A Pragmatic Approach to Managing Change
by Franziska Kinzinger, Head of Accounting, and Uwe Hagen, Head of SEPA Project, CarGarantie
Leading international specialist car warranty company CG Car-Garantie Versicherungs-AG (CarGarantie) has substantial operations across Europe, including both euro and non-euro countries. In 2011, treasury recognised the substantial cost savings that SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) offered to CarGarantie as an international business with a high volume of cross-border flows. As Franziska Kinzinger and Uwe Hagen explain however, CarGarantie has also been able to leverage the SEPA migration project to rationalise cash management banking relationships, simplify electronic banking and enhance cash and liquidity management across the region. By establishing a close, pragmatic relationship with UniCredit, the company has been able to fulfil its cash and treasury management objectives within the mandatory SEPA timescales.
Treasury challenges and opportunities
We have a highly centralised finance and treasury function at CarGarantie based in Freiburg, while in-country operations are dedicated solely to sales and services. Until recently, when we embarked on our SEPA migration project, we worked with a variety of banking partners, leading to fragmentation in the way that we managed our cash. For example, we accessed account information through a variety of electronic banking systems, each of which had a different security mechanism. This offered us the opportunity to further optimise our processes and reduce complexity.
As CarGarantie operates in multiple European countries with a large volume of cross-border business, SEPA presented considerable opportunity to reduce our transaction costs and standardise payment and collection methods. In addition, we recognised that SEPA would enable us to rationalise our cash management banks, locate all of our Euro accounts in Germany and simplify cash management and electronic banking.