Connect with us

Business

A NEW VISION FOR GRANT MANAGEMENT REQUIRES FAMILIAR IT

Jack Perschke, Partner at Netcompany

 

At its very heart, the business of government is mostly about either taking in money or giving it away. Of course, that’s a simplified view but grant management is a large, important and complex area of government. Its raison d’être is to support policy objectives across government from education, health, rural affairs, innovation and research as well as abroad through international aid for public good.

It requires both process flexibility and mandatory security and monitoring to ensure safe case management and the payment of grants. And while the funding mechanisms, rules and scopes may differ, grant management is something nearly every department of every government does.

The challenges are familiar across governments too – with the need to improve the efficiency of grants administration, the effectiveness of the grant funding and reduction in losses from fraud driving innovation.

 

Grant management following exit from the EU 

While the Grants Management Function in the Cabinet Office is continuing with its ambitions to make grant management more effective efficient and safe, the UK’s exit from the EU is ensuring that grant management is rising up the agenda across many other departments as they re-think how grant funding can better support policy.

For farming in particular, the end of EU farm subsidies represents one of the biggest changes to farming policy in half a century. With the end of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Defra will assume responsibility for designing, implementing and managing its own domestic agricultural policies and schemes. And is now starting its 7-year transition towards a system that pays farmers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions.

Essentially, they are moving away from decades-old practices of funding based on land size, to instead reward farmers for work that only they can do – whether that’s ensuring the survival of threatened species or locking up carbon on their land. Work that benefits everyone in society.

This move will have to be both driven by long-term policy, and reactionary to need. Yet, the UK grant management function is underpinned by platforms and processes formed in the 1950s. Platforms that are clunky and rigid, and not realistically up to the job of delivering what government and society wants.

 

Innovate around proven solutions

If government needs to underpin a reimagined grants management function with a new platform to ensure it meets its ambitions, how should it do that? It could, in the established way, start from scratch and build something that might work. Yet we know projects often fail to deliver on time, exceed the budget, and do not provide the value promised. The alternative is to look at what others are doing. As we said before, the grant management function remains relatively the same from government to government, as do the challenges and aspirations to streamline processes and improve transparency.

With this in mind, wouldn’t it be better to adopt proven solutions that create agile, future-proof systems, based on open components that ensures full flexibility and the opportunity for ongoing innovation? Take this approach and government can spend 20 per cent of the effort getting 80 per cent of the way to the digital national scale grants solution they need. Why should Defra and the like build their own when suppliers have already delivered these proven solutions to other governments?

With little effort government can create a cutting-edge grant management system, own it and be responsible for it, leaving more space to innovate around the edges creating the impetus, through data-led funding and subsidies strategies, to create behaviour changes that will benefit society.

 

Business

THE EFFECTS OF JOB HOPPING ON YOUR RETIREMENT OUTCOME

By Neli Mbara, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes

 

Job hopping – defined as spending less than two years in one position –  is a very controversial subject. It can be an easy path to a higher salary but can also be a red flag to prospective employers, not to mention your future financial goals if you are cashing in your retirement fund every time you make a move.

When changing jobs, whether it be once a year or once every decade, one has to make decisions regarding career growth and retirement plans which affect one’s long term financial plans. One of these decisions is ‘what to do with my retirement fund?’

Neli Mbara

For many people, the first thing that comes to mind is using their pension money to pay off their debt. Alexander Forbes Member Watch statistics show that 91% of members do not preserve their retirement savings when changing jobs. As we are living in times where most household income is used to finance debt, most people use job hopping to gain access to their retirement funds, and use this money to pay off debt. However, a quick fix and instant gratification comes at a price, which in this case could be a delay in your retirement plan.

Your retirement savings are simply for that, your retirement, to pay you an income once you stop working.

 

Early access of your retirement fund can result in:

  • Not having enough money at retirement – this is simply because most of us are already not saving enough for retirement
  • Robbing yourself off the compound interest you could have potentially earned from the investment.
  • Never making make up for the lost benefit
  • Creating a bad habit that will delay you from achieving your retirement plan and desired income at retirement

It is easy to cash in your money from a retirement fund at resignation but it is much harder to make up for the lost benefit (capital cashed in plus interest). Calculations show that for you to make up the lost benefit depending on your retirement age and investment time horizon, you will likely need to invest more than double your contributions towards a retirement fund.

Since only 6% of the South African population are reported to have accumulated enough to retire comfortably, without having to sacrifice their standard of living, you will most likely have to invest much more towards your retirement fund to make up for the lost savings.

Therefore, leaving your retirement fund invested and preserved in a preservation fund is the recommended option when changing jobs, as this keeps you committed to your retirement plan.

Changing jobs is a life-changing event, and it is therefore important that you seek advice from a professional financial adviser who will guide you in your retirement planning ensuring that your retirement needs are taken care of, by providing solutions that help you to ensure your financial wellbeing.

