Making a Successful Transformation to SAP S/4HANA

19-01-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for large businesses. Many organizations that are currently using the SAP business suite are looking to upgrade to the new solution, often as part of a wider digital transformation.

As a digital core, S/4HANA is the link between the key business functions within an organization, including finance, marketing, manufacturing, procurement and sales. As well as connecting to the SAP ecosystem, it can connect to other cloud-based systems. It harnesses intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things to automate operations, and it connects data, devices and people in real-time.

S/4HANA enables digital transformation in several ways. It reduces an organization’s overall costs, drives business innovation, supports transformation projects and frees up the IT budget for investment in emerging technologies. Yet, while there is a strong business case in favor of S/4HANA, companies often struggle to identify which functionality they need from the platform, and when and how they should migrate.

Why Migrate Now?

Digital transformation is accelerating all the time and S/4HANA is “mission-critical” for digital transformation, explained Promantus’ director and head of Europe, Vikash Roy Chowdhury, during a recent webinar hosted by SAPinsider and sponsored by Kyriba. He added that as S/4HANA optimizes an organization’s digital transformation strategy, “it provides identity, visibility and innovation”.

There are many reasons why organizations should begin their migration to S/4HANA now:

  1. To take advantage of the digital economy and be quicker at getting new products and solutions to market.
     As digital transformation continues to gather pace, business processes will be further automated and new data flows will emerge, enabling organizations to gain better insights, improve their decision-making and foster business innovation.
  2. To avoid falling behind in the digital transformation journey.
    SAP will continue to provide standard support for its on-premise ERP system, ERP Central Component (ECC), until 2027. On the face of it, this commitment may seem a reason for organizations not to migrate to S/4HANA, but there are risks associated with continuing with a platform that has been earmarked for retirement. One risk is that organizations will get a poor return on investment in terms of their technological spend. Another is that they are overtaken by rivals that use S/4HANA’s state-of-the-art functionality to run their businesses more efficiently.
  3. To save money.
    The cost of implementing S/4HANA, and migrating to the platform, is likely to increase substantially over the next few years, as more and more businesses compete to secure resources that can support them with transformation.

The Challenges of an ERP Transformation

Migration to S/4HANA can present some significant challenges to businesses. Typically, the biggest challenge is resolving data issues. Other challenges include a lack of qualified resources, integration of legacy systems, accommodation of custom coding, and understanding the impact of S/4HANA on processes, especially where functionality has changed.

And treasuries have specific requirements in relation to an S/4HANA migration. They want bank connectivity and the integration of their global banks inside the S/4HANA infrastructure. They also want to see accelerated time-to-value (the rate at which the business benefits from the migration) so that they can free up resources from routine work to focus on more strategic activities, such as helping their organization to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, bank connectivity can be one of the most difficult aspects of migration to S/4HANA, or any other ERP for that matter. It can take months – or even years – to achieve. “A lot of times… what keeps these ERP projects from going live is still waiting for the banks,” says Steven Otwell, director of payments at Kyriba.

For this reason, Kyriba is strategically collaborating with Promantus to support migration to S/4HANA from a treasury perspective.

Support for Treasuries

Fortunately, automation can ease the migration process. Promantus has developed a comprehensive S/4HANA transformation tool called ProAcc, which quickly and seamlessly automates all the migration phases, including assessment, pre-conversion, post-conversion and validation.

ProAcc provides a detailed assessment report that includes tailored recommendations for optimization and alternative scenarios, based on the current state. It also offers a single-view dashboard that gives full visibility around the migration process, from discovery to go-live. Furthermore, it acts as a single repository for the sequence of automated activities that take place, including prediction, monitoring, data snapshots, data integrity, configuration checks, and reconciliation.

The speed of migration will depend on an organization’s business and technological requirements, current SAP environment, and data quality and quantity, among other considerations.

Organizations that use ProAcc to support their S/4HANA migration benefit from:

  • Swift, secure and cost-effective implementation
  • Minimal interruptions to critical business processes
  • A tailor-made approach
  • Sequentially automated processes
  • Comprehensive support

“At Promantus and Kyriba, our entire focus is to bring the highest value to corporations in the shortest possible time, and at the lowest cost,” said Johnny Daugaard, vice president of client engagement at Promantus.

Kyriba’s service-based solution includes:

  • Connectivity as a Service.
    Bolt-on bank connectivity for SAP enables organizations to connect with thousands of banks and achieve time savings in excess of 80%. Kyriba has more than 550 active, configured and tested bank solutions for plug and play ERP connectivity. It also monitors bank connection 24/7 on behalf of its clients, with connection managed in different ways including FTP, host-to-host, regional protocols and SWIFT. Kyriba is the largest SWIFT for Corporates service bureau globally, managing more than 20% of SWIFT’s corporate business. As Kyriba’s service is fully outsourced, organizations do not need to employ internal resources to support bank connectivity, which reduces their overheads.
  • Customized Payment Fraud Management.
    This solution uses detection rules, coupled with machine learning, to detect anomalies in an organization’s flow of data from its SAP system to its banks. These anomalies could be possible payment frauds.
  • Payment Format Library.
    Kyriba’s library contains over 45,000 pre-developed and bank-tested payment format scenarios, which are shared across all Kyriba clients. This saves organizations from having to develop their own payment formats for their S/4HANA platform, which can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming – especially when an organization works with a large number of banks. Kyriba simply takes a single payment file from the organization’s ERP and interprets it. It then transforms the file, based on the approved format requirements of the individual banks.
  • Global bank monitoring.
    All incoming and outcoming bank files are monitored, relieving the IT team of the burden of having to work out whether files have been processed. Effectively, an organization’s banking support is fully outsourced to Kyriba.

Conclusion 

Today, organizations are having to react with agility to the challenges posed by Covid-19. Digital transformation is key both to their present survival and their future success – and for many large organizations, this transformation will be underpinned by migration to S/4HANA. Treasury and IT should be closely involved with this migration and carefully consider solutions that enable them to meet their objectives without consuming valuable resources.

 

Brexit: UK Payment Service Providers barred from EU

13-01-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting | Geert Blom

UK Payment Service Providers without an EU-license are barred from doing business in the EU. As of December 31, 2020, the UK and EU have concluded arrangements that effectuate the partnership between both parties on many different levels. However, the arrangement agreed upon does not include specifications regarding provisions, exemptions or special treatment for UK Payment Service Providers.


On January 31, 2020 the UK left the EU on the basis of the agreed withdrawal agreement. This prevented a no-deal Brexit on that date and led to the transition period until the end of 2020. In 2020, lawmakers have argued over the possibility to arrange for so-called EU-equivalence decisions with regard to the UK. These arrangements have not materialized and neither did EU member state parliaments deem it necessary to extend temporary exemptions for the provision of services by payment service providers or electronic money institutions established in the UK.

This means that from 2021 onwards, all British financial service providers without an EU-license are no longer allowed to provide many of their services to EU-clients. Also, the access rights of British financial institutions to provide cross-border financial services in the European Union will in many cases no longer apply. The financial supervising authorities expect that British institutions have taken timely preparatory measures so that the relevant state laws and regulations are complied with. Compliance could and can still be attained by applying for – and receiving – a payment institution license in one of the EU member states.

In recent years, The Netherlands have served as a favorite hub nation for many UK PSP’s. At Enigma Consulting, we are experienced and market leader in applying for payment institution licenses specifically in the Netherlands, for both PSP’s and EGI’s. We specialize in creating all required documentation and provide expert guidance on all applicable policies, procedures and related topics. If you too aspire to do business in the Netherlands as a PSP or EGI and if you are currently in need of expert advice or assistance with acquiring a license, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@enigmaconsulting.nl.

