Thomas Smith Group is a successful shipping and insurance firm headquartered on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Founded over 170 years ago by William Jennison Smith, the family-run business initially made its name as a strategic provider of shipping services. Since then, it has expanded into the adjacent markets of port agency services and insurance. The latter has seen growth in recent years, with the group providing cover for everything from marine cargo to commercial risks, motor vehicles and fleets, homes and belongings, individual and corporate healthcare, yacht and pleasure craft, and insurance for the travel world.
The B2B payments burden
Thomas Smith Group was looking to ease the burden of paying the numerous B2B suppliers on its books via inefficient cash and cheque-based processes, which are still favoured on the island. These legacy payment methods not only exposed the company to increased security and fraud risks but also incurred extra administrative costs and bank charges.
For example, cheque payments can lead to additional bank charges and admin costs related to printing and posting, as well as the cost of the paper itself. That’s not to mention the extra time and effort required by staff to facilitate these payments. That manual effort can also lead to errors in payment and reconciliation which faster, digital processes can prevent.
In some cases, Thomas Smith Group also reconciled cheque payments from end customers and paid online via its own corporate cards, adding further complexity and potential for card fraud.
Optal streamlines payments
As a payments expert with a growing number of customers in the insurance sector, Optal was confident it could help turn things around for Thomas Smith Group.
Optal is all about helping organisations lose complexity and gain efficiency by optimising complex payment processes. With Optal as your trusted partner, insurers can build loyalty with every bill they pay whilst closing claims faster.
“Optal has optimised our processes and significantly reduced time and costs for us whilst improving security,”
Thomas Smith Group Finance & Performance Manager, Wayne Xuereb
“With previous company cards, we had many users and the cards could have been used anywhere. But switching to the use of one-time Virtual Account Numbers (VANs) has added a great deal of security and control.”
Thomas Smith Group is so pleased with the project that it has already extended the new optimised payments processes to a number of suppliers, with plans to do so for additional vendors in the pipeline.