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Павел Левской Финансовый директор РБ Лизинг, 2015

The role of business solutions in leasing companies’ development strategy

05.06.2007

Dmitry Kurdomonov, director of Homnet Leasing

Russian leasing market is being developed roughly, and the experts discuss the near-term outlook of this relatively young branch. According to one of forecasts, the rates of the leasing market growth will increase until 2010. In conditions of growing competition only the strongest will survive. Today the most significant factors of competitive capacity are affiliated regional offices, development of new programs for customers, speed of requests processing and application approval. And of course, the critically important points in this situation are defined business-processes, efficient cash flow management and a possibility to respond immediately to market changes. No need to mention that it is impossible without all-round automation

Automation is one of the most serious competitive advantages. Sooner or later every leasing company comes to the necessity of information system implementation. And faces with a number of questions. How to choose system? How to start an automation project? How to set the priorities? There is the only problem: simple answers don't exist. Let’s take a look at the key points that may help in choosing a system and may become a pledge of implementation project success.

The correct arrangement of automation priorities will define the consecutive information system development in leasing company. They usually call the following main sections of automation (from the viewpoint of leasing company business-processes):

  • front-office (from the first contact with customer to leasing contract signing);
  • middle-office (from contract signing to the first leasing payment);
  • back-office (leasing, credit and insurance portfolio management; payment discipline);
  • accounting.

Besides leasing companies often require the automation of finance management (planning, budgeting) and IFRS accounting.

Priority task in every leasing company is organization of back-office and accounts department work — the most resource-intensive business segments. Back-office and accounting are the main sources of analytic data and, in fact, the basis of information system. So back-office and accounting go first in implementation project.

The following implementation project phases depend on leasing company business strategy. The companies orientated on regional affiliated chain development and so-called «product» approach aim to increase the leasing service availability. Next step of project for such companies is front-office management system implementation. The leasing companies of «one client», concentrated on one or several large lessees, after back-office and accounting automation prefer to solve the problem of finance management and budgeting. Foreign companies’ representative offices pay close attention to IFRS accounting system implementation in order to send finance statements to central office regularly.

The choice of company’s IT-strategy development way is a problem to be thought over seriously. IT-strategy that fit in company’s development strategy will help to increase business efficiency. Incorrect IT-strategy will hinder business progress and finally may lead to loss of market position.

The experience of leasing companies’ automation shows that not all the ways of IT-strategy realization are successful. Here are some poor choices.

First way: using «1С:Accounting» for local accounting and MS Excel for management. This combination was rather popular 2-3 years ago when there were no widespread business solutions for leasing. Of course, this case is not even a minimal level of automation, but such an approach allowed leasing companies to concentrate on business development and not to put the resources in «dubious» automation.

Second way: custom or «self-developed» system implementation. Maybe the only advantage of custom software solution is its perfect conformity to company’s requirements. But this advantage vanishes when company «outgrows» from system functionality. And evident disadvantages are company’s dependence on developers’ team and lack of system development prospects.

Third way: local accounting automation by «1С:Accounting» and management automation by solution based on Western platform. Main defect of this approach is that accounting and back-office are automated in different systems. For leasing companies such a separation is rather relative because much information is common to these business segments. As a result here goes a «double input» problem and a number of questions: how to solve the integration problem, how to separate employees’ responsibilities and, finally, what to do if data from two systems differ?

Fourth way: leasing company all-round automation by high-capacity Western system. This is the usual way of foreign companies’ representative offices. The advantages are evident: integrated infomedia, all kind of accounting in one system, implementation of Western experience. There are also some disadvantages: long term of implementation (1-2 years at the minimum) and need to adapt westernized accounting to Russian specificity. Besides here is the statistics to remember: at about half of all automation projects meet with failure.

Fifth way, or to be more exact, several rather exotic ways: implementation of separate finance management system, not integrated with another programs, WEB-applications, etc. It’s evident that these ways have no any prospects at all.

As a rule all the IT-strategy development ways above have no positive results. But it’s not a reason to renounce the automation. Successful IT-strategy development ways do exist: many leasing companies are already using the automation system.

Particularly one of the ways that guarantees success of information system project is leasing company automation by «Homnet:Leasing» solutions. The first step on a way to success is accounting organizing at the expense of back-office and accounting automation. And after the first results — further system development using stage-by-stage implementation method: according to priorities next step may be automation of front-office, finance management or IFRS accounting. The efficiency of this approach is proved by more than 70 leasing companies’ experience.

Whether you choose one way of automation or another it’s very important to remember that correct IT-strategy would bring an appreciable benefit to company at least in six months after the start of information system implementation project.


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