver economies of scale, simplify resourcing and make it easier to enforce standards over time.
Third, for maximum consistency, you must harmonize all your reconciliations, new and old. Even when processes conform to your defined common practices, the standards can be interpreted in different ways, leading to variations in data, workflow and reporting. This is particularly true for organizations that have developed their reconciliation strategy over a long period of time, between multiple management approaches and across changing teams and objectives.
Harmonization irons out the discrepancies to massively reduce administrative costs, improve performance and streamline your operating structure. This gives you the agility you need to update and improve reconciliations swiftly and frequently across the board.
The result should be an approach to reconciliation that is simple, smart and reliable, with less complex technology to manage, greater automation and cast-iron control.
Your choice of reconciliation solution will play a major role in hitting these objectives. Even more important will be your choice of service partner as you look beyond the technology and consider your broader strategy.
But when you’re assessing partners, don’t forget your part in the proceedings.
Today, we expect a lot from our reconciliation technology. According to a 2019 survey by Aite Group, the most important aspects of vendor solutions for users are overall usability, for 47 percent, and configurability (38 percent), followed by simple onboarding, data support, scalability and stability (all 26 percent).1
The good news is that leading reconciliation solutions can deliver all of the above – but only if you commit to continually getting the best from your investment. What is bleeding edge today can fast become obsolete or outdated in a year or two.
To accelerate through the key stages of your reconciliation journey and keep your systems simple, smart and reliable, you really need to make sure you are always on the latest version of the software and taking advantage of the newest features.
With technology evolving so fast nowadays, you’ll quickly find yourself losing serious opportunities to refine your data integrity processes and raise auto-match rates, with smart new technologies like AI.
A simple response is to move away from traditional project-based upgrade processes – and into the world of continuous delivery, through SaaS or managed reconciliation services. Why not work with a technology provider that makes regular upgrades, application management, business continuity planning and even the delivery of day-to-day reconciliation processes part of its service proposition? That way, you’ll always have the most advanced software on your side.
Whatever you decide, the needs of your data integrity and reconciliation processes will continue to evolve. So, make sure you can keep pace by considering your own role in the journey to true operational efficiency. It’s time to reflect – start redefining your reconciliation strategy today.1 Aite Group, Trends in Reconciliation Technology: AI-Trained Recs or Train Wrecks? September 2019