 

Geert Blom

Senior Legal Consultant

+31 (0)6 13 91 88 22

 

 

 

 

 

New MiCA regulation further tightens regulations for crypto companies (Dutch Item)

23-12-2020 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Op 21 november 2020 verliep de deadline waarop cryptodienstverleners, die in of vanuit Nederland opereren bij toezichthouder DNB, geregistreerd dienden te zijn om hun crypto-activiteiten te mogen voorzetten. Bijna vijftig partijen hebben een aanvraag ingediend bij DNB, maar tot op heden heeft DNB ‘slechts’ dertien partijen in het openbaar register bijgeschreven. Het volgende reguleringskader staat echter al in de steigers: de zogeheten Europese verordening ‘Markets in Crypto-Assets’ (MiCA). Deze verordening moet vanaf 2024 voor alle lidstaten van de EU gaan gelden. Erik van der Leer van Enigma Consulting beschrijft welke impact MiCA kan hebben op de bedrijfsvoering van (crypto)bedrijven.

MiCA zal de van toepassing zijnde regelgeving voor cryptoplatformen verder uitbreiden en aanscherpen. Onder MiCA zullen ook verschillende cryptodiensten die voorheen buiten het reguleringskader vielen moeten voldoen aan Europese regelgeving. Zo definieert MiCA drie verschillende soorten uitgevers van crypto-assets en zeven verschillende cryptodienstverleners. Naast  de cryptodienstverleners die zich vandaag de dag reeds dienen te registreren in Nederland worden daarmee ook andere cryptodiensten binnen bereik van de wetgeving van de Europese lidstaten gebracht.

MiCA typeert aanbieders van een of meer van de volgende diensten als cryptodienstverlening:

  1. Diensten waarbij advies wordt gegeven over crypto-assets;
  2. Diensten waarbij orders in crypto-assets worden ontvangen en uitgevoerd;
  3. Diensten waarbij crypto-assets in de markt geplaatst worden;
  4. Diensten waarbij orders in crypto-assets worden afgewikkeld door derde partijen;
  5. Diensten waarbij crypto-assets in bewaring worden beheerd;
  6. Diensten waarbij een handelsplatform voor crypto-assets wordt geëxploiteerd;
  7. Diensten waarbij crypto-assets worden verhandeld tegen fiatgeld of andere crypto-assets.

Hoe staan de eisen uit MiCA in verhouding tot het in Nederland geldende registratie-regime?

Onder MiCA moeten cryptodienstverleners, net zoals dat geldt binnen het DNB registratieregime, een bedrijfsplan opstellen, procedures inrichten voor de integere bedrijfsuitoefening, de betrouwbaarheid en geschiktheid van bestuurders en beleidsbepalers laten testen door de toezichthouder en over een transparante zeggenschapsstructuur beschikken.

Deze verplichtingen worden uitgebreid met o.a. de volgende zaken:

  • Het aanbrengen van een strikte scheiding tussen het vermogen van de dienstverlener en het geld in beheer van de klant;
  • Het opstellen van een uitbestedingsbeleid, waaronder het formuleren van een herstel- en exitplan;
  • Het opstellen en naleven van een, aan de wettelijke eisen voldoende, klachtenprocedure;
  • Het beschrijven van de geïmplementeerde IT-systemen en beveiligingsprotocollen;
  • Het voldoen aan strike eisen omtrent marktmisbruik en insider-trading.

Ook zullen cryptodienstverleners een cliëntenacceptatiebeleid moeten opstellen voor diensten waarbij crypto-assets worden geplaatst, alsook moeten voldoen aan verschillende transparantievereisten voor diensten waarbij crypto-assets worden verhandeld tegen fiat geld of andere assets. Naast deze zaken zal ook een eigen vermogenseis gaan gelden van minimaal € 50.000.

Wat zal de impact zijn van MiCA op de Nederlandse cryptosector?

Zoals blijkt uit de bovenstaande zorgt MiCA voor een flinke toename in regeldruk binnen de Europese en Nederlandse cryptosector. De cryptodienstverleners dienen niet alleen hun bedrijfsvoering verder aan te passen, maar dienen ook over een aanzienlijk minimum eigen vermogen te bezitten. Met name voor de kleinere Europese spelers in de markt kan dit potentieel een grote impact hebben.

Desalniettemin brengt MiCA ook voordelen met zich mee voor de Nederlandse cryptosector. Het huidige Nederlandse registratieregime staat binnen Europa immers te boek als relatief streng, waardoor de Nederlandse cryptosector zijn concurrentiepositie ten aanzien van Europese concurrentie heeft zien verslechteren. Doordat MiCA het Europese speelveld nu gelijk maakt verbetert de internationale positie van cryptodienstverleners in Nederland. Ook beoogt MiCA dat een verkregen autorisatie gepassport kan worden naar andere lidstaten, iets dat momenteel niet mogelijk is. Omdat Nederland al relatief strenge eisen stelt zullen Nederlandse registratiehouders naar alle waarschijnlijkheid beter voorbereid zijn op de additionele MiCA-vereisten.

Ten slotte zorgt MiCA ervoor dat de uitgifte van crypto-assets en het verrichten van crypto dienstverlening een duidelijk en universeel reguleringskader krijgt binnen Europa. Alhoewel de hieraan verbonden eisen streng zijn en wellicht een negatief effect zullen uitoefenen op de bedrijfsuitvoering van sommige spelers in de sector, brengt MiCA ook zekerheid voor de markt én de consument. Het ontvangen van een MiCA-autorisatie zal daarmee ongetwijfeld deuren openen die tot op heden gesloten waren en nieuwe commerciële kansen met zich meebrengen voor de Europese en Nederlandse cryptosector.

Savings and investment banks have a lot of potential for improvement in the onboarding process for customers

24-11-2020 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

(Dutch Item)

Hoe digitaal en gebruiksvriendelijk verloopt het proces om klant te worden bij spaar- en beleggingsbanken? En wat kunnen zij opsteken van banken die een betaalrekening aanbieden? In een nieuw onderzoek van Enigma Consulting komt naar voren dat spaar- en beleggingsbanken hun onboardingsproces naar een hoger niveau kunnen brengen door te leren van de klantreis van banken die reguliere betaalrekeningen aanbieden. Wat vooral opvalt is dat de onboarding bij spaar- en beleggingsbanken nog hoofdzakelijk via de website verloopt, terwijl betaalbanken de onboarding via de app aanbieden en overduidelijk meer inzetten op innovatieve oplossingen. Een bijdrage van Marc Groot, Managing Consultant bij Enigma Consulting en expert binnen het onboardingsdomein.

Als expert in het klantonboardingsdomein publiceerde Enigma Consulting in juni 2020 een artikel over de onboardingsprocessen van de belangrijkste ‘betaalbanken’ in Nederland. Dit onderzoek heeft een vervolg gekregen, waarin naar de onboarding van spaar- en beleggingsbanken is gekeken, die worden aangeduid als ‘niet-betaalbanken’. Banken die  – onder andere – een betaalrekening aanbieden, noemen we betaalbanken.

Wanneer onboarding niet via de app mogelijk was, is de onboarding uitgevoerd via de website op de smartphone. Het onboardingsproces is per bank doorlopen en beoordeeld aan de hand van verschillende criteria. De onderzoekers hebben zich in het onderzoek geconcentreerd op de klantervaring, waarbij niet achter de schermen is gekeken bij de onderzochte banken. De klantreis is beoordeeld op basis van drie categorieën:

  • Innovatie: door handig gebruik te maken van innovatieve technieken, zoals een selfiefilm en de NFC-chip voor het uitlezen van legitimaties, kunnen gebruiksvriendelijkheid en fraudepreventie bij elkaar gebracht en versterkt worden.
  • Gebruiksvriendelijkheid: het gemak waarmee de klant het proces doorloopt, de doorlooptijd, de begeleiding van de klant door het proces en de aanwezigheid van technische barrières.
  • Veiligheid en fraudepreventie: alle banken hebben de verantwoordelijkheid om fraude te voorkomen en de klant correct te identificeren. De banken zijn beoordeeld op basis van hoe de klant wordt geïdentificeerd,  klantidentificatie- en verificatiemethoden en in hoeverre deze  aan de voorkant voldoen aan de geldende wet- en regelgeving.

De volgende afbeelding geeft weer welke spaar- en beleggingsbanken zijn meegenomen in het onderzoek en welke het beste zijn beoordeeld per categorie.

