SpendLab Analyzer | Centralization of Accounts Payable Data Platforms

| 7-4-2020 | treasuryXL | SpendLab Recovery |

Our Partner SpendLab Recovery is introducing the SpendLab Analyzer, a way to centralize accounts payable data platforms worldwide. The platform has the ability to detect failures on Vendor level and provide real time insight. Furthermore, the SpendLab Analyzer can discover undue, incorrect double payments and VAT anomalies

More and more CFOs and Financial Controllers are choosing to work with the latest technology available within the SpendLab Analyzer because of the direct results in extra money, savings and data quality. The result of the analyzer is a recovery of more than 240 million euros in overpaid amounts to the tax authorities and suppliers over the past 5 years.

In addition, the quality in data improvement helps to save money in processes and the statistics ensure that the Compliance & Risk reporting is improved. The SpendLab Analyzer can be used independently of the ERP system (SAP, JD-Edwards, Oracle) used by the organization.

More info and contact information here.

 

Centralising Payments and Fraud Management with Kyriba – Şişecam

30-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

Şişecam is a Turkey-based, multi-national glass manufacturer that wanted to centralise payments, get better visibility of the group’s accounts and reduce the potential for fraud. Kyriba helped them achieved all this – and more.

Barış Gokalp, Head of Treasury at Şişecam explains the background to the project: “when I joined Şişecam, it was very decentralised, with each company managing its own banking operation. We had too many banks, over 60 companies and multiple ERP systems. After 2013 we did a lot of M&A so there were various different ERPs. There was also a lots of connection types, including SFTP, fax and email, with no standardisation. Each payment operation had its own route, which made it hard to manage.”

“We realised that first we had to solve the connectivity issue with the banks. We figured out that we were spending a lot of time answering how much money do we have and also on the banking operations for our payments.”

Levent Coskuner, Managing Partner of ELC Strategy which advised Şişecam, explains the approach taken: “we knew the internal culture and structure of financing at Şişecam, so we were looking for the best global solution. Between his arrival at Şişecam and the end of 2018, Barış and I visited various countries to understand the different options. It was very important that the solution was very scalable and secure – security was one of the main issues. And given that they have multiple ERPs, we needed a standardised approach. Kyriba has the number one SaaS solution.”

The project had several key elements. “The focus was on enabling payments for ERP systems, centralising and securing them,” says Nik Romano, Head of Emerging Markets at Kyriba. “But they also wanted to gain visibility into the group’s bank accounts. Şişecam selected us as much on the capability of our technology from an application perspective as on the capability to enable connections across so many banks and so many jurisdictions.”

When the Şişecam team looked at Kyriba’s references they realised that a lot of companies have worries about transactions, and that was one of the key points in their decision.

“The number of transactions is not important to us, rather the variety of those transactions. We saw that our geographic reach – Kyriba’s and Şişecam’s – matched, and when we visited Kyriba clients to get references the feedback was marvellous!” says Gokalp.

Tackling supply chain finance was not on the initial agenda, but when the Şişecam team visited a Kyriba client in France they realised that they could also use the treasury management system for other parts of their treasury activities. So although they began with account visibility and payment operations, they realised that they could also include supply chain finance, FX management, cash flow management and cash flow forecasting.

“As the treasury director I saw that we could manage all our treasury activities on one platform with many banks, many countries and many companies. Perfect!” says Gokalp.

“We began to go live with the various countries within the Şişecam group, and by the end of 2021 we will have finished that. All the connections will be established and all the payments will be done via Kyriba. We have also begun to sort out the supply chain finance issues and we will plug the banks into our supply chain finance because we know that a company’s strength comes from its suppliers. In addition, we know that we can manage our FX position via Kyriba. So we will look at that and, if we can manage to finalise things, we will also use Kyriba’s cash flow management module by the end of next year,” says Gokalp.

