Unified Software and University of Sunderland collaboration demonstrates the success of internships within a business.
The University of Sunderland'€™s Graduate Internship Scheme helps recent graduates to launch an exciting career in the North East of England. Through working in partnership with regional SME€™s, the scheme has helped hundreds of recent graduates to get ahead in the graduate jobs market.
Duncan McDonald, Internship Development Officer at the University of Sunderland feels the benefit to the local community is far reaching;
the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) graduate internship scheme has been going now for 5 years this year and weâ€™ve assisted hundreds of regional SMEs to access the local graduate market.
The Scheme has been particularly helpful to Unified Software, a financial software business based in Houghton-le-Spring.
With help and support from the Universityâ€™s dedicated Internship Team, Unified Software has recruited three graduates in recent years.
Managing Director George Barron has seen the benefit of the scheme:
Finding the right staff to help us to grow the business has always been a challenge. The Internship Scheme has been a great help in locating the skilled people we need to drive the business forward.
Over the last four years, three interns have started their careers with Unified Software including Software developers Alec Evans and Adam Skinner, having both joined the company in 2011 and 2014, respectively. They are proving to be a great asset to the business, working on exciting new products and services. After successful internships Alec and Adam have since become permanent members of staff.
In early 2015 Unified Software was joined by Andrew Jenkins, a University of Sunderland graduate, joined the team in early January in a key sales and marketing position, supporting the company in promoting its current and future product range.
Andrew is quickly finding his feet in his new role and reflects on his success at gaining the position,
the Careers and Employability Service at the University helped me immensely while preparing for this job, giving me tips and pointers, while Unified Software have given me lots of opportunities to become better at my job. I have recently been on a training course for sales through Unified which has given me the opportunity to really develop myself.
In discussing Andrew'€™s recent success at Unified Software, Duncan comments:
It€™s great to see how the University can support SME€™s in the North East in becoming more innovative and successful.
With Unified Software launching a major new product in the summer, George is optimistic for the future of the company;
our business is growing and we expect to be recruiting again soon. The Graduate Internship Scheme's flexible and effective process has been very successful for us and we look forward to working with the University again in the near future.
Unified Software has launched a new web service which will help employers comply with the new HMRC Real Time Information scheme (RTI).
The RTI pilot scheme will start in April 2012. It is being introduced by HM Revenue and Customs to improve the operation of PAYE.
RTI will help HMRC link PAYE payments to National Insurance and other deductions at the time the payments are made, rather than having to wait until the end of the tax year. Once the system is in place, employers will be required to submit a new cross-reference key (‘hash’) each time they make a payment.
To help employers comply with RTI, Unified Software has introduced a new web based service which generates the new ‘hash’ cross-references quickly and easily.
Finance Director Christine Forsyth commented:
The new HMRC RTI system has advantages for employers and employees. To help businesses get up and running, we have integrated the new RTI functionality into our Bacs payment gateway application BankPay-IP. We have also launched an online service which can be plugged in to any existing software very easily. This will allow businesses to generate RTI hashes with the minimum of fuss.
An innovative pay-per-use software package is helping businesses of all sizes to process Direct Debit and Bacs payments in an easy and affordable way.
Unified Software's new payment gateway product, BankPay-IP, combines the security, convenience and speed of conventional software with a pay-per-use model for the first time.
Specially developed secure software is required for a business to collect payment from customers by Direct Debit, or directly credit the bank accounts of suppliers and staff. This 'payment gateway' software must pass stringent testing by Bacs, the organisation which operates the UK bank clearing network. Unified Software achieved the Bacs Approved Software Suppliers status for the BankPay-IP product, allowing it to connect to the bank network.
BankPay-IP's unique pay-per-use model appeals to companies that are growing and those with payment volumes that fluctuate during the year, for example in higher education, where a number of payments are processed during student admission at the beginning of term but relatively few during the rest of the year.
Most other payment gateway software suppliers charge a fixed license fee plus an annual or monthly fixed maintenance fee.
Christine Forsyth, Finance Director of Unified Software said:
BankPay-IP's unique pay-per-use model provides customers with a flexibility and value unmatched by our competitors. This makes Direct Debit and Bacs payment processing easy and affordable for businesses of all sizes, without the need to rely on a service bureau.
"The software is able to handle customer data in any format and also includes our BankVal validation service, which allows the customer to validate payment data as they enter it into their systems, preventing rejections when the data is later submitted to Bacs.
"Customers will see benefits in the form of improved cost effectiveness when compared to traditional payment gateway software. The technologies used and our pricing model bring to the market an unprecedented combination of functionality and value for money.
Unified Software, the leading UK and International financial web services specialist, has added building society payment reference validation to its award winning BankVal UK web service suite.
