Digital innovation in FLEET’s Finance and Accounting

Digital innovation in FLEET’s Finance and Accounting
Deep Sharma
Group Financial Controller
Published 08 Dec 2022

Digital innovation is a strategic imperative to grow revenue, maintain competitiveness and help an organisation evolve.

At FLEET, we have embarked on transformation initiatives in recent years to streamline our Finance and Accounting processes, creating a foundation for us to pursue efficiencies and scale for success.

Some key initiatives already implemented include:

  • State-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system: We rolled out Oracle Financials to implement a robust and globally-recognised system capable of delivering real-time financial analysis for our ships and multiple offices. Since the roll-out, there has been a profound impact on the automation, accuracy and timeline of our Management Information System (MIS) reports generated by ships and offices, as well as improved data transparency, including for audits.
  • Electronic invoicing and approval: We have introduced Eye-Share – a customised solution developed by a Norway-based provider – to digitise the paper-based invoicing and approval process. As FLEET processes hundreds of thousands of invoices annually, this has helped us establish a paperless invoicing system with a reduced payment cycle, which significantly benefits our suppliers.
  • Host-2-Host (‘H2H’) integration with the banks: We have collaborated with our primary banking partners, J.P. Morgan and MarTrust, to roll out a H2H solution that seamlessly and securely connects our ERP with these banks’ systems and automates the payment of invoices. This works two ways, allowing for faster bank reconciliations and error-free processing of payments.

Projects in the pipeline

We are currently working on implementing the following initiatives to provide enhanced reporting, faster payments and reduce cash requirements on ships.

  • Financial reporting module for shipowners: When implemented, this module will provide a powerful graphical tool to our shipowners to analyse the financial performance of their ships on a real-time basis. The owners will be able to understand the ship’s operating cost down to the individual account head level and have access to the related invoice(s). This aims to be both interactive and provide greater cost transparency.
  • New portage bill system: This module will reduce the time taken by our crew onboard and Finance and Accounts team to close the monthly portage bills and Captain’s cash account. This will allow for even faster payment of monthly allotments and balance of wages.

  • E-wallet solution for onboard payments: This will reduce the cash requirement onboard the ships and provide alternate payment options to the ship’s Captain using the banking channels, for payments to the suppliers and crew. This solution also aims to provide flexibility to the ship’s crew to opt to receive their onboard cash advance via banking channels. This will help to significantly reduce the risk of carrying cash onboard and the associated costs of arranging cash at different ports.

The Finance and Accounting function is rapidly evolving, and companies that don’t adapt risk being left behind. Colleagues working in this function area don’t just report the numbers – they interpret and communicate them to support decision-making and shape business strategy.

At FLEET, we believe in creating opportunity from complexity. We will continue to grow our digital capabilities and drive innovation in our processes to deliver sustainable and cost-effective solutions for all our stakeholders.