CurrencyCast | Episode 1 – The 4 Expectations of FX Automation

26-01-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

It’s finally here! CurrencyCast, our new podcast, is live.  Every week, we’ll provide bite-sized tips and expert insights to help you better manage foreign currencies and optimize your P&L results.

Click on the image above to watch the first episode: The 4 expectations of FX automation


This week, we offer our view on the make-or-break FX challenges treasurers and CFOs will face in 2022. Last year was a highly unpredictable year in terms of currency volatility and this year looks to follow a similar pattern, especially with a sharp shift in interest rates.

But how can you protect your business and profit margins from such instability and uncertainty? Our FX expert and writer, Agustin Mackinlay, outlines his expectations for shifting interest rate differentials across currencies, ongoing profit margin pressure due to rising costs and more during this episode.

He’ll provide insights on how to handle each issue so you can make more informed decisions for your FX risk strategy in 2022.


Head to your preferred channel and catch episode two, where we look at the: 𝐓𝐨𝐩 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐅𝐗 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐲 𝐢𝐧 2022. 


Digital Payments Transformation for 2022

24-01-2022 | treasuryXL | Kyriba | LinkedIn |

By Bob Stark, Global Head of Market Strategy

Instant payments, payments fraud, and pandemic-led digital payments transformation projects have changed the B2B payments journey for CFOs and CIOs. IT teams recognize that new connectivity methods, such as APIs, are required to integrate their ERP platforms with banks, neobanks, and non-bank payment channels while finance departments are seeing the value of new options for instant payment delivery, including Venmo, SEPAInst, and The Clearing House’s Real-Time Payment network.

While the way payments are transmitted from ERP and treasury systems to beneficiaries is clearly modernizing, internal audit and governance teams are instructing finance and IT counterparts that their legacy payment processes are introducing operational risk. Combined with real-time payment settlements, older payment workflows are increasing the possibility of irrevocable mistakes, or worse, fraud. Payments transformation is the answer.

As with any payments project, the first question to be answered is: what is the desired business outcome? What measurable value can be quantified? Generally, for payments transformation initiatives there are three value drivers:

  1. Reduced bank and transaction costs
  2. Improved efficiency
  3. Reduced likelihood of mistakes and fraud

Reduced Bank and Transaction Costs

For many organizations, a digital payments transformation means they can reduce the reliance on expensive payment methods. Checks are a perfect example, where the total cost of ownership is reduced by 50% or more because of the immense internal processing and reconciliation times to send and receive checks.

Same Day ACH – fueled by recent increases in transaction limits – and real-time payments are becoming less expensive alternatives to wire payments, driving down the cost to remit faster payments. Further, payment-on-behalf-of (POBO) models allow for payment in local currencies, reducing currency translation costs, while also introducing the opportunity to net multiple payments to like suppliers and consolidate multiple payment systems into a single payment hub.

Most importantly, bank connectivity can be fully outsourced, which extracts immense cost from IT budgets, where ERPs and other internal systems were connected through hard-coded FTP scripts or reliant on expensive internal SWIFT infrastructures. Whether banks support APIs, FTP, regional networks, or SWIFT, payment connectors from ERPs and treasury to bank are pre-developed with tens of thousands of bank payment formats built into the product to eliminate any custom development to current platforms or when migrating ERPs to the cloud.

Certainly, reducing IT’s role in bank connectivity will save hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, especially when considering the banking industry’s harmonization of bank formats to XML ISO 20022. This initiative, alongside banks’ movement to APIs, would mean years of redevelopment by IT teams to rebuild protocols and formats from ERP to the bank. Payment hubs make this a non-issue, slashing costs while simultaneously eliminating time to market bottlenecks.

Improved Efficiency

Efficiency takes many forms, but the most obvious is the automation of manual processes. Legacy processes require unnecessary time to initiate, approve, review, validate documentation, confirm the authenticity of payment requests, screen for additional compliance requirements (e.g., OFAC screening), and log in to multiple systems to send, confirm, and reconcile payments. For smaller organizations, this can be dozens of hours per week; for larger organizations, the productivity improvements are valued in the $100,000s.

