By Maximilian Clarke

Pressure to slash costs in UK banking operations has never been more intense.

Leading banks have responded to a need for operational efficiency by committing to reducing costs across the board with widespread job cuts and stricter rules on travel and entertainment expenditure; right before the lead up to Christmas.

Many have announced they will not subsidise Christmas parties and other end-of-year entertainment. Banks are committed to scrutinising even the smallest of expenses; with newspaper subscriptions and pot plants among the items up for review.

Cutting costs to this degree can be challenging for finance officers within investment banking operations, where smaller expenditure can often go unnoticed due to the disparity and magnitude of the different divisions within the organisation. CFOs across the banking sector are increasingly looking to enhance visibility and transparency of costs to enable them to make better informed decisions when making cost cuts of this scale.

Project Brokers, a global business intelligence consultancy specialising in QlikView software, is enabling banks to make better, faster sense of their data with innovative applications such as its expense management app, which maximises visibility of employee expenditure on travel, entertainment, business information services and telephony. The technology enables the extraction and consolidation of expense data from multiple vendors and sources into a user-friendly, interactive dashboard. The result is a holistic overview of the data that empowers managers to accurately pin point employees who are spending excessively, to effectively manage multiple vendors and expose anomalies and inaccuracies in their expense data.

“Cost-cutting campaigns are top of the agenda for the vast majority of our banking clients,” says Daren Cox, CEO of Project Brokers. “Cost reduction, however, is a different philosophy to cost efficiency. It is cost efficiency and value for money that should be the focal point of the overhaul of the banking system. To save money in the long term, it is important to invest in the appropriate tools and technology in the short term. Banks aren’t trying to remove their discretionary spend, but are looking to reduce it significantly. They need to ensure funds are focused on the areas with highest impact on clients, employees and the community.

“In our opinion visibility is half of the problem. We often find trends in high-volume, low-cost spend that would go unnoticed. New ways of looking at this data allows a clearer understanding of the full picture, providing the ability to reduce inefficiencies like policy breaches and focusing on the things that matter.

“We are enabling our clients to reduce their direct line expenditure by between 10 and 20 % by handing them the right tools to make crucial savings at a time when cost reduction has never been more essential. Our expense management application is designed to help CFOs tighten their belts by keeping closer tabs on unnecessary employee expenditure and maximising budgeting strategies and operational efficiency.”

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