Gokalp agrees that fraud was the key motivation for the group’s top management. “As all treasurers know, we need to do the checks before the money leaves,” he says. “You should establish in your workflow rules, so that if there is some ‘noise’ around a payment, you can stop it. We have begun to follow where the money is going and when it will reach us. I hope that by the end of the next year we will be fully digitalised, which is one of the objectives of our organisation. The payment file will come from the ERP and no one will be able to touch it, it goes directly via Kyriba.”

Full digitisation means that when a file is created it goes directly and securely to Kyriba, through the approval process and on to the bank. The ERP and the accountants can see in a couple of minutes what has happened to the payment and, if there is a rejection or some other problem that is also reflected back to the ERP system. This is a fully integrated process.

As with so many clients, the Covid crisis showed Şişecam just what their new system could do.

Gokalp explains: “When the pandemic hit we were initially using Kyriba with five companies in Turkey, but in two days all the companies were able to use Kyriba for payments. So the need for the people to come into the office for the signatures and approvals – that was all removed. That was a big credibility boost for the project as well. Before, it was very hard to make a payment. You sent it to the bank and then it arrived, or, if it didn’t you just sent it again. But now all this is done in 10 minutes max.”

“At first some people internally were worried about this project, but when they understood what the project entailed, they too wanted to be part of it.”

About Şişecam

Şişecam is one of the biggest glass manufacturers in the world, based in Turkey but with operations in the Eurozone, Russia, India and Egypt. The group manufactures all sorts of glass – table glass, glass packaging, flat glass and automotive glass – and also produces the chemicals used to produce glass. It has 20 companies worldwide and is working with approximately 60 banks.

Bankensurvey: (klein)banken willen samenwerken op één platform (Dutch Item)

29-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Enigma Consulting heeft in 2020 rondom het thema outsourcing een survey afgenomen onder vijftien in Nederland gevestigde klein- en middelgrote banken. Het betreft wholesale- en retailbanken, private banken en spaarbanken. De resultaten staan gepubliceerd in het rapport outsourcing.



Transitie vraagt om investeringen in infrastructuur

Door ontwikkelingen, zoals wet- en regelgeving, Instant Payments, Open Banking, en de toenemende concurrentie van fintech’s, bigtech’s en challengerbanken, maakt de bankensector een enorme transformatie door. Dit vereist een voortdurende investering in de bancaire infrastructuur.

Het bedrijfsmodel van banken staat zwaar onder druk. Zeker de klein en middelgrote banken zijn op zoek naar kostenverlaging en consolidatie. Door samen te werken kunnen banken een kostenbesparingen realiseren en de continue verandering het hoofd bieden. De resultaten van de survey laten zien dat banken outsourcing zeker als oplossingsrichting onderkennen:

Outsourcing leidt tot de mogelijkheid om samen te werken en het creëren van partnerships. Niet alleen met solution providers, maar ook met gelijkgestemde banken. Met als doel samen te werken aan een standaard infrastructuur waar meerdere partijen gebruik van kunnen maken. De aangesloten partijen op het platform dragen gezamenlijk bij aan de markt gedreven ontwikkelingen.

In een wereld waarin klanten steeds meer verwachten van de digitale services van hun bank, is het noodzakelijk voor kleine en middelgrote banken om mee te gaan met de enorme transformatie die de bankensector ondergaat. Klanten verwachten namelijk hetzelfde niveau van digitalisering als dat zij in het dagelijks leven ervaren. Het gemak en de snelheid waarmee eten online besteld kan worden, moet ook in de bancaire dienstverlening als standaard gelden.

Klantervaring centraal

Outsourcing kan deze klantverwachting vervullen. Door ontzorging via outsourcing kan de focus gericht worden op specifieke klantdiensten of integratie met diensten van derde partijen. De klantervaring komt op deze manier centraal te staan. Een mindset die voor kleine banken misschien wel noodzakelijk is om te overleven.

Ondanks de voordelen van outsourcing worden ook een aantal nadelen genoemd. Bijna alle banken geven aan dat ze bang zijn om controle te verliezen door de grote afhankelijkheid die ontstaat door outsourcing. Als bank ben je aangewezen op de roadmap van de solution provider. Daar staat tegenover dat door gezamenlijk op te trekken in partnership met een provider er juist grotere invloed kan worden uitgeoefend.