In addition to manual payment initiation and processing, internal collaboration between payments and treasury teams adds complexity that can be better managed. Too many organizations leave excess cash in bank accounts as they lack real-time visibility into payment amounts. This inefficiency is magnified as payments are remitted faster (or even in real-time), meaning cash managers can no longer fund payments the next day. Payables, receivables, and treasury teams must have complete data unification to minimize the amount of cash allocated for working capital. One client, HCSC, reported reducing working capital from $4.0 billion to $25 million by automating internal and external cash visibility.

Fraud Prevention

With 90% of CFOs reporting in 2021 that fraud was the same or worse than it was in 2020, CIOs are collaborating with CFO counterparts to build increased resilience to payments fraud. The initiative goes by different names – payments compliance, payments governance, fraud prevention – the effect is the same. Organizations need to transform their processes to “catch up” to real-time payments. There are four critical tenets that form the base of every payments governance and compliance program:

  • Standardization – The key to eliminating unauthorized payments – even if accidental in nature – is to ensure a standardized set of controls that prevail without exception. Controls could include payment approval scenarios, extra layers of authentication, procedures if approvers are remote and/or unavailable, and specific actions if modifications to the payment are required. The organization’s payment policy should be digitized and enforced by the payment hub software to ensure these controls are consistently applied.
  • Real-Time Payment Screening – Many organizations require payments to be screened against sanctions lists and bank account validation databases prior to sending those instructions to the bank. A simple exercise to verify that the bank account belongs to the intended payee should be part of every payment journey.
  • Digitized Payment Policy – The organization’s payment policy should be digitized for real-time compliance checks. Examples could include payments being made outside of approved countries, the first payment to a new bank account, irregular payment amounts, etc. Every payment should be screened in real-time so that any non-compliant or suspicious payments can be stopped and quarantined in real-time to be reviewed by authorized approvers. As payments continue to diversify across multiple channels (e.g. wires, ACH, checks, real-time) and become more real-time, organizations cannot rely on treasury staff scanning every payment in real-time; nor can they expect their banks to be the last line of defense.
  • Artificial Intelligence – Machine learning is perfectly suited to provide an additional layer of protection by instantly determining if a payment is an anomaly against historical payment patterns. Machine learning algorithms are easily trained using structured payment data from an existing treasury system, ERP, or payment hub to find irregular payments that should be further reviewed. This can be done individually or within payment batches to minimize the impact on the settlement of payment runs.

Additional reading: 15 Minute Guide to Payment Hubs

While fraud prevention is oftentimes the leading requirement driving payments transformation projects, other benefits including outsourced connectivity, enterprise liquidity visibility, process standardization, and multiple cost reductions should not be overlooked as these features will likely pay for the payments project with a lightning-quick ROI. And fortunately, transforming payments can be a large, collaborative project or select capabilities can be implemented incrementally, increasing the value and risk protection within weeks.

Enigma Consulting guides FinMaster’s PSD2 application (Dutch Item)

20-01-2022 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting | LinkedIn |

Boekhoudsoftwareleverancier FinMaster heeft een PSD2-vergunning verkregen voor het verlenen van rekeninginformatiediensten. Het traject werd begeleid door Enigma Consulting.

Het Noord-Hollandse FinMaster levert boekhoudsoftware aan mkb-bedrijven en ondernemers in uiteenlopende branches. Met de cloudapplicatie van het bedrijf kunnen gebruikers hun financiële en verkoopadministratie bijhouden. Accountantskantoren gebruiken de tool om met hun klanten samen te werken.

Met de zogeheten ‘dienst 8’-vergunning van De Nederlandsche Bank biedt FinMaster de mogelijkheid toegang te krijgen tot het uitlezen van betaaltransacties van klanten, zowel consumenten als bedrijven. Hiermee kan het bedrijf zijn dienstverlening optimaliseren en besparen klanten veel tijd.

