To avoid wasting staff resources on menial tasks, financial services firm AXA opted for an automated bill payment system.
AXA purchased Fee4Advice (or BillSecure Plus) from CommSecure as an in-house, Web-based solution to automate payment processing and the input of client data.
Simon Wallace, AXA national compliance and advisory service manager, said the company trialled an 'official AXA' pilot program through its network of 1000 advisors to customize the application.
"We asked about 10 of our fee-for-service partners around Australia 'What [system] do you want and how do you want to use it?' Then we used a lot of their input to build our system," Wallace said.
The entire process, including rollout, took about nine months. The system, which has now been operational for three months, is used by all AXA financial planners and advisors.
Wallace said the program, used under licence for about $30,000, allows real-time automatic fee deduction and payments between accounts and immediate access and updating of client details. This is in addition to the option of credit card payments or Bpay transactions.
"Staff put in client details, put in banking details, hit submit and everything is done; it basically works by a set-and-forget system and has a client invoicing component," he said.
"We can see how many clients we have on Bankcard, or how much money is coming through at any given time, or how many clients have been paid in the last month - all of which can be done in real time."
He said support staff can now work in other roles which saves money and improves efficiency.
"We used to literally have staff processing this data themselves; now we can free up support staff and allocate them to other roles," he said.
"The advisor pays small transaction fees for credit card use, which probably amounts to about $300 year, whereas before we had to pay for dedicated staff.
"Also, payment decisions can now be made on a comparative advantage basis, where clients can pay for advice by commission or from their own resources."