Banken eisen vaak specifieke aanpassingen in hun core banking en betalingsinfrastructuur. Als gevolg hiervan ontstaat er een wildgroei van aanpassingen op ‘standaard’ core-banking producten. Zo lang banken dit blijven doen, is er geen ruimte voor gezamenlijke productontwikkeling en zal onderhoud intensief zijn en hoge kosten met zich meebrengen. Juist een gezamenlijke ontwikkeling kan er voor zorgen dat er één standaard oplossing komt voor de Nederlandse markt.

Minder flexibel

Ook geven banken aan minder flexibel te zijn wanneer ze hun core-banking outsourcen. Bij veranderingen in de organisatiestructuur of ontwikkelingen in de bankensector kan er niet meer geschakeld worden naar andere of betere software. Daartegenover staat dat een bank ook nu voor core-banking een lange termijn visie hanteert. Een systeem wordt geselecteerd om een decennium, en waarschijnlijk langer, mee te gaan. Daarom is het van groot belang om een toekomst vaste (modulaire) oplossing te kiezen. Sterker nog: banken kunnen hier beter kiezen voor een aanbieder die zich opstelt als partner, die proactief de ontwikkelingen volgt in plaats van louter een leverancier te kiezen.

”Samenwerking, outsourcing en partnering op een modulair core-banking platform lijkt de toekomst voor banken”

Veel banken ervaren dezelfde veranderingen in de markt. Iedere bank analyseert de impact van deze veranderingen individueel. Ook banken met verschillende core-banking systemen kunnen gezamenlijk deze analyse fase doorlopen. Op deze manier komen banken meer met elkaar in contact. Het gemeenschappelijk analyseren van de impact van een verandering is het spreekwoordelijke ‘low hanging fruit’, als eerste stap richting samenwerking binnen het core-banking domein. Een volgende stap is het collectief ontwikkelen en gebruiken van generieke core-banking producten, maar de survey wijst ook uit dat banken willen samenwerken bij CCD en AML, reconciliatie en de Sparen administratie.

Het vervangen van een standaard core banking systeem vergt een serieuze investering en commitment. Een gezamenlijk core-banking landschap moet zodanig worden ingericht dat modulaire producten kunnen worden aangesloten en banken makkelijk kunnen instappen met een deel van hun infrastructuur.

Samenvattend

Samenwerking, outsourcing en partnering op een modulair core-banking platform lijkt de toekomst voor banken. Dit wordt door de huidige stand van de technologie meer dan mogelijk gemaakt. Dit betekent wel een paradigma verandering bij zowel banken als leveranciers. Om gezamenlijk tot een oplossing te komen moeten alle partijen zich er bewust van zijn dat langdurig commitment en een lange termijn visie vereist zijn.

Voor een totaaloverzicht van de uitkomsten, download de bankensurvey hier.

5 essential questions to let Kyriba manage TRILLIONS of dollars every day

22-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba | Joe Marcin

Someone recently asked Joe Marcin, “What does Kyriba really do?” he thought about it for a moment and although Kyriba solves some really complex problems for their customers, it really comes down to a pretty simple answer.

At Kyriba, they help some of the world’s most well-known companies, government entities, and financial institutions answer these 5 essential questions:

  1. How much money do I have?
  2. Where is it?
  3. How much money will I have in the future?
  4. How do I optimize the way I move my money across financial institutions, legal entities, and international borders to lower risk and minimize costs?
  5. How do I turn my money into a growth asset by investing it in ways that yield higher returns while not increasing risk or lowing my access to liquidity whenever I need it?

Enterprise Liquidity Management is transforming the office of the CFO from a cost center to a profit center for customers all over the world. That is why the Kyriba customers trust them to manage TRILLIONS of dollars for them every day.

See some of the success stories here: https://lnkd.in/gp7sZMW

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

How to anticipate Liquidity risks to secure the Cash Flow

15-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

For the past 10 years we have lived with an overabundance of liquidity. In most people’s minds, abundant liquidity means constant availability. But the subprime crisis, the European debt crisis and now the COVID pandemic have shown the opposite to be true.