Krista de Rooi, bestuurder bij FinMaster, legt uit waarom het bedrijf een PSD2-vergunningsaanvraag indiende. “Als innovatieve boekhoudapplicatie ben je altijd op zoek naar ontwikkelingen om het administratieproces voor klanten zo eenvoudig en snel mogelijk te maken.”

“Met deze licentie kunnen we onze klanten helpen door rechtstreeks vanuit hun eigen zakelijke betaalrekening mutaties in onze applicatie te administreren. Vanzelfsprekend alleen met toestemming van de klant.”

Om de aanvraag in goede banen te leiden – het aanvragen van een PSD2-vergunning is een omvangrijk en gecompliceerd traject – schakelde FinMaster de kennis in van Enigma Consulting.

Paul Jans, managing director van Enigma Consulting, over het behalen van de vergunning: “FinMaster laat zien dat niet alleen de grote spelers in de boekhoudsoftware de merites van een PSD2-vergunning omarmen. FinMaster is de uitdaging aangegaan en heeft dit met verve gedaan, wat blijkt uit de verlening van de vergunning.”

Volgens Jans mag FinMaster zich tot de voorlopers onder de boekhoudsoftwarepartijen rekenen, omdat het de automatische boekhoudkoppeling beschikbaar stelt voor alle soorten klanten, waaronder bv’s.

“We zien dat slechts een selecte club aan boekhoudpakketten met een PSD2-vergunning het aandurft om de rekeninginformatiedienst ook voor grotere klanten beschikbaar te stellen, met name vanwege de verscherpte KYC-eisen”, legt hij uit. “FinMaster heeft hiervoor passende processen ingericht waardoor ook mkb-ondernemingen met meerdere administraties kunnen profiteren van de automatische bankkoppeling.”

Open betaalmarkt

Met de PSD2-regelgeving wil de Europese Commissie innovatie en concurrentie stimuleren in de Europese betaalmarkt en ook de veiligheid van het betaalverkeer verbeteren.

Enigma Consulting is een specialist in het domain. Zo begeleidde het adviesbedrijf eerder ook de PSD2-aanvragen van MoneyMonkWolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting en Flow Your Money. Ook adviseert het financiële instellingen over hun PSD2 en open banking strategie.

CurrencyCast | A podcast by Kantox

20-01-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

Introducing our new weekly FX podcast, CurrencyCast! A no-holds-barred series on the urgent foreign exchange challenges facing treasurers and CFOs today.


Introducing our new weekly FX podcast, CurrencyCast! A no-holds-barred series on the urgent foreign exchange challenges facing treasurers and CFOs today.

Every week, FX writer Agustin Mackinlay gets candid about what finance departments are doing wrong when managing their currencies and risk. He’ll provide bite-sized insights to help you better understand your FXrisk and push your treasury to the next level.

It’s an FX masterclass, all in under 10 minutes!

Mark your calendar for January 26th at 10am (CET) and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be one of the first to access our new series.

Subscribe now for the CurrencyCast!


GTreasury Acquires Hedge Trackers, the Global Leader in Hedge Accounting Software and Consulting

18-01-2022 | treasuryXL | GTreasury |

CFO demand for financial risk solutions is soaring; the deal gives GTreasury industry-leading hedge accounting technology and expertise



CHICAGO – January 18, 2022 – GTreasury, a treasury and risk management platform provider, today announced the acquisition of Hedge Trackers, the leading provider of accounting, consulting, and software services to protect clients against financial risk. The acquisition joins Hedge Trackers’ hedge accounting expertise and SaaS solutions with GTreasury’s unparalleled treasury and risk management platform. The combination of the two companies provides customers with best-in-class, integrated risk management technologies while continuing to expand GTreasury’s SaaS ecosystem built for treasury teams and the office of the CFO.
“Most CFOs and treasury teams understand the criticality of exposures and forecasts, but the highest-performing teams recognize and act on the subtle nuances directly impacting exposure,” said Renaat Ver Eecke, the CEO of GTreasury. “These are key decisions that have an outsized effect on corporate finances. Our acquisition of Hedge Trackers creates a unique and exciting opportunity for organizations to significantly, confidently, and advantageously optimize their complex accounting. With GTreasury’s product development capabilities, we can accelerate the expansion of Hedge Trackers’ robust Capella software capabilities and our best-in-class risk management solutions to better meet the requirements of modern CFOs and treasury teams.”