Niet-betaalbanken weinig innovatief

Allereerst is gekeken in hoeverre niet-betaalbanken innovaties gebruiken in het onboardingsproces en hoe dit zich verhoudt tot betaalbanken. Bij de identificatie van een klant gaat de bank af op de door de klant verstrekte gegevens. Een voorbeeld is een kopie of scan van het paspoort. Vervolgens verifieert de bank de identiteit door vast te stellen of de opgegeven identiteit overeenkomt met de werkelijke identiteit, bijvoorbeeld door een selfie-foto. Innovaties in het onboardingsproces zijn onder meer vernieuwende klantidentificatie- en verificatiemethoden en het uitlezen van de legitimatie via een foto in de app of via een NFC-chip.

Bij de niet-betaalbanken bieden alleen beleggersbanken DeGiro en Semmie de mogelijkheid aan om via een foto het legitimatiebewijs te delen met de bank. Bij de overige niet-betaalbanken dient de klant een scan van het legitimatiebewijs te maken en deze vervolgens te uploaden of te mailen. Daarbij moet de klant de persoonlijke gegevens handmatig invoeren op de website. Dit leidt tot een langer proces en kan leiden tot incorrecte invoer van de klant. Verder bieden de niet-betaalbanken geen van alle een selfie-foto, selfie-film of stemopname aan als middel voor klantverificatie.

Daarentegen gebruikt een meerderheid van de betaalbanken wel innovatieve identificatie- en verificatiemethoden. Vijf betaalbanken laten hun nieuwe klant een selfie-foto maken, drie kiezen voor een selfie-film en twee voor een stemopname. Verder worden bij vier betaalbanken de persoonsgegevens automatisch overgenomen in de app door middel van een scan van het legitimatiebewijs of door het uitlezen van de NFC-chip van het paspoort.

Onboarding via app bij niet-betaalbanken nog in kinderschoenen

Kijkend naar gebruiksvriendelijkheid is het bij vrijwel geen enkele niet-betaalbank mogelijk om de volledige onboarding te verrichten via de app. Dit kan alleen bij vermogensbeheerder Semmie. Deze jonge fintech-onderneming maakt in alle categorieën een goede indruk. Bij de overige gevallen gaat de klant grotendeels door het proces via de website. De klant vult de persoonlijke gegevens handmatig in via een webformulier. Bovendien heeft een deel van de niet-betaalbanken überhaupt geen app waarin zij hun diensten aanbieden.

Bij de niet-betaalbanken onderscheiden BinckBank, DeGiro, Lloyds Bank en Semmie zich positief qua doorlooptijd. De klant weet binnen een uur wat het spaarrekeningnummer is. Bij Semmie moet aangetekend worden dat het rekeningnummer nog niet direct actief is na de onboarding, vanwege de afhankelijkheid van de acceptatie door hun depotbank.  Bij de andere spaar- en beleggingsbanken varieert deze doorlooptijd van binnen een dag tot binnen een week.

Uit het onderzoek komt naar voren dat banken waarbij de onboarding via de app verloopt beter scoren op gebruiksvriendelijkheid en innovatie. Het grote voordeel van mobiele apps in vergelijking met mobiele websites is de betere klantervaring. Mobiele apps zijn geoptimaliseerd voor een grote hoeveelheid aan smartphones en schermresoluties, apps werken sneller dan websites en apps kunnen gebruikmaken van apparaat-eigenschappen, zoals camera of GPS. Bij onboarding via een website zijn deze apparaat-eigenschappen niet mogelijk.

Een belangrijk element van een goede gebruikerservaring is dat de klant zo snel mogelijk gebruik kan maken van de rekening en diensten. Bij een aantal betaalbanken is de rekening binnen een uur al actief en kan de klant transacties uitvoeren. Om dit te realiseren is een gedigitaliseerde klantreis noodzakelijk. Bij de meeste betaalbanken is het mogelijk de onboarding volledig te doorlopen via de app. Duidelijk is dat bij de niet-betaalbanken een flinke stap valt te maken in het aanbieden van de onboarding en dienstverlening via een app.

Veiligheid kan gebruikersgemak verlagen, innovatie is de oplossing

De derde categorie is ‘veiligheid en fraudepreventie’. Voor banken is het van groot belang dat zij op de hoogte zijn van de laatste wet- en regelgeving en de processen volledig compliant zijn in relatie tot KYC en AML.

Zowel betaalbanken als niet-betaalbanken gebruiken de identificatiestorting regelmatig. Bij niet-betaalbanken is het primaire doel van de identificatiestorting het moeten verifiëren van een vaste tegenrekening. Bij betaalbanken gaat het om afgeleide identificatie van de klant.

Bij de niet-betaalbanken komt de identificatiestorting acht keer terug. BinckBank, DeGiro  en Semmie maken het mogelijk om via iDEAL te betalen, terwijl de overige niet-betaalbanken nog steeds een handmatige overboeking hanteren. Deze handmatige overboeking is tijdrovend en gaat buiten de directe flow van de klantreis om. iDEAL is de oplossing hiervoor.

De betaalbanken hebben iDEAL nagenoeg standaard opgenomen in de klantreis. Bij zes betaalbanken die de identificatiestorting gebruiken, kan de klant bij vijf de storting uitvoeren via iDEAL en bij één gaat dit via een handmatige overboeking.

Innovatie en app zetten betaalbanken op grote voorsprong

Uit het onderzoek kunnen een aantal conclusies getrokken worden. Ten eerste lopen niet-betaalbanken ver achter op betaalbanken op het gebied van innovatieve  klantidentificatie- en verificatiemethodes. Ten tweede bieden niet-betaalbanken het onboardingsproces hoofdzakelijk aan via de website, terwijl de onboarding bij betaalbanken verloopt via de app.

Kortom, spaar- en beleggingsbanken hebben veel verbeterpotentieel als het gaat om klantervaring en digitalisering van het onboardingsproces. Tegenwoordig voeren steeds meer bedrijven een ‘app first-strategie’ waarbij alle diensten, en dus ook onboarding, via de app verlopen om zodoende een vlekkeloze mobiele online ervaring te kunnen bieden. We zijn immers tegenwoordig meer online via onze smartphones dan via andere apparaten.

Innovatie en gebruikersgemak zijn op een positieve wijze nauw met elkaar verbonden. Door gebruik te maken van innovaties, wordt de veiligheid van het proces bevorderd zonder dat dit ten koste gaat van de gebruiksvriendelijkheid.

Kyriba Webinar: Modernising Global Corporate Payments to Prevent Fraud

04-11-2020 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

These last few months have highlighted that Payments Fraud continues to be a major problem, with fraudsters quick to leverage the global pandemic, with the amounts involved considerable.

In this session Kyriba’s Paul Simpson will be joined by Helen Alexander from SWIFT and James Bushby from MasterCard, to explain what institutional payment fraud is, with a specific focus on the technology and processes that treasury and finance teams can employ to minimise risk.

In particular, the agenda will follow:

  • What institutional payment fraud is and the internal processes and technology to consider, with SWIFT
  • How a payment hub mitigates against Fraud for Corporates, with Kyriba
  • Introduction to how MasterCard is helping fight Financial Crime

Register your place by filling in the form to your right and we will be in touch!

Date:

November 12th, 09:30- 10:30 (CET)

Contact:

SpendLab Analyzer: Each invoice is tracked at VAT cost line level throughout the entire administration

| 04-11-2020 | treasuryXL | SpendLab Recovery |

Last May, we welcomed Spendlab Recovery as our Premium Partner, in order to provide our treasury community with expertise in the field of Liquidity, Accounts Payable and Risk Management. SpendLab is the Dutch market leader in spend justification. The company is a former spin-off from the Dutch government with a 98 year old heritage in procurement. It currently specializes in generating liquidity for clients by analyzing -and identifying anomalies in accounts payable data. By having insights in the accounts payable and being able to recover unjustified liquidity, treasurers will be able to identify and control (liquidity) risks in their vendor data. In this article, the focus lies on the role of VAT.

