Momentum builds to industry awards

Professionals from across the industry have begun to claim their packs to enter this year’s Credit Excellence Awards, in association with Esendex.

Packs are now available showing how you can easily apply for the industry’s awards programme, where the judges will choose from the very best in the industry.

Stephen Kiely, editor of CCRMagazine, said: “It is always a hugely exciting time as professionals start to request Application Packs. If you are proud of yourself, your team, your product, or your service, I would heartily encourage you to make an application.

“This has been a challenging time for so many in the industry, as well as our wider society, so I feel that it is particularly important that we should honour the good practice that goes on throughout the industry. Every day credit and collections professionals work hard for their customers, and the Credit Excellence Awards allow us to recognise that.

“I hope the Virtual Awards Ceremony, in June, will be an opportunity to mark and recognise all that is good in the industry – and that can only happen if professionals put themselves.”

The Credit Excellence Awards are unique because applications for each category are open to the whole range of the industry in those sectors. So you can apply if you are an individual credit professional, a team, a consumer or commercial creditor, or a supplier company, or a product.

Previously, the judges have looked for a range of key characteristics from winning entries, including:

  • Truly exceptional behaviour.
  • Business leadership.
  • Professional excellence and processes.
  • Real results.
  • Industry innovation.
  • Customer focus.
  • Social responsibility.

To claim your Application Pack, and to apply free of charge, please contact Stephen Kiely at stephen@ccrmagazine.co.uk.


About Esendex
Esendex is very proud to be sponsoring the Credit Excellence Awards 2021, which celebrate innovation, responsible lending, safety and customer support. Esendex provides the communications and mobile payments technology that underpins many successful debt recovery campaigns. The most successful campaigns bring together technology, empathy and flexibility in a way that supports customers and creditors alike, and we’re really excited to see this year’s entries. www.esendex.co.uk

Comment: “Wholesale shift to digital solutions needed” to prevent £200m of property fraud

Following the publication of a report by the Solicitors Regulation Authority board which says suspicious activity worth £200m was reported to NCA last year, Martin Cheek MD at SmartSearch commented: “Since the outbreak of the global pandemic we’ve been aware of an increase in money laundering activity and the property market has been the prime target for criminals.

“Fraudsters have always considered house purchases as an effective way to launder cash but this has been exacerbated by the gaps in security that have opened up in the past 12 months due to an end to face-to-face meetings with new customers.

“Conveyancers and brokers have been relying on manual methods of ID verification which have involved taking a photo of a passport and sending on email, which is an open invitation to criminals with the ability to make sophisticated forgeries.

“The Solicitors Regulation Authority says that the increase in fraud is down to better awareness and reporting, but there has undoubtedly been an increase in criminal activity in the property market since the pandemic.

“Looking ahead, if the sector is going to prevent fraud and money laundering more effectively, there needs to be a wholesale shift to digital solutions for ID verification, which are more accurate, efficient and compliant with FCA guidelines.

“It’s no longer good enough to rely on manually checking over hard documents when they can so easily be forged and allow fraudsters into the process through the front door.”

HighRadius Raises $300M Series C at $3.1 Billion Valuation to Accelerate Growth in Order-to-Cash and Treasury Markets

HighRadius, the Artificial Intelligence-powered Order-to-Cash, and Treasury Management software leader, has raised $300 million in a Series C round at a valuation of $3.1 Billion. The investment was led by D1 Capital and Tiger Global with participation from existing investors ICONIQ Growth and Susquehanna Growth Equity. The round also included investments from tech industry leaders, Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO of Snowflake, Michael Scarpelli, CFO of Snowflake, Tooey Courtemanche, CEO of Procore Technologies, and Howie Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Airtable. The new capital will be used to fuel product innovation and expand global go-to-market reach.