CFOs Drive Unprecedented Demand for Hedging Solutions

CFOs and treasurers face increasing volatility around foreign exchange rates, interest rates, and commodity prices – all of which can result in significant corporate losses without the right strategy, technology, and execution. This is why hedging and risk management solutions, along with hedge accounting services, have experienced such significant growth. FX hedging solutions alone are expected to grow 40 percent in the next two years, according to a recent survey from Topline Strategy, a consulting firm that looks at business technology adoption trends.

“CFOs increasingly realize that hedging is critical for success in a global economy,” said Ver Eecke. “A well-run risk management and hedging program helps CFOs gain control and provide clearer financials despite volatile foreign exchange rates, interest rates, and commodity prices. This acquisition catapults GTreasury into a leading position in the industry: both companies will combine to help CFOs and treasury teams more easily adopt risk management solutions and protect their bottom line.”

Hedge Trackers Brings GTreasury Unparalleled Expertise

Founded in 2000 by industry pioneer Helen Kane, San Jose, Calif.-based Hedge Trackers has amassed unparalleled domain expertise and technical depth in helping CFO offices establish hedging strategies, identify exposure, manage risk, and meet compliance and audit requirements. No public company has been required to restate earnings due to the derivative accounting and reporting practices implemented by Hedge Trackers. The company’s SaaS solutions are used by a wide range of companies, from pre-IPO businesses to the Fortune 100, and span across industry sectors including technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail, defense, energy, banking, and credit unions.

“Your top priority as CFO is determining what matters most in your organization’s financial statements,” said Helen Kane, CEO of Hedge Trackers. “Do you care about revenue? Operating income? With this acquisition, the combined GTreasury and Hedge Trackers teams will help CFOs and the teams they manage to think more strategically. The powerful combination of GTreasury and Hedge Trackers will deliver organizations the most comprehensive and intelligent solution for managing and mitigating financial risk. Hedge Trackers is a perfect fit for GTreasury, and we’re excited to now see all that we can accomplish together.”


About GTreasury

GTreasury is committed to connecting treasury and digital finance operations by providing a world-class SaaS treasury and risk management system and integrated ecosystem where cash, debt, investments and exposures are seamlessly managed within the office of the CFO. GTreasury delivers intelligent insights, while connecting financial value chains and extending workflows to third-party systems, exchanges, portals and services. Headquartered in Chicago, with locations serving EMEA (London) and APAC (Sydney and Manila), GTreasury’s global community includes more than 800 customers and 30+ industries reaching 160+ countries worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partner Interview | VP of GTreasury, Michele Marvin: 9 questions & answers on treasury technology innovation

11-01-2022 | treasuryXL | GTreasury |

 

For three decades, GTreasury has stayed ahead of treasurers’ pain points with new innovations in digital treasury.

Together with Strategic Treasurer, GTreasury surveyed hundreds of global treasurers for the 2021 Treasury Technology Survey ReportA must-read for any corporate treasurer, several findings are particularly eye-opening as treasurers (and the office of the CFO) navigate the next era in treasury technology.

In this comprehensive and transparent interview with Michele Marvin, Global VP at GTreasury, she discusses the ongoing evolution of digital treasury, how new acquisitions and partnerships have shaped GTreasury’s treasury technology ecosystem, and some of the most important findings of the recent treasury technology survey.

Read below for Michele’s thoughts to our nine questions.

Introduction Michele Marvin

 

 

Michele Marvin is a VP at GTreasury, a treasury and risk management platform provider. Prior to joining GTreasury in 2019, Marvin has held leadership roles at several large technology companies, including most recently at Flexera and Zebra Technologies.

