Jun 1 2021
Finance Leaders in Conversation - Paddy Power Betfair
Glantus Chief Data Officer Joe Keating spoke with Nollaig O’Scannlain to discuss how PaddyPower Betfair are using technology to improve working capital management. The conversation explores the value of accounts payable automation and its role in supporting business growth.
Our trajectory is working towards more automation and trying to increase efficiency...We're working with Glantus to expand the technology that we have to encompass more areas within the business. Nollaig Ó Scannláin, Senior Manager Disbursements at Paddy Power Betfair.
One-to-one with Nollaig O'Scannlain
Joe Keating (Glantus) : In terms of the business as it stands today and in your time with Paddy Power Betfair, what have you seen as the biggest challenge to regulating and maintaining working capital within the business?
Nollaig O'Scannlain (Paddy Power): Well, I think the absolute key thing that we've had to get a grip on was actually getting access to our data and having a realistic and a real-time data so that we can rely on the information that we have. It's having that ability to be able to drill down into what actually makes up your working capital, how you report on that and how you present it. So I think that's absolutely the key from our perspective on how to make good decisions when it comes to working capital and manage it correctly.
Keating: In light of the pandemic, have there been different processes or policies brought into play by the business in terms of how they manage working capital based on what's happening at the moment?
O'Scannlain: I suppose, we did with the uncertainty of COVID-19. There was a massive amount of focus and scrutiny put on our working capital to make sure that we remained in a healthy position. I would say that we are lucky in the fact that, as we all know, most sporting events have returned, albeit behind closed doors.
Keating: How much visibility do you have in your engagement with suppliers and do systems within your business help with that in terms of the AP area of business and supplier engagement?
O'Scannlain: Yeah, absolutely. You know we would consider our suppliers to be a key stakeholder in our process. We recently upgraded the Glantus system and one of the features that we brought in, was the ability to actually email the suppliers directly from the Glantus document automation platform and do all of that from within the system itself - rather than having to jump out into your outlook. That adds that extra layer of flexibility and the information that you need when you do actually speak to suppliers or you're engaging with them on particular issues. All of that information is close at hand within the one system - that really does drive efficiency. The team have said that's one of the major steps forward that we've made recently with our technology and really helps them in their day-to-day duties.
Keating: Are there improvements you see as being tangible for the business going forward in the area of financial automation?
Scannlain: Absolutely, I think fundamentally COVID won't change anything in terms of how we work. Once we get through this, I think the fundamentals of the business are solid, so that won't change. Our trajectory was towards more automation and trying to get more in wherever there were opportunities to increase efficiency - that's still going to be our drive. Anywhere where you can add value, we should be doing that - it’s one of our key focuses. We're working with Glantus to increase that and to look at new areas and expand the technology that we have to encompass more areas within the business. There is a concerted effort to actually do that within PPB.
Keating: Excellent. Sounds like you are already on a track. You know, some organizations have brought plans forward. They've accelerated digital transformation projects for instance -financial automation, P2P or whatever it might be.
O'Scannlain: We're now incorporating the Stars Group. So we're getting bigger and bigger all the time. We know that if we are to really get the efficiencies out of these mergers and run these businesses effectively, then we need to be out front - one of the early adopters and almost evangelists for this kind of thing to make us as efficient as possible. What works within PPB can be exported to our other businesses within the group and we can see those knock on benefits in the other areas of the business.
Keating: Seeing the benefits of that across, not just Paddy Power Betfair, but also the acquisitions and that growing business is great. As you say, you're just multiplying those benefits within the organization at that point. When you're bringing in new acquisitions and have the ability to bring in this technology platform, that's going to help them be more efficient straightaway.
O'Scannlain: Absolutely. I'll give a practical example. Recently, we rolled out our AP system, end-to-end in the US. Our US business is still in its infancy and gambling has only been legal in the US for a little over a year. So that business is really scaling up rapidly and we were able to bring in our AP system and finance systems in order to enable scalability. We knew this system worked and it was perfect for them to implement. We're now at the stage where we can actually share resources. We can really benefit from the knowledge that we've already built up in the European operation and we will extend that over to the United States.