Specific VAT regulations for small caravan sites, VAT application on invoices within the Social Domain or system integrations after municipal mergers. “Every municipality has specific characteristics and risks in VAT processing,” says André Weitjens, VAT manager at SpendLab and specialist in financial administrations and applications. “The insights and experiences from a municipal project are validated and made applicable for subsequent projects. Also with regard to the interpretation and application of the changing VAT regulations, it is the combination of data research and tax expertise. ” (Blog continues in Dutch)

De grootste uitdaging wordt gevormd door het juist inregelen van de btw-tabel binnen de financiële applicatie. Zeker omdat deze tabel de ingeregelde btw-regelgeving automatisch toepast bij de verwerking van een inkoopfactuur. Als gemeente moet je exacte kennis hebben van de in beweging zijnde btw-regelgeving om dit correct binnen de btw tabel te vertalen. Daarnaast zorgt de variabele stroom van inkoopfacturen, welke via de workflow aan budgethouders ter codering en goedkeuring wordt aangeboden, vaak voor kwetsbaarheden in de btw-verwerking. Budgethouders richten zich op de inhoud van de factuur en zijn zich om die reden veelal niet bewust van de gekozen btw-verwerking bij het coderen van de factuur. Veelvuldig wordt de btw hierdoor onterecht kostenverhogend geboekt.

SpendLab Analyzer

De meest genoemde reden om de SpendLab Analyzer® in te zetten is om zeker te weten dat de btw-verwerking te vertrouwen is. Wij hebben een enorme databank opgebouwd waar alle btw-problematiek wel voorbij is gekomen. Specifieke btw-regelgeving uit hoofde van het BCF, het van toepassing zijn van een mengpercentage, de keuze voor ondernemer of overheid, niet of verkeerd verlegde btw. Veel regelgeving vraagt om specifieke keuzen binnen in een financiële applicatie, welke zich door de toenemende digitalisering niet eenvoudig laat controleren.

De SpendLab Analyzer® beoordeelt de inregeling van de relevante btw-regelgeving bij een gemeente op basis van jurisprudentie, belastingexperts en gevalideerde kennis uit andere projecten. De opdrachtgever is in principe de kennisexpert, maar als we vaststellen dat de btw-boekingen optimaler kunnen, dan adviseren we onderbouwd met de jurisprudentie en of motivaties vanuit andere projecten. Interessant is dat niet de grootboekrekening of kostenplaats het startpunt is, maar de totale boekingsdata in relatie tot boekingsregels. Het grootste verschil met reguliere controles is dat de SpendLab Analyzer® de btw verwerking volgt vanaf het moment van de eerste vastlegging tot de betaalbaarstelling, om vervolgens de data analyse op te bouwen.

De SpendLab Analyzer® beoordeelt integraal alle kostenregels van de facturen op een juiste btw-verwerking. Elk btw bedrag dat onterecht kostenverhogend is geboekt of mogelijk onterecht in aftrek is genomen of is gecompenseerd wordt inzichtelijk gemaakt. Dit gaat al snel over tienduizenden btw-regels bij een kleine organisatie. Handmatig is dit niet meer te doen. Gemeenten en hun accountants doen dit op basis van steekproeven, terwijl SpendLab alles fijnmazig op basis van honderd procent van de factuur data analyseert.

De belastingdienst is voornemens om dergelijke integrale controles in de toekomst zelf vorm te geven, en dat is precies wat wij al doen. De SpendLab Analyzer® gaat vijf volle boekjaren terug en beoordeelt ook de betaalbaarstelling. Zo werkt SpendLab met zijn integrale controle complementair aan de fiscalist en accountant. Zo is een gemeente ook nog eens proactief en zeker van een juiste verwerking van btw in de toekomst.

 

 

Corporates: Caveat IBOR!

03-11-2020 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Many of the world’s leading benchmark base rates are about to change; this could impact your business in unexpected ways.

Since Roman times, the phrase ‘caveat emptor’ – let the buyer beware – has been used in agreements as a warning that a lack of due diligence could come back to bite you. For today’s corporate treasurer it might instead be more relevant to use (with apologies to the linguists out there) ‘caveat IBOR’.

For the past 40 years, IBOR has been the benchmark used to determine the interest rates applied to a myriad of financial products. All this is about to change: starting on 31st December 2021 many of these rates will cease to exist and be replaced by ‘Risk-Free-Rates’ (RFRs).

The potential impact of these changes is often seriously underestimated. Corporate companies need to prepare today to be ready for banks wanting to discuss changes to existing contracts in the coming months.

 

The 4 to 6 months ahead of us are arguably the most critical period in the transition away from LIBOR. The time to act is now.
 – FCA July 2020

 

Why should I care about the IBOR transition?

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

In the coming months you are going to be approached by your bank(s) to discuss changes to contracts maturing after 2021. To be prepared for these discussions, it is essential that you have a solid idea of what the repercussions of these changes will be on your organisation.

From IBOR to RFRs: a brief history

For the past 4 decades, IBOR (interbank offered rates, including LIBOR and EURIBOR) have been the benchmark for lending, hedge contracts, current accounts, valuation models etc. The (L)IBOR is calculated by processing hypothetical borrowing transactions that are submitted by a few ‘panel’ banks.
In 2012, the LIBOR scandal came to light: it was discovered that since 2008, panel banks had been colluding to illegally manipulate the rates. This set in motion that regulators, central banks, and market participants started a search for a safer alternative to the LIBOR. In 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that it would not compel or persuade panel banks to make LIBOR submissions after December 31st, 2021.

As a direct result, LIBOR term rates (1m, 3m, 6m, 12m) for USD, GBP, CHF, JPY, EUR will cease to be published as per December 31st, 2021. Other benchmarks such as EONIA and EURIBOR are similarly subject to an interest rate benchmark reform and it was decided to also discontinue the submission of EONIA after December 31st, 2021. Additionally, other benchmarks, such as JIBAR (ZAR), SIBOR (SGD), SOR (SGD) and Euroyen TIBOR (JPY) are undergoing comparable reforms[1]. See the sidebar (at the bottom of this article) for additional IBOR related details.

To minimise the possibility of fraud in future, global working groups have defined a new reference rate and calculation system. As a result, IBOR will be replaced by secured or unsecured transaction-based alternative Risk-Free Rates (RFRs) by the end of 2021. These new interest rate benchmarks are determined on the basis of transactions[2] and are therefore significantly more robust and resistant to manipulation.

Covid-19 will not buy you any time

After the worldwide outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, the world has changed rapidly. Uncertain times have arrived with a looming global economic recession. While many expected the pandemic to postpone the deadline, this does not to appear to be borne out by reality.

UK regulators have indeed postponed the deadline for the cessation of new issuances of GBP LIBOR-referencing loan products maturing after 2021 to the end of Q1 2021, instead of Q3 2020[3]. However, it is widely expected that the deadline for migrating existing LIBOR related contracts to alternative risk-free benchmarks will remain unchanged. Indeed, the FCA even emphasised in July 2020 that the LIBOR deadline is not going to change and that “The time to act is now.”

ISDA agreements and IBOR transition

On October 23, 2020 ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) finalised the protocols and other documentation by which outstanding derivatives contracts which reference LIBOR can be transformed in order to work with the new RFRs[4]. The FCA has repeatedly urged market participants from all sectors – sell side, buy side, non-financial, to ensure they are ready for the end of LIBOR by adhering to the protocol that ISDA is producing[5].

How will the IBOR transition impact you?

