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Nedbank invests in ‘Transparent’


Nedbank has automated its activity-based costing and transfer pricing
processes with the implementation of Cortell Business Solutions' Web-enabled
'Transparent' solution. The Company has successfully streamlined its
transfer pricing model for greater transparency, having a significant impact
on its profits, taxation and governance.

Cortell, a global provider of intelligent business solutions, has a proven
track record in the financial services arena and has already successfully
implemented a transfer pricing function and application at various large
South African financial institutions.
Nedbank identified a requirement for the implementation of an automated
transfer pricing solution throughout the Group. Although it was already
performing transfer pricing, it was experiencing many problems associated
with manual processes. The Company immediately compiled a comprehensive list
of problems to address the existing manual transfer pricing issues.
"To address these issues immediately, Nedbank decided to implement
Transparent as a fast cycle initiative (FCI) with a timeline of three months
for the end-to-end implementation of the software package. Regardless of the
strict deadlines and enormous pressure imposed on Cortell by Nedbank's
technical and business resources, the team delivered on all agreed
milestones within the proposed budget and timelines," says Neelan Pillay,
Nedbank Group Finance Project Manager for the implementation of Transparent.
From the list of problems, the team prepared a high-level functional and
process requirement document which would ensure that the application
selected would address their current concerns. They required a uniform
approach to transfer pricing in terms of naming standards, data integrity,
data format and timing. Furthermore, users had to be empowered, enabling
them to analyse and access transfer pricing data without being totally
dependent on information from various sources or even worse, identifying
changes in the general ledger afterwards.
Pillay says they required the necessary audit trails and controls over the
transfer pricing data and processes. "We needed a centralised repository for
transfer pricing data which would enable business units to produce MIS as
and when required from the underlying data. The existing manual processes
were a huge administration burden on the business units.
"Transfer pricing was handled in a somewhat ad hoc fashion, with different
service providers handling it in different ways, using different formats for
their invoices, and issuing invoices at different times. We needed a
uniform, consistent approach, to develop a transfer pricing culture that
would result in standardised procedures," he explains.
Transparent is fully Web-enabled, which means no software needed to be
installed. The entire implementation spanned over five weeks and included
infrastructure preparations where Nedbank had to source the necessary
servers for the implementation of the application.
The application is highly scalable, ensuring access to a large number of
users. Furthermore, the solution requires limited bandwidth which allows
Nedbank to provide countrywide access to all branches. The architecture
ensures that the presentation and business logic layers are separated from
the data layer which meant the solution could run on the Microsoft SQL
Server DBMS.
Pillay says Cortell's business and technical understanding was key to the
success of the project. "Cortell's project team had a wealth of experience
in terms of understanding Nedbank's business and its technical expertise
ensured the necessary customisation could be done. Cortell has a proven
track record, they have successfully implemented Transparent at various
large South African financial institutions.
Nedbank selected an enterprise-wide license option which means it has an
unlimited user license with no additional licensing costs and constraints.
Cortell also provided training to a large group of users throughout the
Group and all the documentation was customised. Documentation that was
customised included user manuals, administrator manual, training materials,
installation manual and Nedbank technical documents.
"Working with the Cortell team was an absolute pleasure due to their
professional ethic and and teamwork attitude," concludes Pillay.