Regarded as one of the world’s leading financial institutions, Bank of America serves 67 million individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services. For 20 years, Bank of America, Aprimo, and Aprimo partner Solutions Plus Consulting have collaborated to drive the bank’s compliance controls and productivity objectives. A sophisticated Aprimo customer, Bank of America uses advanced reporting and critical Aprimo features to measure and refine processes, technology, and financials and to implement compliance controls and risk mitigation.
During the early 2000s, Bank of America needed a way to align better its marketing initiatives with marketing spend and adopted the Aprimo platform for productivity management, planning, and spending. Over the years, the BoA has maintained a deep focus on financial management with the system of reserve, system of record, and all of the compliance needed for precision and control that comes with that designation.
Bank of America integrated Aprimo with their accounts payable system. In addition, they enhanced their forecast UI to add extended attributes to help facilitate accrual accounting integrated with their SOX compliance requirements and controls. Today, Bank of America users across the world use Aprimo every day to maximize the efficiency of their campaigns and ensure compliance.
Managing the Flow of Data Efficiently
Like many organizations, Bank of America establishes their budgets at the beginning of the year, linking them to various activity proposals that are routed for approval to become formal activities that have spend transactions, workflows, and other items attached.
Marketing users enter invoices and other expense transactions within Aprimo, which are then routed through the formal payment approval through Aprimo’s approval payment or approval mechanisms. The invoices and transactions then pass to the Accounts Payable system for approval and payment. From start to finish, the process is managed within Aprimo, including all interactions with the bank’s sub-ledger and financial system.
Meeting Compliance Requirements and Mitigating Risk
As a financial institution, Bank of America is heavily regulated, so they must be compliant with their expense reporting. Therefore, the bank’s primary responsibility from a compliance perspective is to ensure they have the right processes in place to report accurate financials to the street on a monthly and quarterly basis. These processes are critical in the case of an audit and to avoid any potential for fraud to protect their customers and the bank’s reputation.
Bank of America has several checks and balances to ensure they meet compliance requirements. With a vigorous SOX process, the bank has implemented key controls across all invoice and financial reporting processes. BoA also has workflows in place to help make sure they are compliant when it comes to reconciliations, segregation of duties, timely expense reporting, and engaging appropriate approvers. Plus, they have access to powerful reporting to verify that all workflows are in place and working correctly.
The Power of Reporting to Increase Operational Productivity
Bank of America processes a staggering volume of data, managing between 1,000 and 5,000 activities throughout the year. For example, a small marketing operations and information management group team are responsible for 12 months of reconciliation across all business functions. That translates into roughly 35,000 approvals and reviews for activities like invoices, workflows, proposals, and more and about 52,000 financial transactions. Reporting plays a vital role in managing all that information and ensuring controls and workflows are firmly in check.
The team is responsible for enabling decision financial reporting for support across the marketing organization. Members look at financial metrics, volume, and lifecycle reporting. However, they primarily use financial reporting focusing on monthly forecasts and actuals. They also have trigger reporting with alerts to ensure they approve all activities correctly.
The bank has implemented accrual accounting within Aprimo to manage the large volume of accrual transactions and improve overall forecasting. They created a report that allows that calculation to be done and then created entries that they can review in bulk monthly. It also helps with reconciling accrual accounts and the expense accounts they have after a month and close.
The Value of Solutions Plus Cloud-based Reporting Technology
In addition to the reporting in Aprimo, Solutions Plus provides additional reporting support to Bank of America through its fully managed and hosted cloud reporting solution built on the Microsoft Azure platform. This service delivers real-time reporting on Microsoft SSRS and takes Bank of America’s capabilities to the next level. Real-time reports can be seamlessly embedded in Aprimo and scheduled and delivered via email at various intervals. Bank of America users run around 10,000 on-demand reports annually and distribute about 40,000 reports via email.
Additionally, Bank of America takes advantage of automated event-triggered alerts for proactive, dynamic tracking to ensure various controls are in place and working. For example, they can set customized alerts to notify them of possible risk detection, outliers, or inaccuracies. Additionally, they use these alerts to enforce processes, such as ensuring appropriate approvals, role confirmation, user access, and appropriate separation of duties. Finally, the team can run exception reports daily to reduce noise and controls working properly. While great for financial services and regulated industries, this custom event-triggered alert reporting applies to most industries and businesses looking for general data integrity checks.
Bank of America’s journey with Aprimo and Solutions Plus will continue as the bank looks to make incremental improvements to provide the most efficient, effective reporting and analysis to help their business and financials.
To get the full scoop, check out Aprimo’s 2022 Sync session where Bank of America dives into what they love about Aprimo.
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