Clair Taylor has been at Parseq for over eight years. She began her finance career at Deloitte where she completed her Chartered Accountancy qualification. She gained significant experience in audit and advisory at the big four firm and subsequently worked in various finance roles.
On a normal working day, Clair leads Parseq’s finance function. But today is a little different. She’s picking up the processing reins for one of Parseq’s international banking clients as she goes back to the floor.
Here Clair shares her experience, what impressed her the most and whether it will help her as the Head of Finance.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your back to the floor experience
A: My day was all focused on cheque processing. It started with training and note taking as I had a lot to learn. I also wanted to make sure I fully understood the entire process. From start to finish, I covered the initial receipt of cheques followed by batching, validation, barcoding, scanning, keying and sorting. All this happens prior to clearing.
For this particular banking client, we operate across six countries. This brings another dimension as cheques are processed with all different in-country deadlines and clearing houses.
It’s an intricate process that requires a lot of diligence, so I had to give it 100% of my attention.
Q: Did you learn anything new?
A: To be honest I learnt a lot. I didn’t realise how detailed the processing of cheques was but when you’re dealing with payments on such volumes and scale it must be thorough.
Parseq processes over 150,000 cheques every day and applies the process I experienced to every one of them. That is pretty good going given we have same day client deadlines.
I’m also proud that I learnt how to use the barcoding machine. A real accomplishment!
Q: What impressed you the most?
A: A few things really did impress me and that was a mixture of our people and technology. The software that we apply to cheque processing completely minimises manual input. The OCR technology captures the data automatically and therefore automation levels are around 97%. It was impressive to see it in action.
Secondly our people do a great job. Their attention to detail and support for each other is exceptional. They work extremely well together and collaborate to meet deadlines depending on volumes and client SLAs. They were also happy to help me on more than one occasion!
Q: Did you enjoy it?
A: I found it really rewarding. Spending a day learning an entirely new process under the remit of finance and then putting it into practice felt like a huge achievement. I’ll take a lot away from my back to the floor experience.
Q: Will you be changing roles any time soon?
A: Not sure they’d have me! No, I don’t think I will be, but it’s good to appreciate what our people do from the ground up. There’s no better way to develop your own knowledge than by getting stuck into what we do for our clients on a daily basis.
Q: How will your ‘back to the floor’ help you as the Head of Finance?
A: It will help me when it comes to understanding the management information (MI) at a more granular level. Now I know the process in detail, I can challenge the MI with confidence and make sure we’re on the right track.
I’m now looking forward to hearing how my colleagues also get on during their back to the floor. All of our senior leadership team are taking part this year so it’s definitely one to watch out for!
A big thank you also goes to our client processing team, and especially Johanna Longworth, for supporting back to the floor!