At a basic level, your corporate organisation’s existing IBOR-based interest rates will be replaced by new RFR-based rates. As these depend on a different underlying valuation methodology, any place in the organisation that currently relies on or makes use of an IBOR-based rate could potentially be impacted:

  • Corporates have a variety of products with financial contracts that refer to an IBOR related benchmark. These can be bond agreements, loan agreements, cash pooling agreements, (multi-currency) credit facility agreements, derivatives, intercompany loan agreements and many other instruments. In particular, larger organisations active across multiple regions in the world with more complex non-Euro instruments will be impacted
  • Commercial contracts with e.g. ‘late payment clauses’ with charges involving an IBOR related benchmark will also be impacted
  • Processes and other aspects related to these agreements and contracts across the Treasury functions (such as Corporate Finance, Risk Management and Cash Management & Working Capital) will need to be reviewed, and changed if impacted: Legal, IT systems and interfaces, reporting, accounting (e.g. hedge-accounting), Tax, policies, procedures, valuation models will all require attention
  • Interim milestones intended to smoothen the IBOR transition will lead to a cessation of the issuance of new LIBOR referenced products maturing after 2021. (For example, this will be the case for GBP LIBOR referenced bonds, loans, and derivatives; from Q2 2021, new GBP denominated issuances for these products will already refer to the alternative RFR.)
  • An additional complication is that the IBOR transition is progressing in different stages across different jurisdictions and different financial products
  • And, quite simply, there are many aspects that are as yet unknown, amongst which:
    • what the impact of applying hedge accounting to IBOR referenced instruments will be
    • whether and when alternative reference rate term structures will be available and for which products
    • how compounding daily rates over time will be handled in the absence of a term structure for cash management purposes
    • whether fallback language will be available
    • how liquid the market for (L)IBOR rates will be towards the end date of 31st December 2021
    • whether and when EURIBOR and other IBOR critical benchmarks will be discontinued

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. Be prepared for a call from your bank in the coming months!

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 three-step approach:

1. Assess impact

The first 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).

2. Plan actions

On completing your impact assessment, create 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.

3. Act and implement

Step three 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

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 an idea of 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.

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!

If you are interested in how we can help you 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

 

 

 

[1] A more extensive overview of IBOR benchmarks and related alternative risk free rates can be found on the website of The Investment Association (in cooperation with Linklaters): Table Interbank Offered Rates (IBORs) and Alternative Reference Rates (ARRs), version September 24, 2020

[2] Source: Interest rate benchmark reform – overnight risk-free rates and term rates, Financial Standards Board, July 12 2018

[3] Source:  Further statement from the RFRWG on the impact of Coronavirus on the timeline for firms’ LIBOR transition plans, Bank of England, March 25 2020

[4] Source: ISDA launches IBOR fallbacks supplement and protocol October 23, 2020

[5] Source: LIBOR transition – the critical tasks ahead of us in the second half of 2020, Financial Conduct Authority, July 14 2020

SIDEBAR

Selected Highlights of IBOR Phase Out Related Facts[1]

General

  • LIBOR term rates (1m, 3m, 6m, 12m) for USD, GBP, CHF, JPY, EUR will cease to be published per December 31st, 2021
  • Overnight, transaction based “alternatives” for these currencies are already live: ESTER (EUR); SONIA (GBP); TONAR (JPY); SARON (CHF) and SOFR (USD)[2]
  • EONIA is based on Ester + 8.5 basis points (since October 2nd, 2019). EONIA will cease to be published per December 31st, 2021
  • As of October 2019, EURIBOR is published as a hybrid rate (mix of actual transactions + panel consultation) and will continue to be published. EURIBOR is expected to be continued into the foreseeable future, however discontinuation is still a possibility. At the time of writing, it is uncertain if and when this will happen
  • Various consultation groups are assessing reform proposals and alternatives, such as:
    • Working Group on Sterling Risk Free Rates regarding GBP LIBOR
    • Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) regarding USD LIBOR
    • Working Group on Euro Risk Free Rates regarding EONIA and EURIBOR
  • Financial institutions have performed a global impact assessment on their financial contracts and have created IBOR migration teams
  • Across different jurisdictions and different financial products, the IBOR transition is progressing in different stages
  • Calculation methodologies across different alternative RFRs could differ and a term structure is still missing for most of the alternative benchmarks

ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association)

  • On May 14, 2020 a summary of the response to the “ISDA 2020 Consultation on How to Implement Pre-Cessation Fallbacks on Derivatives” was published. The majority of market participants support a combination of pre-cessation and permanent cessation fallbacks without optionality or flexibility in the IBOR Fallbacks Supplement and IBOR Fallbacks Protocol[3]
  • On July 21, 2020 Bloomberg and ISDA announced that Bloomberg Index Services Limited (BISL) had begun calculating and publishing fallbacks that ISDA intends to implement for certain key interbank offered rates (IBORs)[4]
  • ISDA launched the IBOR Fallbacks Protocol and the IBOR Fallbacks Supplement to implement the new fallbacks for legacy and new derivative contracts on October 23, 2020. From effective date January 25, 2021, all new cleared and non-cleared interest rate derivatives that reference the definitions will include the fallbacks[5]

SIDEBAR

Central Counterparty Clearing houses

  • On July 27, 2020 LCH, Eurex Clearing and CME Group implemented a discounting switch from EONIA to Ester for cleared OTC EUR denominated derivatives related to Price Alignment Interest (PAI[6]) and Price Alignment Amount (PAA) regarding Settle-to-Market collateral[7]
  • On October 19, 2020 LCH, Eurex Clearing and CME Group implemented a discounting switch from EFFR to SOFR for cleared OTC USD denominated derivatives related to Price Alignment Interest (PAI) and Price Alignment Amount (PAA) regarding Settle-to-Market collateral

USD LIBOR transition and Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC)

  • The ARRC issued a deadline on September 30, 2020, in order to establish RFP processes to facilitate the eventual publication of (a) forward-looking term SOFR rates and (b) the ARRC’s recommended spread adjustment for transition of legacy contracts[8]
  • From September 30, 2020 onwards, new syndicated business loans must include ARRC hardwired fallback language
  • From October 31, 2020 onwards, new bilateral business loans must include ARRC hardwired fallback language
  • From December 31, 2020 onwards, no new Floating Rate Notes referring to USD LIBOR and maturing after 2021 should be issued

GBP LIBOR transition and Working Group on Sterling Risk Free Rates

  • New bonds issuances maturing after 2021 and referring to GBP LIBOR should be ceased after Q1 2021[9]
  • New loans issuances maturing after 2021 and referring to GBP LIBOR should be ceased after Q1 2021
  • Initiation of new linear derivatives linked to GBP LIBOR that expire after 2021 should cease after Q1 2021

 

[1] The list of highlights does not have the intention to give a complete overview of all events and only reflects recent developments

[2] A more extensive overview of IBOR benchmarks and related alternative risk free rates can be found on the website of The Investment Association (in cooperation with Linklaters): Table Interbank Offered Rates (IBORs) and Alternative Reference Rates (ARRs), version September 24, 2020

[3] Source: Summary of Responses to the ISDA 2020 Consultation on How to Implement Pre-Cessation Fallbacks in Derivatives. A pre-cessation announcement would be an announcement that the IBOR benchmark is no longer representative of the interbank lending rate. A cessation announcement would be a public announcement that the administrators of different IBOR benchmarks have or will cease to provide IBOR benchmarks

[4] Calculations published by BISL include the adjusted RFR (compounded in arrears), the spread adjustment and the ‘all in’ IBOR fallback rates for the following IBORs across various tenors: the Australian Dollar Bank Bill Swap Rate (BBSW), the Canadian Dollar Offered Rate (CDOR), Swiss franc LIBOR, EURIBOR, Euro LIBOR, Sterling LIBOR, HIBOR, Euroyen TIBOR, Yen LIBOR, TIBOR and US Dollar LIBOR (see https://www.isda.org/2020/07/21/bloomberg-begins-publishing-calculations-related-to-ibor-fallbacks/ )

[5] Source: ISDA launches IBOR fallbacks supplement and protocol October 23, 2020

[6] PAI is the overnight cost of funding collateral. It is debited from the receiver and transferred to the payer to cover the loss of interest on posted collateral. Imagine an Interest Rate Swap, cleared through a CCP such as LCH, Eurex Clearing or CME Group. At the beginning of the life of the swap the PV is close to zero, so worth little to either party. Over the life of the trade the value of the floating leg will vary leading to an NPV to one of the parties. The change in this NPV from day to day is what Variation Margin is, calculated and moved by a CCP on a daily basis.

[7] LCH Discounting Switch Ester and SOFR

CME Discounting Switch Ester and SOFR

Eurex Clearing Discounting Switch Ester and SOFR

[8] ARRC USD LIBOR Transition Timelines, New York Fed, version September 9 2020

[9] UK RFR Roadmap | 2020-21 intermediate update, Bank of England, September 2020

Partner Interview Series | The deeper dive with Treasury Intelligence Solutions (TIS)

03-11-2020 | treasuryXL | TIS |

2020 is a special year in so many ways. For our partner TIS it has been a great year with an expansion of the BENELUX team and a realisation of a double digit growth.

