BRF and the magic of payment automation & security
- 96% of all payments from Turkey, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Chile are processed through an end-to-end SAP-embedded flow.
- 89% of improvement in operational efficiency for payments.
- Transactions are screened by Fraud Monitor and analyzed by the BRF compliance team. Since the implementation, more than 800 transactions passed through the Monitor.
Industry: Consumer Goods
Present: 117 Countries
Revenue: R$ 48.3 billion (2021)
Employees: 90,000 worldwide
Headquarters: Itajai, Brazil
BRF is one of the world’s largest food companies, operating in 117 countries. Unsurprisingly, given the company’s global reach, processing payments used to be a time-consuming activity, with multiple online banking systems and payment formats to manage. The over-reliance on the staff required to perform these tasks represented a major operational risk. The complexity made it very difficult to achieve timely and accurate visibility of cash. BRF knew a more streamlined payments process would enable them to use their working capital more effectively.
BRF identified payment automation as the means to achieve greater efficiency in payments processing. The company set a number of priorities:
- To centralize cash flow visibility, control, and planning
- To set up and follow best payment practices, ideally via an end-to-end SAP design
- To standardize and centralize payments approval control
- To reduce operational risks; and
- To have one central connectivity channel with all banking partners to improve security, and to enhance the company’s agility when onboarding new banks and banking products.
As BRF was already committed to using SAP across the organization, the decision was made to adopt a solution that would enhance its existing SAP infrastructure, rather than introduce a new supplier.
In terms of technology design, BRF decided to adopt a hybrid technology solution, part on premises, part on the cloud.
The on-premise installation has these SAP-embedded solutions from Serrala:
- FS2 Payments, which provides dynamic and transparent payment processing, with real-time status updates and automated processing of bank/PSPR statements. It incorporates fraud prevention measures via Fraud Monitor.
- FS2 AutoBank, a fully end-to-end automated cash application tool.
The cloud-based element includes:
- Serrala’s Payment as a Service module, which translates payment instructions into the appropriate payment formats for all BRF’s banks, and
- SWIFT Alliance Lite2, which is BRF’s chosen bank communication channel.
Alongside the new technology solutions, BRF also re-envisioned its entire payments workflow, from the payment file generation, fraud screening and compliance approval, to payment formatting, and, finally, daily statement importing and cash application.
The solution is fully automated and manages 96% of BRF international markets’ payments, including HR, tax, treasury, and supply chain finance payments. In an automated process, effective fraud screening functionality is particularly important. Isabella Welter, Treasurer for BRF International Markets, calls Serrala’s Fraud Monitor “a real game-changer. It has improved the security of our payments and it brings more control to our Accounts Payable, Treasury and Compliance.”
The results speak for themselves.
Increased agility to establish bank connections
- Less dependent on banks and payment formats
- Faster scaling up of bank connectivity
- Eliminated the need to rely on in-house experts with specialized knowledge
Reduced operational risk
- Reduce business continuity risk by outsourcing critical payment operations & maintenance activities
- Increase security by leveraging Serrala security model and professional payment processes
- Improved payments security through the Fraud Monitor
Improved execution performance
- Payment automation via a secure end-to-end SAP to bank communication
- Balance sheet and P&L, due to daily automatic bank statements integration
- Automated rule-based reconciliation
In quantifiable terms:
- 89% improvement in operational efficiency, reducing the time needed for payment processing and approvals.
- 800 transactions screened by Fraud Monitor and analyzed by the BRF compliance team,
As Dieniffer Santos, Treasurer at Middle East Markets says, implementing Serrala system improvements not only drivers efficiency, but also unlocks untapped potential for add value in the business. rather than running the process, a key task to ensure the system stays live and is maintained. Important to emphasize the collaboration between BRF team and Serrala team was crucial in the successful implementation.