In a world of extreme volatility, liquidity flows can be interrupted overnight. And for financial managers therein lies the paradox. Despite its overabundance, it has never been more crucial to secure, diversify, monitor and optimise liquidity.

Prepare for the unthinkable.

In this environment, liquidity is obviously strategic, but above all it must be seen as a volatile and fragile resource, especially vulnerable to market disruptions whose occurrence and scope are unforeseeable by definition as well as by their very nature. The health crisis showed us that nothing is safe from a complete, abrupt halt, not even cash flow from operations, across every sector.

CFOs must now prepare their companies for the unthinkable! They will need to spend more and more time and energy to activate every possible source of liquidity by monitoring prices, availability, term, currencies and security packages for each of these sources. They will do this with a constant focus on optimisation, and above all must be ready to make snap decisions about sources that have run dry. It’s a massive undertaking. In a world of extreme volatility, Active Liquidity Management will make tomorrow’s leaders stand out from the crowd.

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

Interbank Payments Transactions (Dutch Item)

10-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

The playing field of interbank settlement and settlement of international payments is being overhauled. In Europe, Target2, T2S and TIPS are being consolidated in a new platform. The international payment and reporting messages between banks will be switched from MT to ISO20022. Now SWIFT comes with a new Transaction Management Platform for international payments and securities transactions. That means a lot of work for institutions using the Target systems and SWIFT. Enigma Consulting can help you analyze and implement the changes.

Target Consolidatie

De huidige Target2, T2S en TIPS-systemen van de Europese centrale banken worden ondergebracht in een nieuw platform voor Europees interbancair betalingsverkeer. Naast deze drie systemen maken onder meer een centrale opzet van het liquiditeitsbeheer (CLM), centraal beheer van gemeenschappelijke gegevens en een geharmoniseerde interface met de buitenwereld (ESMIG) deel uit van het nieuwe platform. En het berichtenverkeer van en naar Target2 migreert van MT naar ISO20022. Al deze veranderingen krijgen hun beslag in een big bang implementatie per 21 november 2022.

Neemt uw instelling direct of indirect deel aan één van de Target-systemen? Dan moet u vóór die tijd uw processen en IT-systemen aanpassen aan de nieuwe werkwijze, berichtenstandaard en interface. Daarbij moet u voldoen aan de verschillende mijlpalen die de Europese Centrale Bank heeft gedefinieerd.

Migratie naar ISO20022

Het interbancaire berichtenverkeer in het kader van internationale betalingen via SWIFT migreert van de MT naar de ISO20022 (MX) standaard. Het gaat hierbij met name om de betaalberichten uit de MT1- en MT2-serie en de rapportageberichten uit de MT9-serie. Het gebruik van de MX-berichten en de vertaalregels tussen MT en MX worden in goede banen geleid door de Cross Border Payments and Reporting Plus Group (CBPR+) van de banken en SWIFT. De migratie zelf wordt uitgesmeerd over de periode november 2022 tot en met november 2025.

Initieert of verwerkt uw instelling internationale betalingen via SWIFT? Of verstuurt of ontvangt uw instelling rekening- of transactierapportages via SWIFT? Dan moeten uw IT-systemen aan de ISO20022 formaten en regels worden aangepast. En omdat de technische aansluiting op het SWIFT-netwerk met de overstap op MX-berichten ook wijzigt, moet die ook worden aangepast.

Hoe kunnen wij u helpen?

