After becoming fully operational earlier this year, the Swaziland Financial Intelligence Unit (SFIU) was faced with the challenge of limited infrastructure and resources to capture and manage its data. Not only was the manual input required time consuming, but the propensity for human error was leading to a lack of reliable data.
Having researched and reviewed the top ten technology infrastructure solutions used both locally and internationally, the decision was unanimous to move ahead with SAP Business One, from 4most, as solution of choice.
Established by the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011, the Swaziland Financial Intelligence Unit (SFIU), a government agency responsible for the prevention of both money laundering and financing of terrorism activities, began operating as an independent organisation in February 2016.
“We receive reports from all accountable institutions within Swaziland,” explains Mlandvo Sikhondze, Head of Finance and Administration, SFIU. This includes banks as well as non-bank financial institutions, motor vehicle dealerships, lawyers and auditors, to name but a few.
“SFIU is then responsible for analysing the information provided, sending relevant reports to Swaziland’s law enforcement agencies,” continues Sikhondze. Further, any transaction above a certain amount needs to be submitted to the SFIU for review. With money laundering a global problem, international organisations are placing increasing pressure on countries to monitor its financial transactions.
After becoming fully operational earlier this year, SFIU’s first priority was to scope its exact requirements in terms of processes and policies in order to then automate as much as possible. “The first few months saw us operating almost exclusively on Excel, with no actual solution or technology infrastructure supporting us,” says Sikhondze.
Far from ideal, this had presented several challenges. Not only was the manual input required time consuming, but the propensity for human error was leading to a lack of reliable data. “We urgently needed an integrated technology infrastructure that could automate and manage our internal operations and processes from procurement right through to our own financial management and reporting,” continues Sikhondze.
Having researched and reviewed the top ten technology infrastructure solutions used both locally and internationally, SFIU narrowed it down to a short list of three. “To be honest, we hadn’t been aware of SAP Business One for smaller businesses,” says Sikhondze, having initially thought that SAP was only for larger enterprises.
With two of the three competing vendors invited to present, the decision was unanimous to move ahead with SAP Business One, from 4most, as solution of choice. “Together with its strong brand presence, we felt confident that the functionality and stability provided by SAP Business One was most suited to our requirements,” continues Sikhondze.
And it is a decision fast proving itself, with a smooth and seamless implementation in October earlier this year. “Having only begun operations in February, there was not that much data,” explains Sikhondze. “However, the process of going live was still a lot easier than we had envisaged.”
Sikhondze is as enthusiastic when referring to SFIU’s vendor of choice, 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP Business One and ERP software technology. “From our very first engagement, 4most has displayed complete reliability and hands on support,” says Sikhondze. “This has engendered in us a feeling of real partnership, despite the newness of our relationship.”
“At 4most, a large part of our focus and culture is on building long term relationships. It’s about working together to win,” says Marius Fabian, MD, 4most. As an SME, 4most has undergone its own growth and is thus able to understand its customers and the way in which they need to be supported. “It was clear that SFIU were needing structure as a business, with the relevant disciplines and processes.”
Although SFIU has only been operating on SAP Business One for a few weeks, Sikhondze is enthusiastic about the benefits already being experienced. “Before, we couldn’t keep track of any of our processes from procurement through to accounts payable or aging.” Now, SFIU enjoys the luxury of complete automation of processes, including a full audit trail.
Further, the functionality provided has eliminated the need to capture data in multiple places. Together with SAP Business One’s ability to track errors, and real-time reporting, this is not only saving SFIU valuable time but, most importantly, providing accurate and credible data.
“SAP Business One is doing exactly what it is supposed to do,” enthuses Sikhondze. “It enables internal processes and controls across our business and, in that, aids us in fulfilling our mandate. I have no doubt that it will grow with us, playing a pivotal role in helping SFIU mature as a business.”