 

 

INTERVIEW

 

1. How has GTreasury’s treasury and risk management system evolved with the industry?

GTreasury was one of the first treasury management system (TMS) providers to see the transformative potential of cloud technologies and the future-proof flexibility that a SaaS approach can deliver. Times change but our purpose has always remained the same: modernizing corporate treasury to enable customers to optimize liquidity, manage risk, gain more insight from their data, and maximize their day-to-day productivity. While the tools to accomplish these goals are always evolving, I would argue no one understands what treasurers need to be successful more than GTreasury. We live and breathe digital treasury, and understand that it takes a complete, connected ecosystem to drive true transformation.

2. How would you describe GTreasury’s customer base?

Our platform is used by more than 800 organizations around the world and from across virtually all industries. Customers come to GTreasury either as they leap forward into SaaS-based digital treasury, or when they are seeking to replace alternatives that don’t have enough connectivity into banks and market data resources, don’t have the user experience that treasurers are looking for, or aren’t as advanced in their capabilities (such as AI-fueled cash forecasting).

3. GTreasury has made headlines this year for its acquisitions and partnerships – how have these fit into the company’s roadmap and strategy?

We acquired Coprocess in March 2021, a longtime leader in intercompany netting. As with our previous acquisitions, the deal with Coprocess was spurred by customer feedback for netting capabilities fully-integrated into a treasury management platform, and by our own research. Coprocess brings GTreasury a true multi-tenant, SaaS-delivered solution that’s easy to scale. Users are up and running extremely fast, and it is highly configurable to treasurers’ unique netting process and organizational structures. We’ve also been continuing to make Coprocess a standalone solution for those who want to use intercompany netting outside of a TRMS.

We also recently partnered with Treasury Strategies to add the bank fee analysis technology NDepth into our treasury ecosystem. Corporate treasurers’ biggest expense is often bank fees, but few organizations are able to regularly monitor this expense with the accuracy and insight needed to effect change. With bank fee analysis now powered by NDepth, GTreasury customers have the most powerful bank account management tool, a repository of auditable electronic bank statements, and the mechanisms necessary to help treasurers connect with banks, internal systems, and other third parties.

Strategically, each of our acquisitions and partnerships bolsters the capabilities of our core products and supports further digitalization of the office of the CFO. That’s by design. We want to proactively stay ahead of treasurers’ pain points by providing a seamless, connected, and complete digital treasury experience, and we want to ensure that the right integrations and data access is available to empower the CFO’s office. We’ll continue to make purposeful acquisitions and partnership that support these goals.

4. GTreasury and the treasury consulting firm Strategic Treasurer recently released the 2021 Treasury Technology Survey Report. Before getting into the data itself – who was surveyed?

The survey collected responses to 50+ questions from more than 250 treasurers (with a global sampling). This recent report was really the first-of-its kind to look at how far along organizations are in their digital treasury transformations, the technologies they are most excited about, and where resistance remains.

5. What were some of the key findings that treasurers should pay attention to?

Significant technology adoption is anticipated. Payment factories, treasury aggregators, and TMS solutions are expected to realize 35% to 45% growth over the next two years.

  • APIs are becoming must-have capabilities. Seventy-three percent of corporate treasury groups indicated that APIs are critical to their current processes. Machine learning capabilities are also drawing outsized focus from treasurers further along in their modernization initiatives.
  • The gap between cash forecasting importance and reality is high. While cash forecasting is very important to 84% of treasurers, only 38% indicate they are performing at a high rate of accuracy.
  • Fraud prevention gains a heightened focus. Thwarting fraud is a top focus for 77% when considering the application of new technology in product development. Treasurers also report high demand for incorporating automation into fraud prevention processes.
  • Resistance to formats remains. Comparing legacy formats to newer and more enriched formats like XML, treasurers showed surprisingly high levels of resistance to adoption.

6. What are the benefits that treasury teams are missing out on by still using legacy data formats?

Really the biggest shortcoming of legacy data formats is the formatting itself. Legacy data formats are inconsistent and can vary across different banks. They also store information held in single run-on strings, requiring customers to decipher messy text blobs to understand critical transaction information. Newer formats are far easier to work with. Systems can parse information into separate fields, making information much clearer to users, thus expediting processing and routing.