Onze interbancair betalingsverkeer experts kunnen u helpen bij het analyseren van de impact en begeleiden van de implementatie van de wijzigingen in het kader van de Target-consolidatie en de migratie van MT naar ISO20022. U kunt daarbij denken aan het volgende:

Target-consolidatie
  • Adviseren over nieuwe opzet van rekeningen bij de Europese Centrale Bank.
  • Analyseren en inrichten van de processen in het kader van betalingen en liquiditeitsbeheer.
  • Analyseren van de impact van de nieuwe ISO20022 berichten voor uw instelling én voor uw klanten.
  • Workshops over het verandergebied, de processen en de berichtenstandaard.
Migratie naar ISO20022
  • Analyseren van de impact van de nieuwe ISO20022 berichten voor uw instelling én voor uw klanten.
  • Adviseren over en analyseren van de impact van het nieuwe Transaction Management Platform van SWIFT.
  • Workshops over het verandergebied, de processen en de berichtenstandaard.

Geïnteresseerd of wilt u meer weten? Neem dan contact op met één van onze consultants.

Corporates: Caveat IBOR and Build-Up Your IBOR Knowledge!

01-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Last year November we published the article ‘Corporates: Caveat IBOR!’ regarding the IBOR phase out and the impact on corporates. Let’s have a look why today’s corporate treasurer should be even more aware of IBOR interest rate benchmarks.

It is highly likely that your organisation will be affected by the IBOR transition. Most corporate organisations underestimate the impact, thinking that the ‘only’ thing that will change is a base rate and its calculation method. Before you join their ranks, take some time to reflect on the following:

The IBOR will cease to exist, starting on the 31st December 2021 and be replaced by Risk-Free Rates (RFRs) with a different basis for calculation:

  • These changes will impact financial (e.g. bond, (intercompany) loan, (multi-currency) credit facility) contracts as well as commercial contracts with an IBOR related ‘late payment clause’
  • This in turn will impact processes in the Treasury functions, with knock-on effects to supporting departments, Legal, IT systems, accounting, and tax reporting to name just a few
  • IBOR transition is progressing at a different pace across jurisdictions and financial products (e.g. loans, bonds, and derivatives), adding to the complexity of managing the transition
  • The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates (RFRWG) published the following milestones regarding GBP LIBOR:
    • By end-Q1 2021, all legacy GBP LIBOR contracts expiring after end 2021 that can be actively converted need to be identified, and progress active conversion where viable through to completion by end-Q3 2021
    • Active steps to enable a shift of volumes from GBP LIBOR to SONIA in non-linear derivative markets: by end-Q2 2021, initiation of new GBP LIBOR linked non-linear derivatives that expire after the end of 2021 will be ceased; and, by end-Q3 2021, complete active conversion

The good news is that there is still time to assess the impact of the pending IBOR changes on your organisation and to act upon it if needs be. The sooner you have a plan for the potential consequences for your organisation, the sooner you will be able to mitigate these. This understanding will also give you more leverage in the coming discussions with your bank(s).

Moreover, the IBOR phase out may bring a golden opportunity for corporates to re-evaluate the current contract agreements and look for better deals. Consider this: during the IBOR migration contracts are in fact ‘renegotiated’ and banks will need to come up with a new offer. Will you take that offer as a corporate client? That all depends on your level of understanding and preparation.

What should you do to prepare?

As the deadline approaches, you will need to know your level of exposure and impact in order to prevent surprises. What will the impact of the IBOR transition be on your TMS and ERP systems, your credit facilities, bank loans, cash pooling, bonds, ISDA agreements and intercompany agreements? What impacts will these have on your processes and supporting systems? Which complexities will need to be managed?

 

 

Having this information at hand will enable you to be a proper sparring partner for your banks when they renegotiate contract terms.

Depending on the complexity of your contracts, the IBOR phase out could substantially affect your corporate organisation. Prevent unnecessary loss by preparing yourself, following this five-step approach:

 

  • IBOR phase out knowledge build-up

Corporates should start to build-up their knowledge regarding the IBOR phase-out and get up-to-speed with developments related to different kind of products and RFRs in order to be able to assess the IBOR phase-out impact. Each corporate organisation has a different situation and a variety of financial contracts. Complexity depends on the type of business. A larger organisation active across multiple regions in the world with more complex non-Euro instruments will be impacted higher than a smaller organisation that only is active locally within the Eurozone. Thorough knowledge about IBOR is a key starting point to assess the impact on your organisation and to be able to assess, plan and implement the migration to alternative reference rates.

