After studying accountancy and acquiring his Master’s, Matthew Buhagiar spent six and a half years at one of the Big Four firms – a period he describes as one of “intense career growth” – where he gained experience in corporate finance engagements, capital markets issues, and M&A. “I focused on strategic financial management as a crucial aspect of key business decisions,” he says, looking back on this formative time.

Now, it’s time for the next step in his career journey: as Finance Director at payment solutions provider Paytently.

“For me, the opportunity to join Paytently means a new exciting challenge and diving into the startup world,” Matthew states, outlining the factors that attracted him to the company. The main motivators were twofold: the chance to work in a fast-paced, high-growth industry, with a founding team who have worked with some of the largest industry leaders worldwide; and the opportunity to help shape the company from the ground up. 

Discussing his new role, and how it stands to influence the company’s growth, Matthew asserts that the finance role is a multifaceted one, extending beyond traditional financial oversight. “I aim to provide thorough financial analysis, aiding in the pricing of new opportunities and potential offerings, as well as meticulous cost and cash flow management. In a landscape where fast-paced growth can easily outstrip financial sustainability, it is paramount to ensure that Paytently not only grows, but does so with a foundation of financial robustness. All this ultimately requires the finance team to communicate and collaborate well with all aspects of the business,” he says.

Looking at the opportunities and challenges ahead, the Finance Director shares his excitement about the potential in the payments industry, “which is experiencing double-digit annual growth”, and the opportunity to witness its significant expansion firsthand.  “Leading market players strategically pursue vertical integration across the payments value chain, driving innovation and greater efficiencies as they mature.  On top of this, the unique nuances across different industries, geographies, and payment methods present fertile ground for specific or niche offerings to thrive, offering tailored solutions where one-size-fits-all approaches may fall short,” Matthew affirms, noting that the challenge, as with any startup, lies in not just driving growth but establishing scalable processes and structures which foster order, whilst maintaining agility and responsiveness to the market’s needs. 

From Matthew’s perspective, what sets Paytently apart in the fintech landscape isn’t just one thing –rather, it’s a blend of several key elements which are prized by customers and partners alike. First, he highlights the extensive experience of the founders and leadership team. “Their years of experience have not only given them deep insights into the industry but have also allowed them to build valuable relationships. Such relationships are vital in a field where trust and reliability are paramount,” he shares.

Then, there’s the company’s commitment to reliability and quality. “We’re not just another platform offering payment solutions; we’re a team dedicated to ensuring that every transaction is processed professionally, no matter the size or the client,” he asserts, noting that reliability and quality  is woven into the fabric of Paytently, from product development to customer support. “Our customer relationships thrive on authenticity and delivering on our promises, which consistently draws more customers to us. As a result, we’ve focused our recruitment on finding individuals who share these values, ensuring that our team is unified in its mission to provide a best-in-class service.”

Last but by no means least, the Finance Director highlights  Paytently’s ongoing buildout from a payment gateway to a payment orchestration platform, designed for redundancy and high availability. “In the payments world, uptime and redundancy are highly valued due to the significant repercussions which downtime can have on merchants. We are rigorously engineering our platform to minimize this risk, ensuring optimal and uninterrupted processing for our clients,” he maintains.

 Matthew believes it’s these three factors – deep industry relationships, an unwavering focus on reliability, and the development of a high quality and robust infrastructure, that together define Paytently. “It’s how we’re positioning ourselves as not just a service provider, but as a trusted partner in the payments space. We understand that these qualities make all the difference in the dynamic world of payments. They’re what enable us to stand out, and meet the evolving needs of our clients with confidence.”

Going on to share the financial strategies he plans to implement to steer Paytently towards its growth objectives, the Finance Director reveals a holistic, forward-thinking approach that looks to the future. “The essence of our strategy is to invest smartly and where it matters the most – into our people, our technology, and into nurturing our partnerships. This means going beyond offering cutting edge payment solutions. It’s about enriching our team’s capabilities, enhancing our platform’s functionality, and deepening our market engagement,” he explains.

Apart from this, Matthew continues, a critical part of the financial strategy is launching new features and services that respond to clients’ evolving needs. “By the end of 2024 I envision Paytently as a broader, more versatile entity. We aim to expand our reach and  build out the company’s core value proposition past an MVP,  to offer a large choice of global acquirers, alternative payment methods and localised payment solutions, which keeps us ambitious,” he notes, adding, “we understand that by focusing on building financial institutional grade products we are setting ourselves up for our next step in our business’ journey, which is to become an Electronic Money Institution.”

Aside from continuing to build a solid foundation for Paytently’s regulated evolution, the Finance Director also hints at several new opportunities which the team is looking forward to presenting to customers in 2025 – but that’s all he’ll say for now! “For now, we are more than busy enough growing and fine-tuning our existing business and offering,” he smiles.

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