Recent Projects - Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.
Recent Projects

Barclaycard UK - Projects

ZR Consultants delivered a number of high profile and business critical projects on behalf of the Operational Risk area of Barclaycard. ZR successfully managed a number of senior stakeholders and engaged with all the different areas of the business.  As well as the Barclaycard UK Cards operation, ZR was also responsible for delivering projects across Barclaycard US, Barclaycard Germany, UK Secured Lending in Cardiff, UK Partnerships in Northampton and Business Partnership Finance in Cardiff.  The projects were delivered as follows:

PPI ( Payment Protection Insurance ) Programme

  • Operataional risk review of the PPI Processes for Barclaycard, Barclay's Retail and UK Secured Lending.
  • Implementation of a formal Risk and Control Framework around the 3 PPI Processes ensuring that it complies with the mandatory Operational Risk framework.
  • Identification of process gaps and implementation of new robust controls.
  • Responsibe for implementing SOX across all 3 processes.
  • Production of Process description, Process Flows, Risk Profiles and carrying out walkthroughs (DEA) and Operational Effectiveness Testing (OET).
  • Carrying out programme level assessment and running risk workshops.

Impairment / Credit Risk

  • A comprehensive review of the impairment processes for UK Cards, Germany, UK Partnerships and UK Business Partnerships (each portfolio had over £100m exposure) 
  • Production of detailed Process descriptions, Risk Profiles, Process Flows, Walkthrough & Testing File and Final report identifying all issues and providing recommendations for improvements.
  • Identified significant improvements to processes and controls which would save millions in the long term and minimise the exposure to risk.
  • Final presentation of findings & recommendations delivered to senior executive Board stakeholders which included the Head of Impairment, Credit Risk Director, Operational Risk Director and the Global Controller.
  • All Impairment and credit risk models were reviewed including Impairment Calculation Model , Severity Rate Model (LGD1 & LGD2), Charge off's, Write off's , Probability of Default models as were controls around the core systems and SAS Codes.

SOX General Computer Controls CGG

  • A comprehensive review was carried out of all 50 General Computer Controls (GCC) over 8 different business units.  All processes worked on a range of different systems and platforms and operated in different locations.  The process covered over 200 controls.
  • Business Areas covered included Barclaycard UK (UKC), Barclaycard US, UK Secured Lending (First Plus) , Chief Finance Office (CFO), Credit Risk Office (CRO), Global Payments Acceptance (PA), Barclaycard International (Germany) and the Chief Operations Office (COO) including all Impairment processes.
  • A Design Effectiveness Assessment (DEA) & Operational Effectiveness Testing (OET) of all GCC processes and risks was delivered and all process documentation and Risk Profiles were re-vamped to give a more clear and concise description of the processes.
  • At the same time a rationalisation excercise was carried out which achieved a 30% reduction in the number of SOX controls leading to massive savings.
  • Ensured all SOX documents were uploaded to the OPUS system (Open pages aka SOX Express).

Business Control Activities (CA)

  • Project managed all the DEA and Walkthoughs for just over 50 Barclaycard CA's which including Automated Business Controls (ABC's) and Manual Business Controls (MBC's).
  • Engaged with stakeholders from all over the world to ensure that documentation was produced to required standards and worked with business units to obtain evidence and update process documentation.
  • Carried out QA of all documentation produced to ensure SOX requirements were being met.

Business Critical Projects and Risk Events

  • Worked with the business on a number of business critical projects including contactless stickers, new product approvals and the Recruitment Audit covering UK Cards, Germany Cards and UK Secured Lending.
  • Responsible for assessing and monitoring all risk events that have materialised in order to ascertain and minimise any direct or indirect losses. 

Basel II

  • Delivered and managed the re-documentation, walkthrough and testing of the US & UK Basel II process.
  • Organised workshops and carried out independent reviews of all models, calculations and core systems to ensure appropriate controls exist to mitigate any risks and the models were operating as required.
  • Implemented new controls where deficiencies were identified and recommended process improvements where weaknesses were found.

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Barclaycard UK - Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Project

Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act continues to place a major burden on those companies that fall within its remit. In order to meet their compliance requirements within the timeframe allocated we were asked by the client to deliver a comprehensive programme to document, evaluate and test their system of internal controls.

ZR Consultants took over the project management of the Sarbanes Oxley Project and put together a comprehensive plan to deliver the project within timescales.

ZR Consultants were responsible for managing a team of consultants in order to deliver all documentation to set standards. Templates were devised by ZR Consultants using Word, Excel, Visio and SOX Express. The templates were tailored to suit the Barclaycard environment and were a huge success with both internal and external Audit.

ZR Consultants were responsible for both the IT and the Finance controls within the organisation and produced over 50 set of process documentation, all of which contained a Visio Process flow diagram, a risk/control matrix and a control description document. The 50 processes covered included Barclaycard UK, Barclaycard Germany, Barclaycard Spain, Juniper (US), Cluster Finance, Barclay Loan and First plus all of which operated in different cultures and locations and used different systems.

All the processes were walked through to ensure that they had been documented correctly. Following which all the controls were tested to ensure that they effectively mitigated the risks associated with them. Where it was found that controls did not mitigate the risk, remediation plans were put into place to either tighten the controls or to implement a new control. ZR Consultants were responsible for setting up a deficiency management committee to report on the progress of all remediation’s.

ZR Consultants were also responsible for the reviewing entity level controls and were asked to review the impairment process in order to ensure its compliance with current regulations (MIFID, Basel II).

ZR Consultants were responsible for liaising with Internal and External Audit (PWC) and were highly commended by PWC for the quality of their control proving. As a result of the assurance that PWC placed upon our work, PWC reduced their sample sizes.