  • Assess impact

The second step you should take is to analyse the IBOR related contracts in use throughout your organisation. Determine which contracts have an IBOR related component and the size of the exposure. Once you have assessed the complexity of your IBOR related contracts, analyse the impact on related areas (ranging from Tax and Legal to IT systems, and procedures, reporting, accounting (e.g. hedge-accounting), and the like).

  • Become a prepared discussion partner for your bank(s)

The third step is to be prepared for a call with your bank to discuss an RFR offering! The magnitude of change is well-recognised by banks and financial institutions, and they are demonstrating an increasing sense of urgency to address contracts maturing after 2021. More and more newly issued IBOR related products by your bank(s) will refer to a new alternative reference rate during 2021.

  • Plan actions

Knowing the alternative RFRs is an important input on creating a detailed action plan. Define a project team governance to manage this action plan and the status of the transition across different areas, business lines, and geographical locations. In particular, take care to ensure external resource availability regarding e.g. Legal counselling and system provider experts, as demand for these specialists will rapidly increase as the IBOR transition deadline approaches.

  • Act and implement

Step five is the implementation of your action plan throughout the affected areas of your organisation. In this ‘Act’ phase it is important to maintain the conversation with external parties, such as banks and system providers. It is also of vital importance to support the implementation across all relevant business lines and functions, maintaining support for go-live readiness in line with the defined action plan and deadlines.

A golden opportunity starts with IBOR knowledge build-up

Enigma Consulting supports you in knowledge build-up by providing ‘tailor-made’ workshops in order to discuss the impact on your corporate organisation related to different RFRs for different products based on your specific situation and to help you to prepare and become a discussion partner with your bank.

IBOR may well be a golden opportunity, but it is up to you as a corporate treasurer to seize it by acting rather sooner than later! Corporates: Caveat IBOR and build up your knowledge!

If you are interested in how we can help you to build-up your knowledge and to assess your IBOR related contract complexity or if you want to understand how we can support your corporate organisation in the IBOR phase out transition, you can contact us on:

dpluta@enigmaconsulting.nl or look at www.enigmaconsulting.nl

Daniel Pluta

 

 

 

Kyriba Webinar: How Connectivity-as-a-Service Can Help In ERP Migration

25-02-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

4th March • 2pm GMT • 3pm CET

In this webinar Kyriba and Deloitte will discuss some of the challenges and time constraints faced in bank connectivity and outline how Kyriba’s Connectivity-As-A-Service can accelerate global banking connectivity projects by more than 80%.

The agenda will follow:

  • The Connectivity-as-a-Service challenges
  • The Kyriba Connectivity Network
  • A case study on implementation with Deloitte

REGISTER NOW to understand more of the issues related to cost-control, deployment, security and bank connectivity when embarking on large-scale ERP cloud migration projects.


Date:

March 4, 2pm GMT/ 3pm CET

Contact:

7 steps on how to make Cash Flow forecast a success

| 15-02-2021 | Bas Kolenburg

Last year was a good example to remind organizations that cash flow forecasting is important, although, very little were prepared for the unprecedented, sharp and abrupt changes in turnover and cash flow due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

CFO’s have been asking:

  • Where is the cash?
  • Are we prepared for all the contingencies?
  • Do we know how our cash flow will hold up for the rest of the year?
  • Will we meet the covenants set in our credit facilities?

In many treasuries, cash flow forecasting is a well-established basic core process, but from my experience it is often a “struggle” where the results do not always outweigh the efforts. Why is this process so difficult and more importantly: how can you make the cash flow forecast process a success?

Here are 7 steps that will help your organization:

1. Set your purpose and the horizon

Allow yourself to describe what the purpose of the cash flow forecast is as this will define also the horizon and the data that you need to build your forecast. The purpose will also be the guiding framework what level of tolerances you are prepared to accept.
Setting up a cash flow forecasting for quarterly reporting of covenants or to prepare for short term liquidity shortfalls means a different horizon and sometimes also a different set of data. Horizons can vary as much from the ‘standard’ 13-weeks to monthly or quarterly to even years. With a longer horizon, the level of accuracy will diminish.

