Bridging the gap between Accounting and the Product! System planning that supports speedy service releases from behind the scenes.

This issue of PayPay Professionals introduces the planner behind the payment system that forms PayPay’s foundation. Find out what Makiko Mori does to bridge the gap between different teams, being involved in almost every new service launched by PayPay.

Makiko Mori Makiko joined PayPay in September 2018. She is currently in the Management Operations Department working as the payment system planner.

Connecting the Wants of Each Department

What specifically is it that you do?

I belong to the Management Operations Department, the team that looks after PayPay’s money in general. My job is to create plans for the required system whenever a new service is released to ensure that there are no issues from an accounting or legal perspective since PayPay is a registered Funds Transfer Business Provider. I work with the business development and product teams to do that.

I’m responsible for all new services that involve the handling of money. Since PayPay is a payment service, this basically equates to all services, meaning that I’m involved in almost every new service that’s launched. Each one is passed by me, and on average, there’s about ten projects that I’m working on at the same time. Let me add though, it’s a stretch to say that I’m involved in everything, since I only look at a particular aspect of the system.

Do you have any routines you work by? There are cases in which I check systems after they’ve been built by the product team to see if there are any issues. Usually though, I’m involved earlier on, when the service itself is being designed, to make decisions on how the cash flow should be. For example, I create the logic for the necessary calculations based on the specifications provided by the business development team, such as “this should be rounded up to a certain digit and be booked as sales,” or “this is what should be done when a refund is triggered after the payment.” In this way, we decide the framework together as a team.

After the specifications are set, I provide instructions to the product team on how it should be built. Once the development is completed, I extract data from the system using SQL to confirm whether everything works properly.

Is there anything that you focus on in particular?

Being the bridge between various teams.

My job requires a great deal of coordination between different departments, such as the business development, product, legal, and accounting teams. I strive to make everyone’s wants come true by acting as the bridge between them.

There are always times when we don’t see eye to eye because each person has their own beliefs they work by or their own goals they’re after. Because we have so many people from around the world that get together to discuss things, what might seem like common sense to one person, isn’t necessarily common sense to others in the group.

In cases like that, I make a conscious effort to use very specific examples and share information to avoid misunderstandings.

A meeting with Mori-san. (Top-right)
Doesn’t “bridging the gap” become increasingly more difficult the more departments get involved?

That’s right. I’m constantly thinking about ways to facilitate better coordination.

Sometimes, it can be something as simple as breaking the ice in a meeting. Since PayPay is hiring a lot of new employees, the general air of a meeting can go south pretty quickly if I dive straight into legal or accounting topics with someone that I’m speaking to for the first time or have never met in person. I try to mix it up a bit by talking about non-work-related things. Starting off with a basic, “How are you doing lately?” goes a long way, especially now that we’re all working from home.

Meeting All of PayPay’s New Services Head On

What do you find rewarding in your job?

Without a doubt, being involved in almost every single service PayPay launches. I love the feeling of continuously moving ahead because all the services are created and released at an incredible pace. No answer exists when thinking about the system-to-be, so it’s fun to explore the various possibilities together as a team.

Is it true there’s no answer?

PayPay is constantly creating new services, and it’s my job to make decisions on how the system should be built when it comes to the handling of money. If it’s a completely new service that has no precedent at the company, it’s necessary to determine the optimal solution taking into account various factors, such as the law, usability, or available resources. Some people may think that accounting rules or funds transfer business-related laws are all black and white, but that isn’t the case. The system that needs to be built can vary depending on how those things are interpreted.

That’s why it’s necessary to give a careful explanation of the ultimate goals or legal context, including what risks are anticipated, rather than just saying, “You’ve got to change this because it’s a problem from an accounting perspective.” I try to suggest different workarounds, and through discussions with the different departments, try to unravel what the best answer is.

One more thing is that PayPay is still a growing company, and a lot things still have to be ironed out. “This is the first time I’m hearing about this” situations occur quite often where not everyone is on the same page. (laughs)

“There’s no answer,” and “Not everyone is on the same page.” That sounds like a handful!

It is hard work, but it’s fun. Someone who enjoys working in uncharted territory alongside a team would fit in well at PayPay.

Makiko during the interview. What’s important when working out how to create the optimal system, given there are no answers? Being proactive is key.

Everyone working at PayPay is focused on quickly delivering things that are convenient to our users. If we were to try to make a system that is perfect in the eyes of the law or accounting rules, it would be overly complex and take too much time to build, and more often than not, be useless when put into actual use. That’s why I try to find the middle-ground between what is ideal and a solution that is actually feasible. Being cautious – that is to say, making sure everything is compliant with the law – is obviously important, but going above and behind and delivering things with speed is equally as important.

PayPay is very ambitious, and this is another thing that’s phenomenal about the company.

What was your job before joining PayPay?

I was on the planning team that worked on the payment business at Yahoo Japan. I did things like help decide on what to display to users and merchants on the payment screen. I was put on temporary transfer to PayPay immediately before the release of the PayPay service in October 2018.

Did you have a background in accounting, law, or the backend?

No, so even now, I’m constantly studying and learning on the go. I had zero knowledge of the backend system in particular, so I studied everything from scratch after joining PayPay. I also learned SQL from the beginning because it was up to me to extract data from completed systems to check whether everything was okay.

Learning things from scratch must not have been easy while working!

It was a daunting task, but it did add to my skill set.

Having said that, it’s not as though I’m 100% versed in accounting, legal matters, or technical issues. At the same time, there’s no need to fully understand all those things because there are so many experts in every field working at PayPay that I can ask and get help from along the way. If that doesn’t work, I give up and turn to my boss. (laughs)

A photo of when Mori-san went sightseeing with her colleagues.
What are your goals in your current position?

I’ve been focusing mainly on speed so far, picking an array of tasks by myself, without thinking too much about whether it’s something I should or should not be working on. The service is going to continue to grow even further though, and continuing to do things in the same way probably won’t work. Going forward, I think it will be necessary to define what each person on the team is responsible for and create an organization in which a group of people can work together to deliver things quickly.

Last but not least, do you have a message to the people thinking about applying for the job opening on your team?

It’s a position in which you will be able to get involved with all the different services PayPay provides. Not only that, the services you help build will become available to the general public, which I’m sure will feel very rewarding.

The position also offers a great opportunity to learn about accounting and gain system-related knowledge. It will also help you acquire the ability to find the best solution by looking at the big picture and coordinating between teams – you’ll be able to feel yourself grow at tremendous speed. Most of all though, the job gives you the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds in each of our departments.

Come join the team! Work on solving problems that no one has the answers for, as well as ones where there’s no answer to begin with, and have fun doing it!

Apply for jobs related to this article: Payment system planning (accounting)
Edited by: Daiki (PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team) *Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.
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