The Co-operative Bank, formerly known as PSIS, is one of the longest serving financial institutions in New Zealand. The Bank is a co-operative 100% owned by its members, and its purpose is to provide a range of benefits to members to help them get ahead financially. With exciting changes afoot, The Co-operative Bank needed a new financial system that could meet a whole new set of demands as a registered bank.
As Peter Nicholson, Operational Risk Manager for The Co-operative Bank, explains:
“Our old GL system was written in LINC and was well past its use-by date. We needed a system that could handle day-to-day accounting processes effectively and efficiently, with the capacity to consolidate financial information from all areas of the business to deliver the best financial insight. Safeguarding our financials through a new up-to-date system was essential to ensuring our bank got off on the right foot.”
Ellen Cheyne, Financial Controller for The Co-operative Bank, highlights:
“Our old system, while still functional, was no longer capable of efficiently meeting the increasing reporting demands we would have as a registered bank. Our goals were to provide the wider business with greater accessibility to our accounting systems and have the flexibility to construct reports in a manageable way that was easy to share on a more regular basis.
“To meet our reporting requirements, we needed to produce external reports more frequently. Our old system required all journal entries to be manually entered, we were limited to printing to a text file or paper and new reports required a programmer to write them. We needed a system that could load information from multiple data sources, consolidate quickly and enable us to construct reports straight away, to suit any user’s need.
“Our Accounts Payable was also a manual-based process and was reliant on our colleagues returning their coded and approved invoices so they could be loaded into the system for payment. We now have real-time electronic visibility of all invoices and their status through the Creditors cycle. This ensures we have accurate financial information and that invoices are paid on time.”
The Co-operative Bank chose Microsoft Dynamics AX as its financial platform not only because it could support their growing needs but because it was Windowsbased – something their users were already familiar with. Ensuring staff could easily adopt the new system was especially important. To further extend the capability of the Dynamics AX platform, Atlas, MW Solutions and Forecaster were implemented to give staff the best reporting, budgeting and forecasting functionality.
Moving over to Microsoft Dynamics AX required integration of historical data and consolidating the other line of business: insurance. As Peter elaborates: “Intergen’s knowledge bank on Microsoft products is vast - and that gave us confidence. We followed the Sure Step Methodology which allowed us to see the process, from the beginning to end. We knew what needed to happen and everything changed over seamlessly.”
With a brand new name, The Co-operative Bank enters the registered bank market with all systems go. Ellen explains:
“Everything is now done in real time and we have greater financial visibility of our financial performance and position. ATLAS allows us to construct reporting at the touch of a button, meaning if our stakeholders require specific information we can get it to them straight away.”
“Our financial processes are now up with the play, all financial data is consolidated for reporting, budgeting and forecasting. AX safeguards our financial matters, meeting internal and external requirements and streamlining our financial duties. Overall, it helps us reach our goal of giving New Zealanders a co-operative bank that provides them the best financial outcome.”