AramisAuto, the leading multi-brand automobile distributor, chooses Exalog
AramisAuto selected the Allmybanks solution from Exalog to manage its treasury and banking communication. Christophe Guilbert, Chief Accounting Officer, discusses this project and its results, as well as the group’s aims for the future.
Could you first tell us about AramisAuto?
AramisAuto was created in 2001 by Guillaume Paoli and Nicolas Chartier, the managing directors. It is a multi-brand automobile distribution company for private individuals, which operates over the internet, by telephone and in branch (Aramisauto.com). Today, the firm employs around 290 people. In 2013, our turnover was 330 million euros (+23%), with more than 30,000 vehicles marketed in France and Germany.
What is your position within the company?
I joined the company in 2010 as Chief Accounting Officer. At that time AramisAuto wanted to internalise the department, which was managed by an accounting firm. This formed part of a larger-scale structuring project for the firm, ten years after its conception.
How is the treasury department organised in your Group?
The accounting department that I run is composed of eight employees. We are organised in a fairly traditional manner around positions in accounts receivable, accounts payable, treasury and general accounts. The department reports to Mr Fargues, the firm’s Chief Financial Officer, who is also in charge of Management Control.
What criteria led you to choose Exalog’s software and what was the background to that choice?
Before approaching Exalog, AramisAuto used accounting software that allowed remittances to be transferred to banks using EBICS. Banking orders were confirmed by fax.
Our activity means that payment sare numerous and substantial (from 1.5 to 2 million euros daily). Therefore, when we decided to change our system, we wanted to develop our banking communication and adopt the digital signature (EBICS TS) in order to improve the security of our payments. Our accounting tool was not able to offer this, so we had to study the offerings of the publishers on the market.
We also needed an easily accessible solution, for the firm’s two signatories (the founders) operate from a separate site to that of the financial management, and they tend to travel a lot.
To conclude, with the opening of a first foreign subsidiary (Germany) and others on the horizon, we wanted to find a software package that permitted financial transaction management on an international level.
We contacted Exalog on the recommendation of our Chief Financial Officer, and made our final decision based on several different criteria: firstly, the accessibility of the proposed software, Allmybanks, and secondly, Exalog’s solution proposed advanced treasury management functions that would meet our future needs, therefore offering us the definite prospect of development. What finally convinced us was Exalog’s desire to support us in our projects.
How was Exalog’s Allmybanks solution deployed?
The implementation of Allmybanks began in October 2012 and was rolled out in stages.
Firstly, we worked on banking communication (receiving statements and issuing orders) and the remittance validation workflow. For the latter, we kept the same operating mode that we had made paperless. The two founders validate the remittances online, after which they are signed digitally by myself or Mr Fargues, the Chief Financial Officer.
Don’t the founders sign the remittances themselves?
No, they don’t. They both work on Mac computers, which, at the time the digital signature was put in place at AramisAuto, did not allow them to connect to 3SKey. Financial Management was therefore responsible for digital validation, and this practice has continued.
For three months our two directors have been using the Allmybanks iPhone app to validate banking orders. They are automatically notified by alerts on their smartphone when there are remittances awaiting validation. They are fully signed up to using this tool, as it suits their need for mobility.
What were the next stages in the implementation of Allmybanks?
The second project that we looked at was accounting reconciliation. Unfortunately, we had to bring a halt to our work as the data extracted from our accounting tool was not substantial enough to be integrated into Allmybanks for reconciliation. We are now waiting to change this tool in order to be able to relaunch the reconciliation project.
The final stage in implementing Allmybanks at AramisAuto concerns treasury management, previously managed in Excel, as we wish to manage our forecasts and actual transactions using transaction typology directly into the application. We started to train our teams just before the summer holidays. Our aim is to be operational with the treasury by the end of March 2014. Other projects have been launched in parallel (such as going paperless with expense accounts), which explains this rather long timetable.
How would you sum up the implementation and use of Allmybanks at AramisAuto?
I would say that we felt slightly isolated when we signed the EBICS TS contracts with our banks. The absence of an identical vocabulary between all of our different contacts probably slowed down the process. That is the only reservation I have.
Apart from that, relations with Exalog have gone very well. Their decision to involve us in the set-up has forced us to “get stuck in” right from the word go. This has allowed us to familiarise ourselves with the application quickly. I would also add that our Exalog consultant has always been available and quick to act, during both set-up and everyday use. It is great to be able to talk to somebody who understands your case. Finally, all our users agree that Allmybanks is a simple and intuitive tool.
How does AramisAuto intend to use Allmybanks going forward?
In the near future we want to integrate the management of our German subsidiary’s bank account opened at BNP Fortis Munich, which is to say to receive account statements and manage payments in Allmybanks (in SEPA format, local DTAUS or SWIFT MT101). Our aim here is to harmonise methods within the group, and rely on our secure solution to manage larger transaction volumes in order to support our growth in this country.
Another of our projects concerns the validation workflow, which we wish to develop (additional digital key, adding validators, etc.) Then we would like to take advantage of the depth of the tool and set up user rights in Allmybanks, as for the moment we rely on the good faith of the signatories and validators.
Finally, we would like to use the entire range of treasury management functions offered by Allmybanks, in particular interest scales on our bank accounts, security deposits, property leases, redemption dates of our loans, and exporting accounts to our accounting team.
In conclusion, our aim is to get the best possible use from the functions provided by Allmybanks, and to progress in our use of the software in order to aid the development of our Group.
Guillaume Lafarge, Chairman
Beyond AramisAuto’s general satisfaction following the introduction of Allmybanks, it is interesting to note how the mixed smartphone/signature key workflow offered by Exalog meets our customer’s requirements. We wanted to develop the Allmybanks Mobile application in order to respond to our users’ need for responsiveness in the current context of ever increasing mobility. Our customers have endorsed this new validation method that offers optimal security, despite the fact that it is currently impossible to use digital signature keys on smartphones.