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Severn Trent Water

Severn Trent Water – Gloucester 2007 Floods / Business Interruption Claim and re-instatement of all Assets

One of the largest water companies in the UK sustained serious losses and suffered massive property damage to just under 200 sites following the unprecedented floods in 2007.

ZR Consultants were appointed to initially assist with the implementation of a document and retrieval system in order to capture all the crucial documentation and evidence of the actions taken by key personnel during floods. The evidence was then used to produce a final report for the public domain and to assist with 6 external enquiries made against the client.

Following the successful conclusion of the external enquiries, ZR consultants were appointed to project manage the reinstatement of all the damaged assets and to manage the insurance claim, ensuring that recovery was maximised. The scope of the damage covered just under 200 sites and included Sewage Pumping Stations, Sewerage Treatment Works, Booster Stations and Water Treatment Works.

The project was initially estimated at £20m, however when ZR Consultants carried out a full forensic investigation on all the costs and all the various budget codes a huge amount of recoverable costs were identified. ZR Consultants also negotiated with insurers in order to agree precedents that were beneficial to our clients – in particular in the case with cables, ZR Consultants were able to recover at least £4m more than what had been expected and the forensic investigation also identified a additional £4.5m of costs. The number of savings identified enabled ZR Consultants to settle the claim at a whopping £31m. As well as the recovery ZR Consultants engaged various suppliers to cover different regions and sites and implemented a programme by which all the damaged sites were to be replaced within 2 years.

ZR Consultants identified synergies and instructed suppliers to identify areas of betterment in order to make the existing sites more robust against future incidents. The total value of the project was £45m, every penny of which was controlled, reviewed and evidenced by the ZR Consultants team. ZR Consultants also assisted the clients in maintaining their cash flow by negotiating interim payments with insurers and were able to successfully double expectations at the start by achieving a £10m interim payment instead of the £5m initially offered by insurers.

As well as assisting the client with insurance policy issues, ZR Consultants also assisted with the accounting policies for booking the money received from insurers and implemented correct accounting procedures for accruing costs and transferring to P & L and Balance Sheet. ZR Consultants also engaged with the clients Auditors in order to sign off the impact on the financial statements following the recording of an Exceptional item.

We were able to successfully use our accounting and project management skills in order to far exceed client expectations and to deliver a superb result by recovering £11m more than originally expected.

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Unilever Europe IT

Unilever Europe IT - Sarbanes Oxley Compliance Project

ZR was appointed by Unilever, as the UK shared services arm of Unilever fell three months behind schedule in meeting its compliance requirements. We conducted a full review for the Shared Services Financial Department managing to complete the project within three months of its deadline by implementing and developing robust standards for all SOX documentation.

ZR Consultants were responsible for documenting all the processes, controls and risks and carrying out Walkthroughs as well as conducting operational testing to ensure the controls were effectively mitigating the risks. Where deficiencies were identified ZR were responsible for implementing remediation.

The work carried out by ZR was highly commended at Board level and by the firms external Auditors (PWC).

The test document templates set up by ZR were rolled out to the Unilever Group worldwide to be used as standard SOX documentation.

Punch Tavern's Ltd

Punch Tavern’s Ltd – Accounting Integration Project following acquisitions

ZR was responsible for the integration of the finance systems. As a result ZR carried out a number of reconciliation exercises in order to ensure no transactions were omitted and a complete review of all the fixed assets was carried out for all three companies in order to ensure that the integrated Balance Sheet was correctly stated.

Southern Waters

Southern Water - Business process re-engineering and change consultancy

ZR was responsible for the review of the SAP implementation Project providing a critical review of new procedures, processes and controls. ZR documented all the clients processes, controls and risks within ARIS and then delivered a presentation to all stakeholders clearly demonstrating where there processes were failing and providing recommendations of how their SAP implementation could mitigate these deficiencies.

Audit Commission

Audit Commission – Audit Services

ZR provided audit support to the Audit Commission. ZR was responsible for reviewing a number of local authorities and public sector institutions such as the NHS, Strategic Health Authorities, a number of local Councils and Police Authoritiess in order to ensure they were complying with current legislation.

ZR Produced all the required Final reports, qualification letters and Amendments for Audited bodies. The Audits covered included; Housing Benefits and Council Tax, Performance Indicators, Non Domestic Rates, Final Accounts, Mental Illness, AIDS Grant, Single Regeneration, Corporate Governance reviews, National Fraud Initiative (NFI), Electronic Government, Market Initiative (SRB), Sure Start, Teacher Training, special grants and Pathfinder.


Singlepoint – Process Improvements

Following the delivery of the new IT systems, the client realised that there were programme risks as well as cost saving opportunities that it has not yet recognised. ZR Consultants were asked to set up and manage a new Process Improvements department. We identified that significant savings could be made based on efficiencies within the programme which would exploit synergies and shared service activities. ZR Consultants were responsible for iniating and managing multiple small projects covering all areas of the business including Finance, Billing, Marketing, HR, IT, System Support (Dunning), Call Centre, Query Centre, operations and credit control. The projects resulted in millions of pounds in costs/savings.

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Singlepoint - Project Management – Implementation of the Geneva Billing System, Oracle Finance System and Siebel CRM System

This communications company completed an extensive review of its strategy, organisation, operational processes and systems. As a result, a major transformation was initiated involving multiple releases of business and IT change. The aim was to enhance operational capabilities, reduce costs and improve service delivery. ZR consultants took on key delivery roles within the programme management team. We successfully project managed the development and Implementation of the Geneva Billing System, Oracle Accounting system and the Siebel CRM system transforming the way customers were billed.