Treasury teams reap substantial benefits from these formatting advantages, including improved visibility of their cash position, easier cash tracking, and reductions in manual errors. Ultimately, clearer formatting increases operational efficiency, enabling daily reconciliation practices that minimize fraud and accelerate month-end closings.

7. GTreasury is also uniquely connected to how a broad set of treasurers have responded to ongoing pandemic-related business uncertainties. What are a couple stories or trends that have emerged from that research and from speaking with treasurers across the world?

We’ve been working with Strategic Treasurer throughout the lifecycle of its really fascinating and ongoing survey (The Global Crisis/Recovery Monitor), digging into treasurers’ responses to the pandemic. Two trends really stick out to me:

Ongoing economic uncertainty accelerated treasury projects that could add efficiency. In particular, digital automation and process optimization became must-haves as treasurers needed to provide reporting to executives at a faster rate. Most treasurers reported being on the road to more automation and treasury process modernization, but the pandemic kicked those initiatives ahead. Manual slowdowns that might have been tolerable pre-pandemic quickly proved to be a liability.

Cash visibility and forecasting became even more important (and will stay that way). Cash forecasting reporting became a daily event for many treasurers (more often than once-a-day in some cases), as businesses needed to make critical decisions against an ever-changing environment. Even as the pandemic subsides, many treasurers believe the pace and importance of reporting on cash visibility and forecasting won’t revert to pre-pandemic norms. Newer capabilities like AI-fueled cash forecasting (we added SmartPredictionsTM last year) will continue to make these reports more accurate and efficient to produce.

Also, for a specific story on how one of our customers, Canadian Tire, quickly shifted focus from historical data to real-time data because of the pandemic, check out Data-Driven Treasury in Global Finance.

8. Speaking of cash forecasting, GTreasury and Strategic Treasurer also just put the 2021 Cash Forecasting & Visibility Survey. What were some of the key takeaways that treasurers will want to pay attention to?

The report is worth a read for any treasurer (and available for full download here). Among the findings likely to pique interest among treasurers and CFOs are:

  • Treasurers want real-time global cash position updating. The majority of treasurers are seeking global cash positions that can update on a real-time or intraday basis, but many report being stuck with weekly (or less frequent) updates. Just seven percent of survey respondents are currently achieving real-time cash position updates.
  • The use of AI and ML in cash forecasting is nascent but accelerating. While just 6% of respondents are currently using AI/ML for forecasting, the report indicates that number should swell to 27% of organizations within the next two years.
  • More budget is being allotted for treasury and forecasting technology. Over the next year, more than 35% of companies plan “extremely heavy spending” on treasury systems and forecasting.

9. What excites you most about where digital treasury is headed?

Digital treasury ecosystems are rapidly becoming more integrated and more robust. For treasurers, this is enabling unprecedented efficiency. I was just speaking with a customer who leads corporate treasury at an international beverages company – he told me he and his team freed up 40% of their daily bandwidth following a migration to modernized treasury infrastructure. There are night-and-day gains to be made by modernizing treasury processes with the right technology.

The benefit here is that as new tools automate treasury minutiae, CFOs and treasury teams are gaining a free hand to focus on strategy. The role of the treasurer is evolving thanks to this increased capacity, and it’s exciting to see teams exploring new strategic territory where they can contribute and deliver value. Establishing netting processes and ensuring their excellence is a strong example of the advantages digital treasury can enable. Superior risk management along a more extensive time horizon is another. At the end of the day, digital treasury technology enabling improved cost controls and visibility is empowering treasury teams to introduce and optimize financial management processes in entirely new areas, and we’re eager to see it.

Get in touch with GTreasury to learn and explore more, click below.

 

 

 

 

 

Digital rules (URDTT) for Trade Finance: What, How and When?

