by John Maitland, Financial Controller, Freight Transport Association Limited
As one of the largest trade associations in the UK with a long heritage of representing and supporting the logistics industry, the Freight Transport Association prides itself on the quality of the services it offers to members and its ability to represent them at a national and international level. In 2013, FTA took the decision to replace its Bacs payments solution that had been used for a number of years, prompted by withdrawal of support for XP-based solutions. In addition to replacing the functionality provided by its legacy system, FTA has used the opportunity of a new systems implementation to introduce enhanced capabilities which have resulted in more efficient, cost-effective payment and collection processes and a better quality of service to members.
Before initiating the project to optimise payments and collections at FTA, we had used a Bacs solution provided by Albany Software, which was later acquired by Bottomline Technologies. This solution had successfully met our needs for more than 15 years. However, over the past few years, we have gradually moved away from cheque-based collection of subscription fees to Direct Debits (DD). This resulted in an increase in manual processes as DDs were not managed automatically in the Albany Direct Credit payment software. Consequently, with limited resources available, we had moved away from weekly to monthly payment and collection and Direct Debit cycles which risked late supplier payments and cash flow issues resulting from infrequent collections.