Keeping a hawk eye on a company's finances
Cost-saving consultancy can help businesses get to grips with convoluting banking structures
All companies working in Ireland today, whether they are big or small, have had to learn to perform the same work in much leaner times.
Bankhawk Analytics offers cost-saving consultancy through high-powered technology to large organisations with convoluted banking structures. Sounds like a recipe for success in a climate when cutting costs is a priority.
After five years in business, it has achieved relative success and has some major clients including the Health Service Executive (HSE), Aer Lingus and Allianz.
It is part of the MBAI mentorship programme and is currently being mentored by Ken Greene, COO of Byrne Wallace Solicitors.
“They have a very good model, but the trick is to convert one off business into relationships that lead to repeat business,“ says Greene.
“How do you convert their technology and expertise so that it could be sold on to an accounting practice, or organisation with a large number of bank accounts? And how do you price that?”
The other big issue Bankhawk has relates to the people who they are selling to. “Ultimately it is the financial director who would make the call on hiring in outside consultancy for something like this,” says Greene.
“But then they might go and talk to their guy in charge of treasury and finance and realise this is going to expose them for not already being on top of this. In other words, how do you show the company the potential savings while also keeping the CFO on side?”
It depends on the size of the company. “A service which offers large companies the chance to consolidate their funds through different service providers to make sure the company pays minimum transaction charges, is a fantastic idea,” says Dr Stephen Kinsella, lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick.
“If they do it properly Bankhawk will be rich. But if you already have a corporate treasury department, you shouldn’t need this service. You shouldn’t have these problems at a very high level. It should be ‘Bob in accounts’ job to solve it. You’re talking about outsourcing Bob.
“However, this service could be very useful for medium- to large-sized companies without the resources to focus in on such areas. Medium-sized companies have accountants and treasury departments but they won’t have people whose job it is to actively manage the flow of funds around the business.
“In essence, Bankhawk brings in multinational clout at a medium-sized level. So a company with say 40 employees and a turnover of €20 million a year might be able to increase their cash flow significantly with a service like this.”
The sensitive areas of data protection, client trust and technological reliability present their own issues also.
“I can only assume that there’s quite a lot of skepticism out there from people wary of outsourcing their sensitive cash- flow information,” says Kinsella.
“If these guys are running algorithms and storing sensitive data, what do they do with that data? There may be important information my competitors might like to see. If I were in a high-growth industry, I can’t have my cash flow outsourced anywhere else.