The HighRadius AI-powered platforms for Order-to-Cash and Treasury Management help more than 600 clients, including more than 200 of the Forbes Global 2000, optimize their working capital. HighRadius was recently named to the Forbes Cloud 100 and identified as a Leader in both the Enterprise and the Mid-Market editions of the IDC MarketScape for Accounts Receivable Software.

Sashi Narahari, Founder and CEO of HighRadius, said: “We are excited to have D1 Capital Partners and Tiger Global join our existing investors, Susquehanna Growth Equity and ICONIQ Growth. Our goal has always been to build a long-lasting business that outlasts all of us. I look forward to working with such high-quality long-term investors who share a common vision of transforming the Office of the CFO using a combination of Artificial Intelligence built on top of connected finance workspaces and embedded analytics.”

“Our mission at D1 is to back visionary entrepreneurs as they solve large, pressing problems,” said Daniel Sundheim, Founder of D1 Capital Partners.  “Offices of the CFO have historically relied on antiquated, analog processes and infrastructure to manage their accounts receivable and treasury functions. HighRadius is a clear leader in driving digital transformation in the Office of the CFO.  We have been impressed by Sashi and his team’s long-term focus and look forward to joining the company’s journey.”

“HighRadius is in the opening innings of defining the next big software market for the Office of the CFO,” said John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global Management.  “HighRadius bears all of the signs of being a ‘category defining’ business for Order-to-Cash automation.  We are thrilled to join the HighRadius team for the ride.”

HighRadius was advised by Atlas Technology Group for this transaction.

Time for “words to become actions” in AML

Following the head of the Financial Action Task Force claiming businesses need to change from ticking boxes for compliance’s sake, to risk-based compliance, John Dobson, CEO of SmartSearch said: “The comments from the head of the FATF are certainly positive. However, words need to become actions. All the tools are there to prevent money laundering, however we need willing from those involved to close the door on criminals.

“To fully shut the door, there needs to be a shift in attitudes. Anti-money laundering needs to go beyond just basic box ticking and must be taken seriously. Beyond the moral obligations of stopping criminals legitimising their money, studies have shown robust AML processes can actually increase the value of a business.

“The simplest solution for regulated businesses is to adopt electronic verification. The Government has made it clear that it backs the use of electronic verification, and it is high time digital processes were adopted. These will not only protect your business, they will save you time and money and most importantly stop money laundering at the front door.”

Three quarters of Brits do not trust online checks when buying a property

Despite heavy Covid restrictions forcing a lot of sectors to trade virtually, estate agents in the UK have been able to safely conduct in-person house viewings. This is perhaps unsurprising as online estate agents were far from prominent in 2020, with only held 8% of the market share.

However, with hybrid or online estate agents enjoying a 10% surge in trade, and a market growth of 2.7% in the last 12 months, research carried out by anti-money laundering specialists, SmartSearch, reveals three quarters (74%) of Brits do not trust property documentation to be handled safely and securely online.

The research also shows varying levels of consumer trust across banks when it comes to property documentation. High street banks, ranked in order of trust in their ability to handle property documentation safely, securely and entirely online are:

1. Handelsbanken (50%)
2. First Direct (44%)
3. Nationwide (32%)
4. Halifax (30%)
5. HSBC (30%)

Interestingly, half (50%) of people who bank with Handelsbanken said they would trust their property documentation to be carried out online. By contrast, those banking with Atom bank were the least trustworthy with none of their customers having confidence in their ability to process those important documents virtually.

Furthermore, the research revealed over half (59%) of people do not trust a mortgage application to be carried out safely and securely online either. Surprisingly, more than two thirds (68%) of those aged 18-24 years old said they would not trust their mortgage application to be carried out online, compared to 45% of those aged 35-54 years old.

However, despite an underlying lack of confidence in this process, 60% of those banking with First Direct and 50% of those banking with Nationwide said they would trust their mortgage applications to be carried out online.

