Audit Resource Technology TKS (ART-TKS) is on the expansion trail. The company was established in the UK in 2018 and specialises in digitalising the automotive stock auditing process.
At a time when many captive and independent auto finance companies retain legacy auditing systems, including the use of manual clipboards for some, ART-TKS uses its own software, FOCUS, to provide secure, real-time visibility and transparency, saving valuable time and money throughout the stock and asset-auditing process.
ART-TKS is part of the TKS Group, which is based in Spain. ART-TKS’s director and founder, Christian Pawsey (pictured), is a close associate of Luis Beneytez, who established Grupo TKS in 2006 to deliver auditing and compliance solutions throughout Europe.
In the UK, ART-TKS uses its scalable software to help clients to meet compliance requirements by automating and digitalising processes to assist in managing risk effectively and efficiently.
Pawsey told Asset Finance International that TKS Group boasts has many of the largest global brands as clients.
He said: “They had great success in delivering auditing services to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and in 2018 started delivering their unified stock audit system across Europe. FCA has previously used different suppliers and systems in each country and were early adopters of a growing trend, by using a single supplier and system across most of Europe. Using TKS and their FOCUS software, they were able to simplify and digitalise the audit processes and have real-time visibility of the audits. So instead of managing a different system for each country, FCA now has a single dashboard view for Europe, providing real time data that can be drilled down into for the finer detail if needed.”
In the UK, ART-TKS started working with FCA UK in 2018, using FOCUS across the dealer network.
Pawsey explained: “Integration between systems was swift and easy, so that FOCUS is able to retrieve the most up-to-date dealer stock information for each auditor on the day of the audit and return results automatically, as they are recorded, which can then be acted upon straight away. Real-time audit visibility has enhanced back office support and the team’s ability to request further information or documentation when needed, which has proved especially useful.”
Digitalising the auditing process
FOCUS is available in app format for both IOS and Android, and Pawsey says that managers can provide a new auditor with a password and username in just under a minute. This is useful where a remote audit might be appropriate and someone at the dealership can undertake a secure and verified audit at short notice.
Prior to performing an audit, FOCUS automatically downloads the latest loan and asset information regarding a dealer, which the auditor uses alongside search functions such as Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and the intuitive design of the App will lead them through the auditing process.
“We really wanted to simplify the process as much as possible,” he added. “Someone can become an auditor very quickly with the use of our app, which is useful for remote audits, but what distinguishes our auditors above all else is their high level of experience.”
To help combat the rising challenge of fraud, ART-TKS uses ‘geo-tagging’ to ensure integrity of data, with instant visibility of files and data attached to the audit, showing exactly where the auditor is as each action within the audit is confirmed.
Rules for all types of audits and assets can be applied, so that FOCUS automatically requests the information needed and auditors can easily request and attach files and images that are instantly visible by the client.
Pawsey has built a career in customer relationship management and contact centre operations over the past 15 years, working for communications business IPPlus in 2008 as commercial director, progressing to managing director in 2011.
Latterly, he began working for Yonder Digital Group as contact centres chief executive officer, where he was responsible for a number of customer service centres throughout the UK. This meant he frequently had to travel nation-wide, before restructuring and re-branding the business for re-sale. He also helped set up a consortium of European customer service centres, to cooperate with larger business contracts and share best practice, and it was during this time that he met Beneytez.
Beneytez had been delivering audit services with TKS in Spain since 2006 and had recognised the gap in the market for digitalised, outsourced auditing for finance companies. He was looking for a foothold in the UK market and so, in early 2018, Pawsey left Yonder Digital and launched ART-TKS in partnership with Beneytez.
Not just for the giants
The company currently employs 35 auditors, managed from their office in Suffolk.
Pawsey explained: “Real time visibility, reconciliation and validation of audits means that funds are managed more quickly, with accurate results used for intelligent insights and analytics. Geo-tagging ensures integrity of data, with instant visibility of files and data attached to the audit.
“Our system is suitable for businesses of any size not just for the national and international giants. FOCUS was designed for the automotive sector originally, using the valuable experience gained by TKS over many years.
“As such it has predominantly been implemented within larger captive businesses, but our product can be sold to small independent dealerships in isolation in a similarly productive way. We are able to offer the option of using our own team of highly skilled and experienced auditors who complete physical audits nation-wide with superb efficiency and excellent attention to detail.
“Alternatively, FOCUS can be used independently by large groups spread across the globe, or by smaller, individual businesses who need something really effective yet simple, scalable and reliable, to help manage their risk”.
All of ART-TKS’s auditors are retired police officers, which he says ensures they have just the right frame of mind and attitude when conducting the audit, thereby putting the dealer at ease.
Pawsey said: “They have an excellent and reliable work ethic, great attention to detail and people management skills that comes from years and years of experience and training.”
He added that while the vast majority of the company’s business is conducted in the auto finance sector, FOCUS is equally applicable to businesses operating in industries such as commercial, marine and aviation, or any business that has high-value assets requiring auditing and risk management assistance.
Looking to the future, he believes that the UK auto finance sector is facing a critical time where the market is changing at a rapid pace, and companies such as ART-TKS are well placed to help lenders mitigate and manage that risk, meet a raft of regulation, compliance and data issues, and help prepare for the challenges that the implementation of electric vehicles and shared-mobility will bring.