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Save Time - Stay Connected
Financial websites, industry magazines, news feeds, professional journals, regulatory bodies - just some of the many sources of information that finance professionals need in order to keep fully informed and compliant with the latest regulations and guidelines. But with so much information available, how do staff get what they need quickly and conveniently? How do they sort through it all for the items of real importance or relevance? And crucially, how do you track who has been made aware of which announcement or development?
Developments in the offshore world can happen quickly, and once a ruling has been made, industry professionals need to respond immediately, or risk potential regulatory issues in the future. For staff, taking the time to thoroughly search relevant websites for anything which might be new takes up valuable (and potentially chargeable) time. However, there is also an issue here for compliance teams in that very often they lack the tools they really need, which would allow them to make sure every relevant announcements had been circulated to the right people, and the ability to remind those users if they hadn't been opened.
It is possible to put a ballpark cost on all of this lost time to businesses. If each member of a team spends just 30 minutes a day checking the internet for essential information, that totals 130 hours in a year - even at an hourly charge out rate of £80 that's the equivalent in lost billing time of more than £10,000 per person! Clearly, searching the internet can be a costly business.
But like most IT issues, where there is a problem, a solution is never that far behind and now all the information needed by Offshore Finance professionals is available at the click of a mouse. The key to this problem actually lies in collating it in a way which users can rely on (i.e. important announcements aren't missed), and then delivering it in a way which actually smoothes natural workflow, rather than disrupting it. And once a platform has been designed to do both of those jobs, there is the possibility that it can also be used to do much, much more.
Offshore Announcements has been specifically created to solve these important issues. It automatically searches an unlimited selection of industry websites and information feeds every hour and the websites checked can be updated by the compliance team at any time. It's specifically designed inbuilt filtering system ensures users only receive articles and information from trusted and selected sources, such as the OECD, GFSC, IOMFSC, JFSC, FATF etc. Notification of carefully selected news, regulatory updates and announcements is then sent directly through to each user's desktop or PDA. Should a user read an article or web page which is of particular relevance to another member of staff or department, they can simply recommend it to their group, with the entire track and trace functionality of automatically generated articles.
What's more, the system is tailored to make sure updates are sent to the right groups at the right time - for example they may choose to receive hourly updates, or simply be notified only once at a particular time of the day. Different groups will have different needs, so the compliance department or management team can select just what would be relevant for each team. One e-mail containing all the links a user needs is sent directly to their inbox, and they can then click through to read the actual articles. If something is updated, we will know within the hour - and so will our users.
Once the different user groups have been set up, our system will filter the relevant items for each one, and then update the group according to the parameters set by the compliance or management team; they can select which announcements are sent to whom, and the system will report if that item has been accessed; if someone hasn't opened an announcement they can be notified and reminded. The report created is legal proof that the organisation is keeping up to date with the latest regulatory and other relevant developments, and can be presented to regulatory bodies.
The power of the internet is taken for granted in modern life, but like most powerful machines, without a highly developed system of control, the raw power is useless. Modern IT has moved beyond simply opening up opportunities for users; it is now all about making it easier (and more cost effective) for people to actually use. A convenient and effective interface is universally demanded, and users today are intolerant of anything which is not intuitive and straight foward to operate. One of the biggest challenges facing IT developers therefore, is to be able harness the power of the internet and effectively translate it into a product which will be easy to use - while at the same time saving time and money. Offshore Announcements are confident that they have achieved this goal, the cost of which works out at just 13p per day, per user. Later this month the service month will be launching to the offshore finance community in the Channel Islands prior to it further taking it to a global audience later on in the year.
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