John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, added: “Buying a property online is very convenient, especially during the current climate where people may be worried about conducting such transactions face to face. However, it is a big shake up to the industry and consumers alike. The last year has forced many of us to adapt to digital or automated services, but it seems the property market has some work to do to instil confidence in their consumers.

“While online estate agents are on the rise, they need to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to communicate trust to their customers, putting the right systems in place to make the process of buying and selling property online as safe and secure as possible. We are certainly seeing steps being taken to achieve this, with the introduction of the new conveyancing taskforce set to tighten up procedures for customers and lawyers.

“Our Trust Barometer tool pulls live Twitter sentiment towards high street and digital banks, highlighting how well banking institutions are trusted when it comes to handling important identity documentation online, and it’ll be interesting to see how this fluctuates as the virtual house market and banking sector continues to grow.”

HighRadius Partners with Sage To Provide End-to-End Accounts Receivable Automation

HighRadius, a fintech enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company specializing in automating the order-to-cash and treasury management processes, today announced a new partnership with Sage. As part of the agreement, HighRadius has integrated RadiusOne A/R Suite with the Sage Intacct cloud financial management system and made it available in the Sage Intacct Marketplace.

RadiusOne A/R brings the power of enterprise-leading AI-powered solutions to midsized businesses. With simpler user experience and faster time-to-value, RadiusOne A/R offers an eInvoicing & Collections App, Cash Reconciliation App, and Credit Risk App to help mid-sized businesses leverage accounts receivable automation technology to overcome their biggest challenges in working capital optimization.

As mid-sized businesses look for sophisticated accounts receivable solutions to continuously monitor the risk of their entire customer portfolio and perform effective collections, RadiusOne A/R squarely fits into their finance digital transformation agenda. RadiusOne A/R Suite’s differentiated approach with pre-loaded configurations based on industry-specific best practices helps midsized businesses automate their accounts receivable processes in a few weeks with minimal IT intervention.

“RadiusOne A/R Suite is built to automate clerical A/R processes for mid-sized businesses and reduce the friction for supplier A/R teams to digitally collaborate with their buyers and A/P teams,” said Sayid Shabeer, Chief Product Officer, HighRadius. “This partnership allows Sage Intacct customers to unleash their full potential by integrating with market-leading accounts receivable automation solutions from HighRadius.”

“The A/R process for many midsize companies can be tedious, manual, and often very time consuming,” added Melody Williams, Sage’s Head of Business Development for Sage Intacct. “HighRadius shares our goal of streamlining and automating financial processes for our customers. This integrated solution will help our joint customers reduce errors and free their finance team to do more value-added tasks to help grow the business.”

SmartSearch makes FT list of fast-growing European firms

Leading anti-money-laundering (AML) firm SmartSearch has made the latest Financial Times’ annual list of the fastest-growing European companies for the third year running.

The FT 1000 lists the European companies that have achieved the highest compound annual growth rate in revenue from 2016 to 2019. SmartSearch is ranked at 700, off the back of an absolute growth rate of 227.2% across the period.

According to the FT, Europe’s high-growth companies are facing another year of slower progress as the pandemic continues to limit business activity in 2021. This is reflected in the qualifying compound annual growth rate for the list which was 35.5 per cent this year, slightly lower than last year’s 38.4 per cent.

However, SmartSearch’s achievement as a fintech firm is mirrored in the wider list as technology firms dominate the rankings with a total of 290.

James Dobson, marketing director at SmartSearch said: “For the third year running this is a fantastic achievement for SmartSearch and all our dedicated staff.

“It is very much a reflection of our business performance last year as 2020 was a record year for SmartSearch, driven in part by the demand for our solution in light of the coronavirus outbreak, which of course dominated everything.

“But in our sector particularly, the need for protection against criminals taking advantage of the gaps that opened up in customer onboarding security and ID verification, was acute.

“We have achieved this result through a best-in-class product but also through our commitment to outstanding customer service. We have a 98% client retention rate which has provided a firm basis for the strong growth we have experienced in recent years.

