Halfway wasn’t enough: International Personal Finance turns to Diligent Boards
International Personal Finance plc aims to promote financial inclusion by offering small, unsecured, short-term cash loans, ranging from £50 to £1000 over six to 12 months. It provides a flexible and manageable financial service, including home credit and small finance loans, to people of moderate means. The company has 30,000 employees worldwide and 2.4 million customers across eight countries.
The board of International Personal Finance meets every two months. In the past, the Personal Assistant to the CEO would spend up to three business days preparing the papers for each board meeting. Extensive administrative work, including hours of printing, re-printing and binding, was required before board materials were sent to board members in advance of meetings.
Things weren’t much better for the directors. As Steve Bean, UK Services Manager, International Personal Finance Limited, said: “I met one director as he made his way to a meeting. He was carrying a thick pack of paper around with him, which weighed about 3 kilos. I realised we needed to find a better solution.”
Apart from the cost of creating paper board packs, the company wanted to reduce the volume of paper being used. Steve said: “International Personal Finance is committed to environmentally friendly practices throughout the business, and has won a number of awards in this area. We needed to cut down on paper in the boardroom.”
In addition to finding a digital solution which would save both time and money with its highly confidential board information, the company also wanted a provider that would meet or exceed its enterprise security standards.
With both security and usability in mind, International Personal Finance conducted an extensive review of electronic board portals – a digital version of paper board packs, with enhanced features such as voting rights, access control and annotations. The Diligent Boards™ solution met all its requirements. “We needed an app that was easy to use on an iPad, yet had rigorous security,” said Steve. “Some solutions looked appealing, but as they were based entirely on third-party software, we were worried about possible bugs and issues with updates. Our head of security examined and approved Diligent Boards for the secure platform it provided, and was completely happy.”
All the company’s administrators received onsite training and manuals at the start of the transition to Diligent Boards. Steve said: “Training for directors and non-execs was a challenge because they’re scattered all over the world. Some didn’t have time for physical training but Diligent really stepped up and took care of everything, training them by phone at a time that suited them. Training was very slick and our account manager at Diligent was brilliant, liaising with all our users and sorting out their training needs. They really did offer a platinum service.”
International Personal Finance has seen a significant reduction in administrative expenses since switching to Diligent Boards. But as Steve said: “We started this process as a way to drive down cost, but actually usability and security have become far more important to us.”
“The response within the business has been fantastic,” Steve said. “Our board members love Diligent Boards. It’s simple, and it stops them having to carry kilos of board reports around. It’s a much more efficient system.”
The company has also calculated that Diligent Boards has saved the CEO’s PA approximately 10% of her time annually, and has reduced the company’s carbon footprint.