Part of Boston-based FleetBoston Corp., BankBoston Argentina is one of the largest financial institutions in Argentina. With 101 branch offices within the country, BankBoston Argentina services more than 700,000 clients with a variety of financial products. As the company's operations grew, it realized that it would soon face problems managing the wealth of information that it has on its customers, mainly wholesale commercial clients.
In 2001, the Finance Division at BankBoston realized it was facing a serious problem with an accumulation of information that couldn't be analyzed quickly and accurately. It decided to improve its procedures by changing its software.
Other divisions of the bank were already using Business Assurance software from Vancouver, British Columbia-based ACL Services Ltd. "We needed to update the platform to be able to improve the performance and speed, as well as automate a greater part of the control processes," says Juan Ignacio Giulianelli, an assurance analyst with BankBoston Argentina. "We needed to manage our time in analyzing each case."
MOVING OFF OF EXCEL
BankBoston Argentina had been using Fox Pro, Excel and, to a lesser extent, Access. These applications had begun to show their age. In other cases, the out-of-date manuals hastened the upgrade. In addition, these software programs were not compatible with the different types of archives that the department used, such as newspaper databases.
ACL's software provides data access, analysis and integration reporting capabilities that can access all data, whether it is housed in mainframes, or in enterprise resource planning applications such as SAP. The software reads and compares data from disparate systems, allowing the source to remain intact for complete data quality and integrity.
Once the bank purchased the software, Giulianelli underwent 40 hours of training in November 2001. At first, he worked with the new software to discover how it could help overcome the bank's organizational challenges. The software didn't require any ACL adaptation since he was capable of "fine tuning" the software in order to continuously monitor his department's needs.
ACL software runs on a Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Windows-based platform and no hardware modifications were necessary. Once the application for the new software project was finished, the number of users began to expand. Today, there are several control analysts using the system.
"Mr. Giulianelli's innovative efforts have saved our company time and money," says Gabriela Garayar, manager of accounting and tax assurance, BankBoston Argentina. "As a result of his ACL application, we have saved 1,500 hours per year in report processing time and have standardized our most frequent control tasks, allowing us to conduct a more thorough analysis of our high-risk business areas." Furthermore, many reports that had been created manually are now generated through the new software.
According to Giulianelli, there are numerous features that make ACL's modular software important to the bank. "The speed of the process widely surpasses all other products with similar characteristics," he says. "The software is so simple to use that even people who are not experts in this area can use it. The software also contains many options that are very useful, such as statistics, which generate variables that can be entered later in the process with pre-established data. Individual files can be selected, combined and exported-such as Management and Countable Systems-and ACL exacts the differences between the balances of both systems for later analysis. Since the bank has branches all over the world, different monetary units can be generated with revaluation. Another key feature is that it makes one nighttime standardized report based upon all the tasks that are made daily."
Giulianelli believes the bank receives many key benefits from using this software. The automation of obtaining paper forms and archived information improves the confidence of the file-conversion process.
Furthermore, ACL software maintains successive versions of various data tables as they are transformed, which allows the bank to compare and merge these data tables as required, without worry.
This assures the uniformity of repeated tasks and eliminates mistakes that had been made by manual compilation of transactions. Now, employees have more time to make complete analyses for each case.
INSTITUTION: BankBoston Argentina, part of FleetBoston Corp. (Boston), $199.3 billion in assets.
BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Upgrade analysis and reporting software to improve efficiency and to handle growth in customer data.
SOLUTION: ACL Services Ltd.'s (Vancouver, British Columbia) Business Assurance software.
KEY QUOTE: "We have saved 1,500 hours per year in report processing time and have standardized our most frequent control tasks."
- GABRIELA GARAYAR
MGR., ACCTg./TAX ASSURANCE