We recently sat down with Guy El Khoury to discuss his successful journey in setting up one of the very first service provider companies for electronic payments. As CEO and Director of Accomplish Financial, El Khoury talks to us about the triumphs, as well as hurdles of being a pioneer in the tech industry.
A Brief Overview of Accomplish Financial
Accomplish Financial is a full-service provider that caters to electronic payments. They are considered experts and pioneers in their field as they were one of the first companies set up to offer clients payment solutions including payment cards; virtual payment cards; e-wallets; m-wallets and loyalty and reward modules. They also offer a web-based and mobile-ready processing platform such that clients can experience a state-of-the-art issuing service. Their integrated end-to-end in-house solutions provide fully compliant processing capabilities that exceed PCI standards, which easily plug in to new and emerging technologies
Accomplish Financial was established about 10 years ago when Guy El Khoury noticed that there was a gap in the tech market for servicing innovative and new FinTech type products. “This was before the word FinTech was common or even really used – and there was nowhere for these projects to go,” says Guy El Khoury. “At the time, there were three or four major international processors active, banks that were issuing their own products and the concept of BIN sponsorship was still something new and uncommon as were the few programme managers that existed. The concept of a complete service provider was unheard of.”
As such, El Khoury set up Accomplish Financial as a solution to “assist, and guide partners interested in innovation and take them through all the project steps from end to end – from the paperwork and back-office tasks, the technical parts all the way through to the scheme and regulatory portions.” His vision was to create an organisation that would be able to take on the responsibility of handling the entire service aspect on behalf of the client, thus enabling them to focus completely on their product.
Being a Pioneer in the Tech Industry Is Not Always Fun and Games
Not only has El Khoury been able to achieve that vision for Accomplish Financial, but he has also proven, time and time again, that pushing the boundaries of the unknown can actually open a whole world of fascinating tech advancements. While risky, this “exciting roller coaster ride of running a tech business” as Tony Craddock, Director General of the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) put it, has meant that El Khoury’s business has contributed to making the lives of consumers that much easier.
Getting Accomplish Financial to where it is today has been anything but easy. El Khoury has had to jump over quite a few hurdles over the years, adapt to many changes within the tech market and industry, and pretty much explore new terrain while relying solely on instinct, intelligence, expertise, knowledge, and an idea. He explains, “Back when we started, if you wanted to create a project, you had to figure it out for yourself, on your own. By that, I mean that most people would have had to guess where to start and they then had to slowly begin to learn all the industry jargon after meeting with several different entities in order for them to begin to understand what a card manufacturer actually does compared to, for example, a scheme, an issuer or a processor.”
Tackling the Ever-Changing Tech Market
This is not to say that all these changes have been met with disapproval by El Khoury and his counterparts. Quite the contrary. El Khoury notes that the access granted by the FCA (the regulatory body, previously the FSA) has paved the way for “innovation to thrive” and “the fact that they were willing to listen and understand the goals that businesses wanted to achieve, was extremely important. This evolution has been identifiable and very helpful.” Additionally, as more and more service providers have emerged, businesses are now forced to work faster and more efficiently to be able to compete and remain financially viable. This has basically meant that projects are now completed in record time. El Khoury notes,
The industry now has matured significantly, we have also made serious advancements in the time it takes to take a project live. Back then, back when we first started, it would take anywhere between three to six months, and in some instances, even a year for projects to go live! Now? It can be as little as two days, so it’s a massive, massive difference.
Being able to set up new programmes, new projects, and new variants for clients and their products at record time has meant that the wheel of innovation and cutting-edge ideas is constantly on the move. With Accomplish Financial’s affordable prototyping development all the way through to their exceptional solution-focused servicing, more and more clients are now able to bring their ideas to life thus keeping the tech industry innovation fresh, attainable, and ever-evolving. As noted by El Khoury: “If you cannot take an idea and move as fast (or faster) than the industry moves, then you’re not benefiting from it. If it takes a year to set up a product, many things may change by the time you go live, in some cases even rendering your product obsolete before ever launching.”
Delving in deeper, El Khoury explains that one of his favourite, and probably most successful, programmes at the moment is the Raris card. This card is manufactured in the UK by The Royal Mint and is an 18K solid gold hallmarked card. Getting this project up and running was not an easy task for Accomplish Financial, as it required a deep understanding of the entire end to end process of bespoke card manufacturing from every party involved. From the actual product design, testing and certification of the card manufacturing process, to the card’s programming and approval of security features, this project required that the team at Accomplish Financial had to expand their knowledge and expertise. Without a doubt, El Khoury and his team at Accomplish Financial wowed us again! “We are extremely honoured and proud to power Raris” says Guy El Khoury. “It was a chance for complete end to end innovation for us. It is rare that we get to innovate on a physical level and help make something tangible that we can then also bring to life with our technology. Everyone who has seen a Raris card has been captivated by it and truly loves it. There is something very special about it.” Words that resonate with the true vision of Accomplish Financial.