 

Continue Reading

Business

DISRUPT TO SURVIVE IN FINANCIAL SERVICES, BUT BEWARE: YOUR TEAM MUST BE IN SHAPE FIRST

Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino

 

COVID is forcing extraordinary change in the financial services industry. It’s happening fast, already uprooting insurance, transforming payments and changing the way we interact with our customers across the industry.

But for the 4000 UK financial services providers who are at critical risk due to COVID-19, these tales of success should come with a warning. Disruption in the industry certainly won’t come overnight.

Only the most interconnected web of people, technology and culture can produce effective disruption at this critical time. Discover below the key trends we’re seeing in financial services, and how to upskill, empower and equip teams in order to create the organisational impetus for this transformation and disruption, in an industry known for its monolithic ways of working.

 

Top Technology Trends in Financial Services for 2021

As we enter another year of uncertainty, financial services organisations–and their customers–are looking for technology solutions that promise above all, flexibility.

Partnerships between retailers and payments companies that can deliver greater flexibility for consumers as well as increased reliability for retailers will boom in 2021. Even before the pandemic, we saw the flourishing of partnerships between retailers and Klarna, the ‘buy-now-pay-later’ online payment processing firm. With the impact of the downturn likely to continue well into 2021, add-on services that offer more options to support merchant resilience will be essential.

Many companies have embraced ‘fluid’ payment ecosystems capable of handling multiple digital payment solutions but only those capable of capturing data insights to drive their product innovation and sales strategies will reap the full benefits. Real-time user profiles, fraud anomaly detection and personalisation, are all enabling marginal gains for payment providers that will differentiate them from competitors in 2021.

 

But don’t run before you can walk

Before businesses can jump on new technology trends however, it’s critical to ensure they have an innovative culture in place. This will form the foundation for effective disruption. Here are my four tips for building a solid foundation.

1)    Focus on data, with the customer at the centre

Customer experience is the central element to all disruption in the financial services today. Respond in real-time to customer queries. Better still, anticipate the customers’ next need before they’re even aware of it. All of this is made possible through a connected view of data.

Businesses should continue to embrace technologies such as AI and ML to harness customer insights and respond to customer needs–whether that’s approving a loan or recommend a new offer.

From answering customer queries and personalising banking experiences to revenue accounting and trade settlement dashboards, advanced data capabilities will continue to be critical.

 

2)    Be realistic about what your team can achieve–and up-skill if need be

In my own work, I’ve seen that digital transformation is most effective when it factors in the abilities of the existing team–but that doesn’t mean leaving them on their own.

First, collaboration is key. IT and data teams must form internal partnerships in order to get plugged into the business side of things. Critically, they must be present in the boardroom. For many years, those with technical skills have been left out of planning meetings. But their knowledge is absolutely critical, especially when it comes to choosing the right tech stack to enable innovation.

If it becomes apparent that the team is lacking in the necessary tech capabilities, outsourcing is extremely valuable. But beware: it is essential to focus on building up internal capability in order to create long-lasting change–and scrimping on the upskilling for cost reasons will only result in greater expense. Bring in fully trained teams to both implement tech and upskill to foster stronger teams internally.

 

3)    Enable innovation in a worry-free environment

In order to remain competitive in the modern marketplace, and to ensure long-term survivability, financial services organisations must transform their business models to focus on digital innovation and customer expectations.

It’s no secret that the cloud enables organisations to innovate at speed and scale. However, before teams can get stuck in, it’s crucial to ensure they have safe cloud environments in which to explore and innovate.

Developers must be given the freedom to evaluate new technologies and to make any necessary changes to enable rapid creation of business value. Having this flexibility and foresight when implementing and rolling out your public cloud solutions means that ideas can truly come from anywhere in the organisation.

 

4)    Don’t just get the cloud, get the cloud right

The adoption of cloud is now widespread, but those who can optimise it will be reaping the rewards in speed, efficiency and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. Cloud shouldn’t just be a platform to build in–it should help to inform decisions and facilitate new ways of working, ultimately producing something greater than the sum of its parts. Building out cloud-native engineering, culture and operating models will future proof the capability of financial services organisations.

Finally, cloud capabilities should be rolled out right across the organisation. Contino research shows that, while 77% of organisations have adopted the public cloud, only a tiny proportion have actually scaled this out across the organisation. To do so means you’re able to share data across every department, to every person, creating a data-driven culture which will hugely benefit all decision-making going forward.

 

Prepare the ground and seeds will grow

Disruption is achievable for every financial service organisation in the UK market today – yes, even legacy brands. But the saving grace for those that are struggling at the moment needn’t be the debut of an exciting new product or pipping a competitor to the post with a partnership. It will be the construction of a collaborative and creative culture from which innovative ideas can grow – without being choked by unavailable data, the fear of upsetting day-to-day operations, or restrictive team structures. Innovation is what will pick today’s struggling financial services providers up and get them out of danger.