10-01-2022 | Wim Kok | treasuryXL | LinkedIn

 

Watch Episode 1 of a series of free, educational videos focusing on Uniform Rules for Digital Trade Transactions (URDTT)

 

 

Trade Advisory Network Limited and treasuryXL Trade Finance experts launched their first episodes of a series of free, educational videos on URDTT. There will be 6 episodes in total covering all aspects of the development, interpretation, and application of URDTT in the context of a digital trade strategy. In the upcoming 6 months you can expect one educational video per month.

What can you expect in the first episode?

This first episode focuses on the background to the decision to create a new set of rules for digital trade transactions and provides definitions of some of the most important terms. Subsequent episodes will focus on the use of electronic records, payment obligations and, the role of banks/non-bank financial service providers.

Duration: 19.20 min

WATCH NOW FOR FREE

Enjoy, explore and develop!

Interested to know more about this topic and the upcoming educational videos? Contact our Expert Wim Kok.

 

Wim Kok

International Business Consultant
Trade Finance Specialist

 

 

 

 

Tame the ghost! Cancellations & currency management in Travel

20-12-2021 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

How to automate the FX treatment of cancellations

It is no secret that the wave of cancellations following Covid-imposed travel restrictions has been a nightmare for travellers, airlines, hotel chains and tour operators alike. In the United States alone, cancelled domestic flights peaked at 137 thousand in April 2021. Largely due to cancellations, air traffic in Europe in 2021 was barely equivalent to 43% of the level seen before the pandemic.

Given the amount of time and resources devoted to adjusting their refunding policies, many players in the industry are still scared by the ghost of cancellations. But is that fear warranted? Not when it comes to FX management. This is because Currency Management Automation gives travel companies the tools to minimise the P&L impact of cancellations.

When it comes to FX management, the message is crystal clear: the ghost can be tamed.

Cancellations and FX exposure

FX risk management is a process in three phases: the pre-trade, the trade and the post-trade phase. Cancellations are an important element of the pre-trade phase, when the exposure to currency risk is collected and processed. Now, the type of exposure and the way it is managed depends, crucially, on each business’ pricing dynamics (see: “The hidden secret behind the different types of FX exposure”).

In the Travel world, dynamic prices are the norm (see: Currency Management Automation in Travel Distribution). OTAs, Bed banks, Hotel chains, DMCs and others frequently update their FX-denominated prices, and their cash flows are at risk from the moment of the bookings till settlement. For this reason, most Travel distribution firms apply micro-hedging programs that take those ‘firm commitments’ as the key FX exposure item.

This is where cancellations kick in. A cancelled FX-denominated booking diminishes the exposure to currency risk if the corresponding hedge has not been executed, or if an already executed trade is closed out at the same FX rate. Otherwise, there would be a situation of over-hedging. Manually adjusting hundreds or thousands of individual pieces of exposure to their corresponding hedges can quickly become an impossibly complicated task.

Taming the ghost in FX-related cancellations

Currency Management Automation provides treasurers with a number of tools to tame the ghost of cancellations. The first line of defence is to include —as part of business rules defined in the process of FX automation— an automatic cancellation rate. For example, if managers set an average cancellation rate of 10%, Kantox Dynamic Hedging® will hedge the remaining 90% hedge of the bookings.

As more information becomes available, this cancellation rate can be refined and adjusted by management when it so desires. While it is good practice to try and anticipate events, perfect accuracy cannot be expected in matters related to travel cancellations, especially in the current situation. This is why a second line of defence is provided by what our FX automation software takes as ‘negative entries’, a more efficient way to deal with cancellations. Let us briefly see how that works.

An entry is an individual piece of exposure. As part of the implementation phase of the software, risk managers establish a set of business rules that include —for each currency pair— the accumulated value of the entries they wish to hedge. These instructions also include a rule for setting negative entries from their own ERP, Booking Engine or Data Lake in the event of cancellations. API-transmitted negative entries automatically cancel the corresponding FX exposure.

But what happens when a negative entry is pushed after the corresponding hedge has been executed? Not much. Because travel-related FX exposure typically includes hundreds/thousands of individual transactions, new positions are constantly entered for the same currency pair and value date. The more granular the information included in these entries, the more accurate the FX hedging process, and the better the traceability of each piece of exposure.