“With our client numbers rising over the 5,000 mark in 2020 and expansion into North America now at full tilt from our office in Utah, we expect to continue to rise further up the rankings.”

SmartSearch comment – New Conveyancing Task Force should look to digital onboarding

Commenting on the launch of the new Conveyancing Task Force, John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, said: “The launch of this new task force for the conveyancing sector is a really positive move, particularly as one of their aims is to formulate and agree due diligence procedures.

“Top of the list of priorities for the task force should be stemming the tide of money laundering and financial fraud that has swept through the property market since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

“There is a simple solution at their disposal which is to accelerate the move to electronic verification (EV) across the conveyancing sector for onboarding new customers and complying with Know Your Customer (KYC) guidance.

“The Government has been clear on this point in recent months in terms of backing the use of EV, because it is much more secure and accurate in providing the true identity of a would-be house buyer.

“It is high time the outmoded method of manually verifying customer ID is made obsolete in favour of a digital process which protects your business, saves time and money and stops fraud at the front door.”

Debate and research project announced

CCRMagazine and HighRadius are set to produce a new virtual-round-table debate looking at the challenges facing professionals working in the order-to-cash cycle.

The debate will be preceded by a major research project which will, in turn, focus and add value to the discussion.

Stephen Kiely, editor of CCRMagazine, said: “We were very proud, last month, to announce our new partnership with HighRadius, which we intend to bring insight and learning to the industry; this is clearly a major first step on that journey.

“Order-to-cash is now an area of intense scrutiny and interest in the wider economy, as businesses realise the importance of protecting their cash positions. But is this giving the industry additional opportunities? And is it possible for professionals to make progress even against the backdrop of current world event? These, and other key questions will be at the heart of this project.”

To complete the research survey, go to: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZMC3TNC

SmartSearch reveals strongest financial results from 2020

SmartSearch, the UK’s leading anti-money laundering (AML) solution provider, has revealed 2020 was the most successful year in the company’s history, with double digit boosts in sales and profits.

The RegTech specialist, based in Ilkely West Yorkshire, was quick to react to the outbreak of the coronavirus, and subsequent rise in money laundering and financial crime, with enhanced products and new concepts to provide greater security for its customers.

Driven by increased demand for its user-friendly, ID verification system, the business saw sales rise by 13.5% over the course of the year and net profits up by almost a third at 28%.

In addition, SmartSearch brought on 840 new customers taking their total base to more than 5,000 client customers, with 45.000 users of its comprehensive, market-leading digital platform.

It was also the year that the firm, now in its tenth year, began to realise its ambitions for global growth by opening its first office outside the UK, in the U.S.

SmartSearch CEO John Dobson said that the success of the business has been down to the right combination of cutting-edge technology and exemplary customer service.

He added: “Clearly it was a year like no other and while we had been growing successfully year-on-year prior to 2020, the business really went up another level. As we said at the outbreak of coronavirus, an event of this magnitude will provide opportunities for unscrupulous criminals and professional enablers to commit fraud when collectively our guard is down.

“At SmartSearch we were able to respond to that demand very quickly and built new concept products such as the award-winning TripleCheck, which combines three highly sophisticated verification methods to set a new standard in AML security.

“But we also ensure our high standard of customer service is maintained at all times, with the focus on making the tech simple to operate for the end-user.

“The property sector has always been a prime target for money laundering and the pandemic exacerbated that because brokers and estate agents were still relying on manual ID checks when onboarding new customers, which is wide open to abuse.

“We developed the most robust and comprehensive verification system on the market, a one-stop-shop that provides a secure, digital solution. By moving to electronic verification there’s no need to meet people in person, which makes it efficient as well as covid-secure.

“By doing a smartsearch you get access to the most extensive databases in the world, with results back on individuals in just two seconds, and under three minutes for a business search.”