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Banking2 days ago

WHAT BANKS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OBSERVABILITY

By Abdi Essa, Regional Vice President, UK&I, Dynatrace   More aspects of our everyday lives are taking place online –...

News2 days ago

FINANCIAL SERVICES MUST FIX THEIR MISSED OPPORTUNITY AS CONSUMERS DEMAND MORE ENGAGING DIGITAL EXPERIENCES

Less than one-third (30%) of consumers believe the Financial Services firms they interact with now deliver a better digital experience...

Finance6 days ago

FINANCIAL INCLUSION WITHIN DIGITAL PAYMENTS

NICK FISHER, GENERAL MANAGER, SALES AND MARKETING UK, JCB INTERNATIONAL (EUROPE) LTD.   The shift towards an economy that removes...

Business6 days ago

THE EFFECTS OF JOB HOPPING ON YOUR RETIREMENT OUTCOME

By Neli Mbara, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes   Job hopping – defined as spending less than two years...

News6 days ago

VIRGIN MONEY EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH FINTECH LIFE MOMENTS

Virgin Money is expanding its partnership with FinTech data expert company, Life Moments, to focus on the development of the...

Finance6 days ago

THE MAJOR CHANGES SET TO RESHAPE THE WORLDS OF FINANCE AND FINTECH IN 2021

By Michael Magrath, Director of Global Regulations & Standards at OneSpan    2020 was a formative year for the world of...

News6 days ago

FORMER HSBC COO JOINS BOARD AT REGTECH DISRUPTER

Andy Maguire takes seat on Napier’s Advisory Board   Fast growing RegTech company, Napier, which provides next-generation anti-money laundering (AML)...

Business7 days ago

DISRUPT TO SURVIVE IN FINANCIAL SERVICES, BUT BEWARE: YOUR TEAM MUST BE IN SHAPE FIRST

Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino   COVID is forcing extraordinary change in the financial services industry. It’s happening fast, already...

Banking7 days ago

NEARLY HALF OF BUSINESSES NEED MORE ASSURANCE ON DATA SECURITY TO ADOPT OPEN BANKING

Financial services businesses in the UK and Netherlands call for better education, training and increased guidance on data security issues...

News7 days ago

THE FUTURE OF THE UK’S FINANCE FUNCTION

By Ryan Demaray EMEA MD for SMBs at SAP Concur   With businesses feeling the pressure of both the pandemic...

Finance7 days ago

BUDGET 2021: PREDICTIONS

The spring Budget announcement is next week, with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak set to reveal new measures on March 3. After...

Banking7 days ago

CAN SELF-SERVICE BANKING SAVE THE BANKING INDUSTRY?

Mark Aldred, Banking Specialist at Auriga   2021 should be about making the lives of customers easier by tailoring the...

News7 days ago

FINANCIAL HEALTH PLATFORM LEVEL SECURES LANDMARK ESG DEAL WITH TRIPLE POINT

First-of-its-kind credit facility will incentivise Level to drive positive financial behavioural change for UK employees   Level Financial Technology has...

Finance7 days ago

FORECASTING FINTECH IN 2021

Fady Abdel-Nour, Global Head of Investments and M&A at PayU   2020 will go down in history as a pivotal...

Finance7 days ago

2021 — THE YEAR FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES WILL NEED TO DRASTICALLY RETHINK THE WAY THEY MANAGE DATA

By Douglas Greenwell, Head of Commercial Strategy, Duco   There’s no denying that 2020 was a year of historic change...

Wealth Management7 days ago

HOW DO YOU ADAPT YOUR INSURANCE PRICING STRATEGY IN THE FACE OF INCREASED PRICE COMPETITION?

By Ketil Kristensen, Senior Advisor, Insurance, SAS   Many countries in Europe have in previous years experienced increased price competition...

Business7 days ago

THE CHANGING ROLE OF TODAY’S CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

By Laura Wiler, Vice President, Finance and Business Operations at Sage Intacct   The CFO role is changing. Today, the...

Banking7 days ago

DATA: THE MUCH-NEEDED PROCUREMENT ADRENALINE SHOT, HELPING BANKS REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN THE RACE FOR INNOVATION

By Toby Munyard, Vice President, Efficio Consulting   Like a flip-switch, the pandemic saw many industries pushed over the innovation...

Finance1 week ago

2021 FINANCE SPEND PREDICTIONS

by Andrew Foster, VP Consulting EMEA, AppZen   As we enter a new year filled with ongoing change and uncertainty,...

Business1 week ago

FIVE PITFALLS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MUST OVERCOME DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Andy Campbell, global solution evangelist at FinancialForce   The pandemic’s impact on the global economy has, and is continuing...

Trending