The requirement for accurate payment data extends to building society accounts, which commonly employ their own non-standard account reference numbers, sometimes referred to as ‘Roll Numbers’. It is important that these reference numbers are valid when processing building society payments.
The latest release of BankVal UK now includes payment reference validation for almost 50 building societies. This helps to ensure that payments are processed accurately and efficiently.
BankVal UK’s flexible web services interface makes it easy to plug the new building society reference validation capabilities into customers’ systems exactly where required
Christine Forsyth, Finance Director at Unified Software said:
We have had a number of requests from our customers to provide building society reference validation. This feature has previously only been available via one or two conventional validation software packages which can prove to be prohibitively expensive for many businesses.
So we are delighted to now be able to be able to offer this facility as a web service, available on a pay-per-use or subscription basis. Businesses of all sizes can now access this powerful feature and improve the efficiency and accuracy of their payment processing
UK based financial web services specialist, Unified Software, has extended its range of products. BankVal SMS is an innovative new service which validates UK bank details any time, anywhere, using simple mobile phone text message technology.
Unified Software’ BankVal SMS service provides, for the first time, the capability to validate UK sort codes and bank account numbers and lookup important clearing information about any UK bank branch using SMS mobile phone text messaging.
Previously, field sales staff, charity workers, utility companies and many others were unable to check bank details at the moment they are provided by the customer. Invalid bank details cause problems later, when Direct Debit mandates are processed back at the office.
BankVal SMS has been developed to solve this problem. Now, customer bank details can be checked within a few seconds while the customer is still present, ensuring that any mistakes are corrected before they cause problems.
Ross Miller, Sales and Marketing Director at Unified Software said:
For some time now, a number of our existing web service customers have been asking about a mobile version of our popular BankVal UK web service. In order to meet their requirements, the new service had to be independent of phone platform and require no special hardware or software. Mobile phone messaging seemed like the ideal solution, so we developed BankVal SMS.
Unified Software walked away with the Internet & ICT Award at the North East Business Awards ceremony, held at Ramside Hall on 12th March 2009.
Finance Director Christine Forsyth was delighted and proud to accept the award which recognizes companies that have made use of web technology to enhance their business.
I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Unified Software Team. Our team have worked really hard for this. There are some great technology companies in the region, so we were up against stiff competition.
Judges were very impressed with Unified Software’s innovative use of internet technology to improve business performance.
Leading financial web services provider Unified Software has entered a partnership with COA Solutions to provide BankVal UK as an optional extra within their financial management system.
COA Solutions has integrated the BankVal software into e5, their financial management system, and plan to role out the software within their financial management, human resource and payroll processing systems.
Dennis Kirton, e5 and Collaborative Planning Product manager, said:
BankVal adds value to our Smart Business Suite of products. It allows external validation of entered Bank Sort Codes and Account number details against the Industry Sorting Code Directory (ICSD) via a web based SOAP service hosted by Unified Software.
This means, for example, that customer bank accounts can be checked up front, preventing downstream problems, such as a direct debit instruction being rejected by the bank.
COA Solutions discovered Unified Software following an extensive period of research into suppliers of bank validation software, Dennis added:
We were immediately impressed with the offering, they have been an ideal solution to what we have required. It provides a modern web based service, as opposed to something our customers would have to install and maintain locally.
The pricing options were also flexible and represent very good value.
Christine Forsyth, Finance Director at Unified Software, commented:
We have a strong relationship with COA Solutions and are proud to be associated with the company and play a role in their service offering.
The Unified Software team were delighted at being crowned technology champions at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2008.
The pioneering financial web services provider was presented with the prestigious Technology Award at a glitzy black tie event held at The Stadium of Light. Finance Director Christine Forsyth was present to accept the award
We are really proud. We knew we had a chance but there are a lot of very good IT companies in this area now – it is always good to be recognised in this way.
Launched in 2003 Unified Software was the first business in the UK to offer web based financial services.
Judges at the awards were very impressed with the Finance Directors ability to spot a commercial opportunity. The judges said:
The winning company has shown a real flair for firstly seeing the market opportunity and then having the skills to actually write and develop the cutting edge software that has allowed it to win major contracts from across the globe.
Customers are seeing an improved solution to an everyday business need and can validate financial information in real time providing cost savings.
Unified Software made a big impression on technology journalists from the Guardian, providing expert comment on the future of financial web services.
Scott Cawley, Jemima Kiss and Paul Smith from the Guardian newspaper′s technology section descended upon Newcastle upon Tyne to meet individuals at the cutting edge of the regions digital scene, via an exclusive networking event held at the Living Room.
Christine Forsyth, Finance Director of Unified Software, was on hand to give his expert views on web service technology, and Unified Software′s leading software, designed to provide data cleansing, validation and query services, essential to the operation of business to business and business to customer financial transactions.