In this interview we will take the deeper dive with TIS Benelux. What have been the greatest successes in the BENELUX? What are the biggest changes in this market? How do you see the future of corporate payments?

TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions GmbH), founded in Walldorf, Germany in 2010, is a global leader in managing corporate payments. The Financial Times named TIS as one of “Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies” for 2019 and 2020. Offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the TIS solution is a comprehensive, highly-scalable, cloud platform for company-wide payments and cash management.

AN INTRODUCTION TO

Meet Aderito Duarte, Sales Executive at TIS and responsible for new business in the BENELUX region.

Aderito has spent over 10 years in the SaaS industry working for different vendors in various sales (leadership) roles, both in local and international markets. He is an ambitious sales professional with a record of over-achievement and demonstrated success in a highly competitive market.

He has a strong background in new business sales and relationship building. Performance, development and contribution are the key words that drive his career and enable him to mobilize the team, partners, clients and prospects.

We asked him 7 questions. Let’s go!

INTERVIEW

1. What is your background and why did you decide to join TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions)?

For very long time I worked as a sales executive for large organizations like ADP, Oracle and SAP.  Then I decided it was time for something different, something more agile and more entrepreneurial. At TIS I can act as a true entrepreneur and always put my customers first. I contribute to my customers’ success while having fun and developing myself together with other colleagues from the Benelux Team. I cannot wish for more.

2. Tell us briefly about TIS, its solution and the most important benefits for your customers.

TIS was founded in 2010 in Walldorf, Germany. Its core offering is a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service platform for corporate payments and cash management. Currently there are about 180 colleagues working from six offices globally including Germany, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and USA. The TIS solution has been successfully used for many years in both large and medium-sized companies, including Adecco Group, Hugo Boss, Fresenius, Fugro, LANXESS, OSRAM and QIAGEN. More than 25% of DAX companies are already TIS customers. Working with TIS allows customers to significantly reduce cost and manual effort in their payment processes. The risk of manual errors can be mitigated, and treasury teams are freed up to direct their attention to more strategic and value-adding tasks. The TIS platform creates an end-to-end payment experience by connecting to virtually any ERP system and any bank with an extensive payment format library. Instead of a plethora of different E-banking tools, all payments can be made securely through one platform, anytime, anywhere. With such consolidation of payments and accounts information, the clients can have a centralized overview of real-time cash visibility.

3. What have been your greatest successes in BENELUX?

Looking at 2020, a year full of challenges for us all, I am very proud that we will realize double digit growth.  Next to that we are building a diverse team with different competences and skills to serve our customers’ needs. Another important aspect to the TIS Benelux success is the strong partner community we are building to support our customers in the region. For example, recently we formed a new partnership with Cashforce and extended our partnership with Orchard Finance.  Above all these achievements, the feedback we receive from customers in the Benelux explains why we received the 2019 TMI award for outstanding customer experience. For example, Simon Karregat, Group Treasurer at Fugro NV says: “With TIS, we have a central overview of worldwide payments, and now just use one platform instead of different banking tools. This enables us to embed our payment transactions within our ERP landscape and realize straight-through processing.” It is always our top priority to generate true business value for our clients.

4. What in your opinion are some of the biggest changes in this market in BENELUX?

Recently we have received many questions from both Treasurers and IT professionals concerning the digitalization or streamlining of the corporate payment process in the big context of the S/4HANA migration. When it comes to SAP (ECC) ERP migration to SAP S/4HANA, there have been a lot of initiatives in the organizations to guarantee a smooth and on-schedule move. The area of corporate payments is a critical part in this migration due to its impact on the group-wide business continuity. It is important to understand customers current needs and determine the appropriate S/4HANA migration scenarios. For that, TIS has published a Whitepaper to help our customers understand the complexity of such migration and the importance of choosing specialist vendors such as TIS in order to maximize the win with SAP S/4HANA.

Another trend we see is, people are working more from home and need the right tools to manage payments, location independently, which potentially increases the risk of fraud. Our view is that payment security is a much broader topic than just payment fraud. Therefore, payment fraud prevention or detection can only be a meaningful exercise when it is an integral part of a company’s overall payment security strategy. While it is not necessary to centralize all the actual payments’ process to prevent fraud, it is key to bring all functions and information together using a single payments’ gateway. Here you can read more how the TIS platform supports our customers to protect their organizations from payment fraud.

5. The world is changing rapidly especially in financial services, how does TIS stay one step ahead of its competitors?

Our solutions are based on a deep understanding of the market, the customer’s needs and our continuously updated vision for the future. Ten years ago, when TIS was founded, there was almost no bank-agnostic payments platform that allowed Treasurers to manage all accounts, transactions, and balances from one platform. Treasurers lacked transparency and cash visibility to make informed decisions. In-house solutions were expensive and time-consuming to develop. Joerg Wiemer, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of TIS, was then the SVP and Head of Global Treasury at SAP. He knew the problem inside and out because he was living that problem every day. When the company was founded, the market was still skeptical about using a cloud solution for payments. However, Joerg and Erol Bozak (cofounder and Chief Product Officer of TIS) believed that cloud was the answer to corporate payments and cash management with its high scalability, fast roll-out and a centralized overview regardless of the complexity of a company’s payments landscape. As many treasury teams all over the world are working from home nowadays, a cloud-based payments platform has been proven to be a blessing to our customers who have confirmed to us that they did not have to make significant changes to their payments processes. Meanwhile TIS continuously grows its payment format library, connects to more banks worldwide, and invests heavily in adding meaningful innovations to the platform.

6. In 5 years from now, how will TIS look like?

In 2019 and 2020, two years in a row TIS has been named by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies. In 2019, the total payment transaction volume of the company was more than that of PayPal. We believe that the demand for agile, flexible and scalable cloud-based payments platform will only grow. This year May, TIS received $20 million additional funding from renowned technology venture funds. We are planning to use this funding to accelerate product development and to further scale operations in Europe and in the US, in order to meet growing international demand. It is hard to predict the future, but I would say in five years from now, TIS will grow its footprint in more regions and it will play a much bigger role in the ecosystem beyond corporate payments.

7. What is TIS’ vision for the future of corporate payments?

Rather than one-stop finance solutions, the future of corporate payments lies in Best-of-Breed solutions. We can observe this trend in the consumer market, where consumers expect to pick and choose from solutions that best meet their needs. In corporate payments, this is still a fairly new concept, however, one with great promise. Corporates get the best products and services in the market that are enabled through APIs, most importantly, that fit best to their specific corporate needs. This new Best-of-Breed ecosystem will also allow corporates to share data more easily with their business partners, helping them achieve better information sharing and service offering.

If you want to learn how TIS can help you gain cash visibility and full control over your payments, please reach out to me via aderito.duarte@tis.biz or request a demo at www.tis.biz/en.

Partner Interview Series | This is a must read story about Enigma Consulting

27-10-2020 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Get inspired by the extensive and catchy story of Robert-Jan Wekking about Enigma Consulting. Robert-Jan takes you into the warm corporate culture, mission, expertise, innovation and their continues investment in knowledge with great examples.

Enigma Consulting is a revolutionary knowledge hub in the field of Payments, Digitisation, Risk & Compliance and Treasury. They are a connecting factor in the financial sector thanks to our consultants’ engagement with their clients, both banks and companies and solution providers.

AN INTRODUCTION TO

Robert-Jan has more than 25 years of experience in payment transactions and he advises corporate clients in the areas of treasury, risk management and bank connectivity.He understands the solutions in the market, both from the B2B and B2C perspective.

Robert-Jan switches easily between executive and operational level within companies and the banking sector, as he easily combines his strategic vision with substantive process and product knowledge. He has a wide network with contacts at all (international) banks, which can speed up the implementation of corporates connectivity with their banks.

We asked him 11 questions. Let’s go!