2. Identify the cash flow drivers

This is the most essential and valuable step in the process as the right identification will largely determine the success of your forecasting.

    1. Where and when do we receive cash inflows and what will be our expected cash outflows?”
    2. From what sources can we derive the data, how predictable are they, in what currencies?
    3. And in which entities or what bank accounts will these cash flows occur?

Prepare a list of all (forecasted) cash in- and outflows and label them with priority, currency, predictability and identify in what entity and from what source you will be able to find actual and forecasted data.

3. Collect systematic and consistent data from all cash flow drivers

As you have, in the previous step, identified what will drive your cash flow, then we reach the really difficult part and that is obtaining reliable data on actuals and forecasts on these drivers.
You often hear : “I do not know when our clients will pay our invoices” and “If we win the tender then contract turnover will be X, however timing of the tender and outcome is unsure” and “Forecasted volumes of our product, I can give you but prices will be determined at the sale on spot basis”.
Don’t confuse sales and profit with cash. Most organizations seem very well equipped and organized to close each accounting period their books and forecast somehow the main profit and loss items going forward, however translating that into cash items, in the right currency with the right timing is not always easy.

My experience is that the process of obtaining these data gives you great insights on how cash driven the company really is and what role cash is playing in the KPI and rewards throughout the organization. You will often find that cash is, except for the treasury responsible, not on top of each minds.
Find also the right balance in detail of the data you want to forecast, as you can define a lot of cash flow categories, but that also means that you will need to label your actuals for all these categories. Manual labelling is often undoable (unless you have unlimited resources) and automating this labelling with tools is often easier said than done.

4. Focus on cash balance visibility

Your starting point for your cash flow forecast is the cash balance you have today and without adequate cash balance visibility on your today’s cash balance you will not be able to project future cash balances. Cash visibility means that you have access to – real time- information of all cash balances in your organization. When you have 1 or 2 banks, the Electronic Banking tools of these 1 or 2 banks will provide you all the information that you need. However, often certain bank accounts are managed on a decentralized level and information on these accounts are provided only at the close of the reporting period. Multi-banking tools that function as an information overlay can help you to overcome these kind of situations but you can also set up you own cash balance reporting consolidation.

5. Include analysis for variances

Analyzing the actuals versus your forecasts gives you a better insight how well the predictions have been and which data were reliable in the previous forecasting period and which were not. The sources that provided these data need to receive feedback on the variances from you to understand what was causing this difference so that their data can be improved going forward. Otherwise, it is only your problem. Sometimes a sort of “carrot and stick” feedback can be used to strengthen the reliability of the data collecting and create co-ownership for the process.

6. Prepare for scenarios

For treasurers, being prepared for the unknown is part of their DNA. So setting up scenario’s next to a base case in the cash flow forecast is essential to understand the headroom and even more important, what are the main drivers affecting the headroom. Because one thing is certain: Covid-19 will not be the last crisis they we will face.

7. Let systems work for you

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each process and tool must be tailored to the needs and objectives of each specific business. Many organizations work with Excel sheets because of the flexibility, it’s easy to use, the low costs and because it can manage massive amounts of data. Basically there is no problem with that, except when you would like to follow the steps, I described above, in more complex and multi-currency environment, then Excel will fall short to “let systems work for you”.
Nowadays there are multiple solutions (in various price ranges) for tools that can support your cash flow forecasting process from dedicated cash flow forecasting tools to more generic treasury systems and also payment hubs and banks provide (parts of) the solutions to support the cash flow forecasting process. Sometimes the tools include also artificial intelligence features that use actual company data to determine and support the forecasts. But often the tool is just a blank template sheet that needs to be filled with the actual and forecasted data. Then the added value is limited as “garbage in” means often also “garbage out” .

Conclusion

My advice is to revisit the cash flow forecast process in your own organization with the above mentioned 7 steps. If not ideal, there might be a strong business case to change (parts) of the process to be better prepared for the future.