Conclusion: speed is the name of the game

As the effects of the global pandemic still loom large, the ability to quickly process cancellations is a must for airlines, hotel chains and wholesalers in general. FX management is an integral part of this process — and it relies mostly on automated micro-hedging programs for bookings or ‘firm commitments”.

These micro-hedging programs, in turn, automatically treat cancellations as a key element of the ‘pre-trade’ phase of exposure management. If your aim is to tame the ghost of cancellations —while relieving the finance team from performing repetitive, resource-consuming and potentially risky manual tasks—, FX automation is the starting point.

The time to act is now!

Currency Volatility Is A Catalyst for Response by Treasury

15-12-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba | LinkedIn |

The Q2 2021 Kyriba Currency Impact Report showed a strong tailwind for many US corporates driven in large part by the strengthening of two main trading currencies for many US corporates, EUR and GBP.

Both currencies strengthened steadily through Q2 2021, but currencies have since retreated through Q3 2021, setting up a return of relatively strong headwinds for the Q3 earnings season.

Euro-US Dollar Rate
British Pound-US Dollar Rate

As we look forward to Q3 and Q4 currency impacts, it is very likely we will see increased levels of negative currency impacts for North American and European corporates as a result of continued business activity expansion combined with the return of a stronger USD and general market uncertainty. The recent impact of the newest COVID variant, Omicron, has also added a new level of uncertainty-driven volatility and questions about how businesses and central banks will respond.

Beyond the general level of market uncertainty there are a few other economic and operational challenges that are adding to the complexity of managing currency risk and liquidity.  With inflationary conditions starting to take hold in the US and other parts of the world, Treasurers and CFOs are having to contend with increasing supply chain costs. In addition, the supply chain disruptions are increasing the uncertainty of business operations. Many treasury teams are far less confident in their long-term cash flow forecasts which has many reconsidering their hedging and liquidity needs.

How are Corporate Risk Managers responding to the currency markets and supply chain disruptions? 

Treasury teams are faced with a complex set of variables in the current market environment. Their long-term cash flow forecasts are less and less reliable due to uncertainty related to supply chain disruptions. The disruptions are impacting both the supply side and the revenue side of the forecasts. There is increased uncertainty around both the value and timing of supply chain cash out flows. On the revenue side, there is also uncertainty around the value and timing of future inflows as manufacturers are having a hard time getting products on the shelves. In addition, the currency markets are adding to the complexity as the USD is strengthening or at least holding strong against a broad basket of currencies.

As a result, many treasury teams are re-focusing on the things they can control. Daily and even intra-day cash position monitoring is the norm now and combining that with an increased focus on FX hedging for working capital positions on the balance sheet are critical best practices to ensure treasury teams have the right amount of cash in the proper currency at the right time to cover vendor and supplier payments and ensure they maintain a strong liquidity position as they ride out the supply chain storm.

Another challenge FX risk managers are having to contend with is the by-product of improper posting of multi-currency transactions within their ERP system(s). When volatile currency markets are creating significant directional moves in various currency pairs, it often uncovers multi-currency accounting posting mistakes as well as missed exposures. This missed exposures and improper accounting postings can results in very surprising results that often create significant FX losses. The most frustrating aspect of these types of FX impacts is that they are entirely self-inflicted.  With proper Exposure Data Integrity Analytics and robust and dynamic exposure capture processes, these self-inflicted currency impacts can be anticipated and avoided.

Ultimately, Treasury teams that can monitor and manage their liquidity and working capital FX exposure in a single integrated platform have a distinct advantage in the current market.

 

The hidden secret behind the different types of foreign exchange exposure

23-11-2021 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn

Fresh from leaving the famous Genesis rock band that he helped found, songwriter and musician Peter Gabriel came out with an innovative album called Exposure, where his fascination with electronics and new recording techniques was openly on display. In the eponymous song, he kept on droning the E-word over and over:

Exposure
Exposure
Exposure
Exposure
Exposure