 

INTERVIEW

1. Tell us more about Enigma Consulting and its mission

Enigma Consulting has in-depth knowledge of all ecosystems that are relevant in payments, transaction value chains and financial markets. Transactional connectivity and digitization increase the prosperity and well-being of consumers, companies and the public sector and thus serve a social interest. Our mission is to contribute to the development of efficient digital transaction traffic and to ensure that this is done in an innovative, sustainable, honest and effective manner with controlled business operations. Combined with a correct attitude and behaviour, this contributes to the translation of legislation and regulations into ethical business operations and a better market position. We follow developments closely, research, analyse and make connections. Our consultants reflect, structure and help organisations to achieve their goals.

2. What is the core topic Enigma Consulting aims to address and how does it differentiate it from the other players in the market?

Digitalization is all about the exchange of data, whether these are payments, information, identities, contracts, signatures or any other regular consumer or business transactions. The complexity of exchanging transactions is constantly increasing; regulations, fraud and data protection are just three of the factors impacting this complexity.  On the other hand, innovative technology is continuously providing easier interaction between data, leading to better and integrated business propositions and making client journeys faster, more friction less and safer.  This is exactly in this domain where Enigma operates.  We leverage our in-depth knowledge of payments and transactions to advise and implement.

We distinguish ourselves from other players by looking at the end-to-end value chain, not only from the viewpoint of efficiency but also with a perspective on regulations and compliance. We understand the guiding laws and regulations and can translate them into practical advice to make sure that our clients remain compliant. We recognize that laws and regulations applying to financial institutions are becoming stricter and that attention is now also shifting towards corporates.

Our legal consultants are specialised in transaction and data related legislation, and we have strong connection with for example DNB and AFM in relation to our guidance of our clients.

Our consultancy practice focuses on the  financial-,  corporate- and retail sectors, hence we understand the complexities affecting those areas. With our knowledge of the ecosystems and  vendor solutions we play the matchmaking role between individual client wishes and the solutions available in the market.

This combination of end-to-end view, legislation and compliancy, working in different sectors, and the matchmaker role gives us a unique position. The fact that we not only advise but also take responsibility for  implementations during the past 20 years, makes us a trusted and recognized partner for our clients.

3. Why choose customers for Enigma Consulting?

Our knowledge of payments and other transaction processes is often the starting point for customers to reach out to us. Our capability to advise and implement solutions from an end-to-end perspective is the basis for our interaction with our customers.  Additionally, customers also appreciate the fact that we are able to advise at a strategic level, but at the same time are pragmatic enough to look for feasible and not theoretical answers.

We have strong relationships with a number of our clients, some even stretching back over more than 20 years. This is something we foster, not only by delivering more than what is expected, but also by working closely together. For instance, our Treasury Barometer is an example where we cooperate with the Rabobank, whilst at the same time we are participating in a number of their projects.

At the end, it all comes together with trust, in the quality of delivery, in our people and in the overall relation. This is how we ensure that we will be shortlisted again the next time.

4. What has been the biggest challenge for Enigma Consulting regarding customer projects so far?

The most challenging projects are when we are asked to take end-to-end responsibility for delivering a complete project. Quite often, this means that we have a team onboard and the client is looking at us as lead consultant to get the job done. A good example is the setup of a complete bank payments infrastructure. Apart from the fact that these assignments are exciting and demanding, it is always challenging to make it happen in an environment with its own complexities.

For our individual consultants, stepping into a new assignment always has its own challenges.

Customers ask for us for different reasons, and our consultants have to quickly adapt to start advising the client. This means not only understanding the clients’ business, but primarily building trust relations with the client and their stakeholders. Hence for every consultant the adaptability towards the new environment is always an important challenge.

For myself personally, I am proud to have led a number of strategic programs, like SEPA, Instant Payments and iDIN.  Besides building completely new products, the key challenge is always to work and build bridges between internal and external parties (Banks, DNB, governmental bodies) with sometimes opposing objectives. Working with all these parties and ultimately developing a new product is what makes me happy and proud of my role as consultant.

5. Can you tell us in what sector you see the most innovative developments regarding payments and how does Enigma Consulting react to these?

One of the most exciting aspects of payments is the continuous innovation in the field. However, it is never a revolution but more an evolution. An example are the digital currencies. I believe that in the long run, these might become as important as, or even replace, the current way of paying. But it will take many years to get there. Where it started with the cryptos and Facebook’s Libra, the central banks are now seriously embracing it.

Additionally, the technical transitions to APIs and SaaS, Open Banking and Instant are ingredients for completely new business innovation. Through API and SaaS, corporates can select best in class software modules and integrate them, rather than select single platforms that will still sub-optimise their process. The introduction of Instant Payments in Europe will ultimately change the way the treasurer needs to forecast and manage their accounts.

In the B2C or C2C world, the client journey will continuously improve, seamlessly and friction less, with data integration as a key element.

Through our assignments, we are constantly in the middle of this innovation. For example, we are the leading consultancy firm in the Netherlands for supporting FinTechs, cryptos and payment software companies with their PSD2 application. Our role in digital identity and Mobility as a Service provides us with insights in yet other areas of innovation.

In order to keep all our consultants informed, we have a weekly meeting with our consultants to discuss the latest trends.

We also leverage this knowledge to assist our clients with their questions around innovation. For this purpose, we have initiated the Enigma Innovation Lab, an accelerator environment to answer client specific questions around innovation, vision building or technical solutions by injecting are our own knowledge combined with our ecosystem of solution providers and subject matter specialists, all facilitated by various methodologies like Design Thinking.

6. Do you experience differences in the world of payments before COVID19 and the time we live in now? What are the differences?

The differences are not that when you look at the regular payment products themselves. But we do see COVID as a steppingstone for digitalization. E-commerce and e-commerce payments have shown significant growth and people are spending increasing amounts of time online. The volumes of payments facilitated by Payment Service Providers are going through the roof.

Also “Cash is King” is the phrase that everybody uses, but this should now be “Digital Cash is King”. Volume of physical cash is dropping significantly, being taken over by contactless payments.

I believe these are just indicators for a bigger change, which is the acceptance of the consumer to step into a full mobile journey.

Customers are now more familiar with working with a cashless wallet and seem also to be willing to adapt faster to other contactless, digital processes. Examples are registration, ordering food and payments in restaurants (for example via QR). But also using mobile apps to order your groceries. Clearly, this has already been taking place for many years, but I believe that COVID has accelerated this transformation through necessity.  People are therefore more willing to change their attitude. What is interesting is whether this transformation will continue, or whether people will step backwards to the old normal or step forward to a new normal.

For the retail sector and corporates, before COVID they already had to understand how to become more relevant in the mobile cashless digital world.  COVID is demanding corporates to speed up this thought process.

7. How does the future of payments look like in your perspective? And how will it change the world?

Digital currencies will be an important element in our future, adopted stepwise, and will be overlooked by market systems and regulators. There will be a continuous drive for integrating payments in the client journey, seamless, frictionless and supporting the Internet of Things. Hence payments will be a key enabler of future growth towards the digital world. Digitization is also very attractive for fraudsters, money laundering etc, as your counterpart is not always visible anymore. The need for trustworthy digital identities will be an important building block for this roadmap.

At the same time, the pressure of fraud, regulations and compliance will shift from banks to other parties (corporates) in the end-to-end value chain. Where banks are currently the gatekeeper, corporates will have to integrate this responsibility in their own business processes.

Hence the roadmap to digital, whether it is digital payments, or any other data transaction, will demand continuous change from all parties in the value chain. This will be a stepwise change, but fast enough to need to keep an eye on it.

8. What has been the biggest success for Enigma Consulting?

The biggest success for Enigma is that we have made a transformation from payments “only” to understanding the full transaction, risk and data value chain. For example, we have made a transition from bank payments to treasury payments and risk processes, but also from payments to compliance, and to integrated transactions and data models.

During this period, we have also changed our internal organisation.  We have been running a number of Young Professional Programs. These next generation talents bring us a more diverse view of the world, which makes our proposition to the market stronger and our internal culture more diverse. As a result, we believe that we have the foundation for supporting our clients, now and in the future, with a passion for payments and transactions.