 

 

Bas Kolenburg

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The Case for a Global Payment Hub

02-02-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

Global corporate payments technology is changing at a rapid pace. So rapidly, in fact, that internal IT-managed platforms are not able to keep up and the challenges that ensue are left for the IT team to sort out.

These challenges include:

  • Insufficient Controls
    It is up to IT to protect assets from digitized fraud capabilities that are able to penetrate the standard four-eye principal and, in order to do so, IT will need to enhance controls.
  • Custom Banking Formats
    Each bank has its own specific requirements that, even within the same bank, may differ depending on payment type and bank branch location. The number of custom formats needed can make it difficult for IT to meet all global banking format customization requirements.
  • Infrastructure Costs
    The cost of building and maintaining payment connectivity infrastructure, especially given the customization requirements, can easily exceed what a company anticipated.
  • Delayed Project
    Established bank connections will need to be rebuilt as ERPs migrate to the cloud, which can greatly delay the project. And, rebuilding the connection is often made more difficult as employees leave and retire, taking with them the tribal knowledge of how the original architecture was deployed.

Let’s evaluate some of these in the context of the return on investment (ROI) your organisation would achieve by deploying a connectivity as a service global payment hub.

Enhancing Controls

The most common vulnerabilities to fraud include technical, process and simple human mistakes – and, worst case scenario, internal collusion. All of these become significantly more vulnerable when corporations rely on internally built systems and processes that depend on human control workflows with multiple checkpoints.

Today’s fraudsters are more sophisticated, able to easily penetrate corporate infrastructure and pass internal human dependent control workflows. They utilize social networks to penetrate organisations with phishing schemes that include email, as well as deep fake voice simulation software via phone that can sound exactly like your CFO or CEO requesting payment execution.

The best payment hub solution will aid the human dependent controls with machine learning technology, bringing to their attention anomalies that they must further investigate.  The solution must be able to keep up with technical assets at the fraudster’s disposal – for example, based on history alerts related to banking change and volume as well as OFAC exception.  Payment hubs with machine learning capabilities have demonstrated the ability to reduce corporate fraud exposure by at least 70%.

Payment Connectivity Complexities  

Global banking format customization requirements are extremely complex with very limited, if any, corporate tribal knowledge related to the technical architecture and deployment. Each bank has their own specific requirements. In many cases, there may even be differences of formats within the same bank depending on branch locations. The cost of building and maintaining payment connectivity infrastructure given the customization requirements can be in the millions of dollars.

Payment hubs eliminate this cost in several ways:

  • IT no longer has to manage bank connectivity with outsourced development and maintenance of bank payment formats to the hub solution. Developing this internally can take up to 9 months for each bank at a cost of up to $150K+ per bank, not including any ERP consultant fees.  A payment hub solution will be able to deploy connectivity within weeks and provide 24/7/365 maintenance and support at a fraction of the cost.
  • Multiple systems that previously sent payments to banks can be consolidated down to one. IT will only have to manage one format which is to the payment hub.
  • Treasury can optimise banking services and remove duplication caused by the multitude of systems (including treasury and ERPs) that connected to the banks. This will standardise and enhance controls and auditability of internal workflows.

ERP Cloud Transformation

If you are considering an ERP cloud transformation or are in the process of the transition, all of the bank connectivity that is established in the current environment will have to be re-built.  Given the considerations highlighted earlier tied to the complexities, re-building all of the connections internally will be costly and risk go-live.

Connectivity as a service with the right payment hub will de-risk and accelerate cloud transformation projects. In fact, payment hub solutions provide a more than 80% improvement in time-to-value related to payment go live. This return on investment is inclusive of internal man-hour efforts, external consultant fee elimination, as well as the speed of bank on boarding timelines from up to 9 months to only a few weeks.

In conclusion, payment hubs enhance controls and keep up with the ever-changing fraud environment, eliminate any risk tied to business continuity due to internal infrastructure or tribal knowledge, and finally enable a successful ERP cloud transformation deployment eliminating any risk to internal timelines or objectives.