The Guardian′s interest is proof that companies from the region are finally being recognised for being at the forefront of the digital sector
Guardian′s technology section focuses on computing, the internet, social networking, games & motoring. The journalists put on the event to get under the skin of the North East′s digital landscape, with the intention of hearing views from techies, gamers and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. A lucky few, including Unified Software, made it onto the Guardian Tech Weekly Podcast. Christine added:
As an ambitious and fast growing company, with market leading products sold at a regional, national and international level, we are well placed to discuss current issues affecting the region′s tech community
BankVal UK v2.0
Unified Software has enhanced its market leading BankVal UK bank validation web service to meet the requirements of the Faster Payments system
Unified Software successfully pioneered BankVal UK in 2003, as the first web service solution to the bank validation problem. The web service saves customers time and money by verifying account details for trouble free payment processing, eliminating rejected payments and ensuring Direct Debits and Bacs payments work first time.
BankVal Uk v2 is a recently enhanced version of this software to check if bank accounts have faster payment facilities before starting to process payment. Having been in the pipeline for four months, the enhanced software was created to take into account the £300m Faster Payments Service allowing electronic payments to be made within hours rather than days.
Christine Forsyth, Finance Director at Unified Software said:
The £300m Faster Payments Service (FPS) was launched in May 2008 by 13 top banks and BankVal UK version 2 sits perfectly with the way the market is progressing. Since the focus of FPS is on speed, validation is more important than ever before. Customers now rely on being able to make payments in near real time, but invalid data will prevent this from happening, BankVal UK v2 is a successful and cost effective solution to this.
Leading UK web services provider Unified Software has extended its range of products with the introduction of BankVal Server. Like its sister applications BankVal UK and BankVal International, BankVal Server is a web service - but with a subtle difference.
BankVal Server is designed to be installed on the customer's own computer systems. Operating in web service mode, BankVal Server then delivers flexible, high quality bank account validation across the customer's network.
The new software includes an automatic update facility, ensuring that it is always working with the very latest banking data and validation rules.
Christine Forsyth, Finance Director at Unified Software said:
Some businesses have a policy of not letting customer data outside their organisation. BankVal Server is self contained and operates behind the company firewall, providing validation where it is needed
Unified Software provides a range of products including BankVal UK and BankVal International, to ensure successful financial transactions. Other services within their portfolio include data cleansing, validation and query services essential for business to business and business to customer financial communication.
The UK's most dynamic financial web based business located in Rainton Bridge is the latest company to offer a student placement under the Shell Step Undergraduate Programme.
Unified Software, whose clients include BP and JP Morgan welcomes ICT student Christopher Airey, 20, to join their successful team. Shell Step placements aims to stretch students' imagination beyond the boundaries of university by placing them in small or medium sized companies. In 2007, a quarter of Step students added more than £15,000 worth of value to their placement's business.
Christine Forsyth, Director at Unified Software said:
We are extremely pleased to welcome Christopher on board. He will gain a real insight into working in this industry as a software developer with the opportunity to experience hands-on projects such as webpage design, database and customer management.
This scheme is a great way of preparing students for the work place. It gives them essential skills they wouldn't ordinarily develop at university or learn through reading. I hope this placement stands Christopher in good stead for his future career.
Christopher, a Northumbria University student, is from Bishop Auckland and is due to complete his final year in June 2009. He said:
This is the first time I've worked in a sector that's relevant to my degree. I am getting some good experience that will be really useful for me.
Unified Software, founded in 2003, is the leading provider of UK and international financial web services. It provides a range of software including BankVal UK and BankVal International, to ensure successful financial transactions. Other services within their portfolio include data cleansing, validation and query services essential for business to business and business to customer financial communication.
Building on the success of its popular BankVal UK bank account validation web service, Unified Software has now developed a product for the international market.
BankVal International has at its core the same state of the art web services technology as its UK counterpart. However, BankVal International uses data and validation rules which give it the capability to check any International Bank Account Number and verify the details of any bank, anywhere in the world.
Director Christine Forsyth explained why BankVal International is an important development:
With the introduction of the Single Euro Payment Area, it is now essential that bank details are verified before making a cross-border payment. Failed transactions are no longer just an expensive waste of time; banks now have the right to penalise customers for submitting incorrect data. BankVal International ensures that data is correct before submission, saving businesses time and money
Financial software house Unified Software has launched BankVal UK, a ground breaking bank account validation system.
BankVal UK differs from conventional software as it uses the latest Web Services technology, one of the first commercial applications in the UK to do so.
This is a major advance in validation software. Web Services technology means that BankVal UK is far easier to implement than conventional software and can be used in almost any computer system.
Finance Director Christine Forsyth explained BankVal UK is a step forward:
BankVal UK is not just the application of technology for its own sake. BankVal UK solves a real world problem in a better way than any existing software, and its pay-per-use pricing model makes high quality validation affordable to companies of all sizes for the first time