9. How does Enigma Consulting keep on innovating and stay one step ahead of its competitors?

Our ambition is to be recognised as a though leader in the domain of payment and transactions. Investing in knowledge is the basis for our current and future advisory services.

This means that we continuously invest in gaining and sharing knowledge with our consultants and clients. We have organised this in a number of ways.

We have introduced the so-called Theme Lifecycle within Enigma. When we expect a theme becomes relevant for our business, now or the future, we start a workgroup to progress this theme from idea through different stages. It starts with writing a one pager based on study and analysis, called the exploring stage. We validate the readiness for every next stage (exploring, campaigning, harvesting) so that we invest time in those subjects that also become relevant for the market. All our consultants participate in one or more themes, which helps keep them engaged with innovation and market developments.

Every week we organise meetings to discuss news and articles. On turn, every consultant is responsible to select a number of articles to be discussed during this half hour meeting.

For our clients, we have regular Breakfast and Brains meetings to share our insights and to have open discussions on a specific subject. The success is that clients that even might compete in a certain sector, are always willing to learn and share from our and other clients’ experiences.

Finally, we also participate in and cooperate with FinTechs. We support them by leveraging our network of solutions, whilst their innovative ideas are a good source for future improvements, leading to a broader ecosystem that benefits our clients.

10. We are heading to the end of 2020, can you give us an outlook on the scheduled developments for the upcoming year?

The best outlook would be that we leave COVID-19 behind us, however I think that COVID will strongly influence the developments and investments in 2021. There are a number of scheduled developments which will impact corporate clients. Corporates will have to put their capacity in the IBOR Migration.  Also, the transition to XML messages will impact the operating architecture and bank connectivity of corporates.  In parallel, the transition to instant payments including batches will have to be put on the calendar of the finance function.

And in parallel, it is recommended to continue to look at the potential of open banking and further integration of payments data in the corporate business processes. An example is how payment data can improve the risk profiles of insurance companies.

In summary, enough subjects to keep an eye on. Sitting still and waiting is not an option.

11. A great initiative is that Enigma Consulting supports charity projects, what kind of charity projects does Enigma Consulting support, why and how?

The why should never be a discussion, the real discussion is what you can do. One of our activities is the ZEPA challenge.  Our consultants do like sports, and a lot of them love to cycle. When the transition to SEPA was going on, some of our consultants took the initiative for this challenge: cycling from Zeist to Paris in 24 hours. We have done this now 3 times, and a number of our clients’ employees have also participated.  This year’s event was cancelled, but we are already “ready” for the next challenge. There is not a fixed charity goal, the last charity was support for the education of young refugees.

Apart from the above, we have a warm partnership with “Goede Doelen” charity organisations in Netherlands and facilitate a free payments helpdesk for them.

It is of crucial importance to us to participate in an open and honest society, in which diversity and inclusion are critical. This is important for our own culture, as as an organisation we benefit from our consultants and they, in turn, foster these values in their personal lives.

Top 4 most useful Key Performance Indicators for Accounts Payable

| 14-10-2020 | treasuryXL | SpendLab Recovery |

Nowadays all businesses use Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to measure the performance of internal -and external processes and thereby operational success. In the Accounts Payable unit of an organization this should not be any different.

‘If it cannot be measured, it cannot be managed’. Establishing and tracking KPI’s in the Accounts Payable department enables an organization to identify weak processes and operational inefficiencies. A KPI should be specific, quantifiable, time-bound and should be agreed upon by all project members. KPI’s need to be measured on a regular basis to ensure that the Accounts Payable process matches with the goals set by the organization and to identify areas of improvement.

In general, but also in specific cases such as mergers and acquisitions, organizational restructuring and new technology implementations (e.g. Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning) it is imperative to make use of Accounts Payable KPI’s that enable organizations to measure the impact of changes on the Accounts Payable process.

In the last couple of months, SpendLab Recovery has requested their clients to share the KPI’s that are most important to them in the Accounts Payable department. From the reactions that we received, we have compiled a list of KPI’s that secure the most meaning from available data, which can be used to strengthen the Accounts Payable process.

  1. The cost per processed invoice

The cost per processed invoice is the cost of processing one invoice in the (entire) organization. This cost can vary depending on the type of business as well as the factors that are taken into account. Important to understand is the fact that the cost per processed invoice may appear to be low, just because the hidden costs that negatively impact the profit have not been taken into account.

One example related to hidden costs is an organization that has a high level of manual invoice processing. This type of organization needs to take into account labour- and operational costs, the risk of human errors, and lengthy processes. In addition, the cost per processed invoice needs to take into account the time spent by employees in the Accounts Payable process. Several other contributors to the cost per processed invoice are systems and equipment, overpayment, errors, lost supplier discounts as well as audit costs.

A second example encompasses invoices that are sent by suppliers, but do not meet the requirements set by the client. This inefficient process results in a chain reaction that increases the number of activities that have to be conducted. Consequently, the costs of processing an invoice will increase.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, the processing costs of an invoice have decreased significantly. Whereas the costs of processing an invoice in the Accounts Payable department ranged between $20,00 and $30,00, some organizations are now able to process an invoice for $10,00, and top performing organizations for $5,00, according to the results of a survey published in 2018.

Accounts Payable departments can reduce the manual handling of invoices by implementing and utilizing paperless Accounts Payable automation software.

  • The lead time per processed invoice

The cost of processing invoices increases when an organization processes invoices slowly. The lead time per processed invoice in the Accounts Payable department tracks the total time that it takes for an invoice to be received, processed, finalized, and made ready for payment in the financial ERP system. Processing speeds vary based on the size as well as the industry an organization works in.

If a specific Accounts Payable automation solution manages the total process, starting from receiving the receipt to posting in the ERP, this metric can easily be tracked throughout the system. However, if process steps happen outside of the Accounts Payable automation solution, it might get tricky, but still an exceptional way to measure the overall efficiency of processing invoices in the Accounts Payable.

The key to achieve a reduction in the lead time per processed invoice is automation. By mapping the Accounts Payable process, removing manual process steps and implementing an automation solution that takes on the workload in the back-end of the organization, organizations are able to save valuable time and ensure that the resources in the Accounts Payable can focus on value-adding activities.

  • The number of invoices processed per employee per day

One of the KPI’s that should not be neglected is the number of invoices that an Accounts Payable employee processes on a daily basis. This KPI provides key insights into the strengths and opportunities in the Accounts Payable department.

There are a significant number of negative downstream effects in relation to low performers in this KPI. For instance, until an invoice is processed, approved and filed into an ERP system, other departments are not able to assess the development and/or stage of the process the invoice is in.

This lack of insights and therefore visibility leads to organization-wide problems such as missed supplier discounts, late payment fees, mismanaged cash flows, and overall poor relationships with suppliers.

Optimizing this KPI is therefore a must.

  • Percentage of invoice exceptions

Invoice exceptions are a plague for Accounts Payable departments and therefore organizations in general. The result of invoice exceptions is twofold. First of all, invoice exceptions cause a reduction in the processing efficiency, having to discuss and agree on the invoice with peers and, in the worst case, creating disputes with purchasers and suppliers. Secondly, invoice exceptions drag down employee morale, especially when the exceptions have to do with structural problems that are related to the workflow. A few examples of invoice exceptions are the following: discrepancies in the purchase order (e.g. wrong supplier codes, receipt dates or zip codes), incorrect, duplicate and missing purchase orders and non-purchase orders.

The bottlenecks that are a result of invoice exceptions are able to bring entire Accounts Payable departments to halt. Being able to reduce the impact of discrepancies requires organizations to track and control invoice exception rates.

About SpendLab Recovery

SpendLab Recovery is the Dutch market leader in spend justification. The company is a former spin-off from the Dutch government with a 98 year old heritage in procurement. It currently specialises in generating liquidity for clients by analysing -and identifying anomalies in accounts payable data.

In terms of certification, SpendLab is GPR compliant and is ISO-certified for Information Security Management (ISO/IEC 27001) and Quality Management (ISO 9001:2015).

By having insights in the accounts payable and being able to recover unjustified liquidity, treasurers will be able to identify and control (liquidity) risks in their vendor data.

For more information visit SpendLab.com