Digital Payments Transformation for 2022

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

By Bob Stark, Global Head of Market Strategy

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

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

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

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

Reduced Bank and Transaction Costs

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

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

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

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

Improved Efficiency

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

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

Fraud Prevention

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

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

Additional reading: 15 Minute Guide to Payment Hubs

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

What can you expect in the first episode?

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

Duration: 19.20 min

WATCH NOW FOR FREE

Enjoy, explore and develop!

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

 

Wim Kok

International Business Consultant
Trade Finance Specialist

 

 

 

 

Currency Volatility Is A Catalyst for Response by Treasury

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

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

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

Euro-US Dollar Rate
British Pound-US Dollar Rate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Trade Finance for Treasurers

23-11-2021 | Wim Kok | treasuryXL | LinkedIn

The current global trading environment has exposed new complexities and heightened risks associated with international trade, notably through Covid 19. Following the latest studies (* ADB) the global trade finance gap grew to an all-time high of USD 1,7 trillion. Especially for SME sector (being hardest hit) the availability of bank liquidity and credit is increasingly under pressure. As a result, the playing field of international trade needs greater focus on understanding and mitigating risks and making use of new opportunities in the accelerating digital world of Trade Finance.

“Following the latest studies (* ADB) the global trade finance gap grew to an all-time high of USD 1,7 trillion.”

The ability to quickly access cost-effective financing when and where it is needed is key for also treasury departments. The new challenges and rapid changing finance landscape prompts many Corporate Treasurers to re-educate themselves and/or seek specialized expertise from trusted advisors, identify new and reliable alternative funding sources, streamline their digital journeys and current (internal) processes to achieve additional efficiency, transparency and cost reduction.

The use of Trade Finance solutions via (mostly standard and “old”) banking products goes way back in history to the golden age (Bill of exchange and promissory note financing). Our TreasuryXL expert Wim Kok can guide and advise you on the roles of banks and other key players, including emerging Fintech providers, insurers and alternative providers. It is essential for the Treasury department to address the needs and or pain points of the company select the most appropriate solution or partner to solve the problems or make use of new opportunities.

To give you an idea of ​​the regular trade finance products that are available to facilitate trade, we list the instruments below.

Why is Trade Finance so Important to Corporate Treasurers?

  • Obtaining liquidity using risk mitigation and financing options from international trade transactions
  • The role of banks in trade finance products (risk mitigation / financing and transaction processing)
  • Obtaining insight into the various trading conditions (Incoterms), the additional securities (title of documents, warehouse warrants) and credit insurance principles

Below is a brief overview of the most commonly used trade finance instruments, i.e.

  • Documentary Letters of Credit (import, export), Stand-by LCs, Guarantees and Indemnities.
  • Documentary Collections (CAA, CAD) – Bills of exchange and Promissory notes. Obtaining liquidity through discounting the instruments (with or without recourse).

Besides the classical trade finance banking products liquidity techniques such Receivable Finance or the Factoring of complete debtor portfolios (with or without credit insurance) are also frequently in the industry.

Your TreasuryXL trusted advisor Wim Kok is available for advice on the use of the various trade finance products or techniques.

Whereas the majority of trade finance products are (mostly) standardized and in international accepted format that are subject and adhere to the various international rules issued by the ICC** to name a few: UCP 600, ISP98, URDG758 and Incoterms etc.

 

Wim Kok

International Business Consultant
Trade Finance Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

*The global trade finance gap grew to an all-time high of $1.7 trillion in 2020, a 15% increase from two years earlier, as the pandemic heightened economic and financial uncertainties and devastated global trade, according to the latest Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, and Jobs Survey, released today by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

**ICC Headquarters 33-43 avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris, France Tel: +33 (0) 1 49 53 28 28 Fax: + 33 (0) 1 86 26 67 44 Email: [email protected]

 

Changing priorities of corporate treasurers post-pandemic

| 15-11-2021 | Eurofinance | treasuryXLLinkedIn

More than 18 months have passed since treasury professionals around the world had to leave their offices at short notice due to the escalating covid-19 crisis. In April 2021, EuroFinance carried out a survey to find out more about the different ways the pandemic has affected treasury professionals. Alongside the adoption of remote working, the subsequent report highlights treasurers’ accelerated adoption of digital technologies, and the contribution that treasurers make to board-level decision-making during a crisis.

What are the key takeaways from this report?

  • The importance of cash flow forecasting has been underlined by the crisis. Almost three quarters of treasury professionals have increased their focus on cash forecasting during the crisis, while 54% plan to prioritise cash forecasting in the future.
  • Cash management and liquidity management remains a top priority for treasury professionals. Seven out of ten said cash management/liquidity management was a top priority going forward.
  • Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation. Alongside the rise in remote working, treasury teams have increased their adoption of robotic process automation (RPA), APIs/cloud, machine learning/AI and virtual accounts/in-house banks.
  • Treasurers have been more involved in board-level decision making during the pandemic, with 39% of treasurers saying they are more involved since the crisis began.

Want to see the full report?

Download here

 

 

Kyriba Fact Sheet – Payment Errors & Compliance Violations

27-10-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

Payment errors and compliance violations cause significant losses for businesses of all sizes. Fraud alone cost companies more than $42 billion last year, according to PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey.

The repercussions are wide-ranging, from arduous public disclosures and legal fees to reputational damage. Some are the result of attacks by elite cybercriminals, while others are simple mistakes made by careless or inexperienced employees. Kyriba’s Payments Fraud Solution delivers confidence that payment fraud attempts, errors and policy violations are captured, identified, and eliminated, saving your organization time, effort, and money.

Have a read of Kyriba’s Fact Sheet to learn more about payment errors and how Kyriba can help you.

Kyriba Unlocks Access to $15 Trillion Payment Network with Launch of Open API Platform

25-10-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

Kyriba, a global leader in cloud-based finance and IT solutions, today announced the launch of its Open API Platform to enable composable technology solutions for CFOs, CIOs and Treasurers, and accelerate the next generation of finance innovation. Kyriba’s Open API Platform streamlines the creation and connectivity of new applications for the company’s trusted network, which connects 1,000 banks, manages over a million bank accounts, and processes over 200 million payments worth 15 trillion USD annually.

The Open API Platform is accessible through Kyriba’s newly launched Developer Portal, which connects fintech developers to Kyriba’s 2,000+ global corporate clients who have integrated Kyriba into their treasury processes, enterprise payments systems, and ERP platforms.

 

“Kyriba Open API Platform will radically unlock fintech innovation for enterprise CFOs and their CIO counterparts,” said Boris Lipiainen, CTO of Kyriba. “Beyond simplifying and accelerating bank and ERP connectivity, fintech developers will bring new apps to the Kyriba network and empower the next generation of financial technology.”

 

APIs are transforming the way Finance and IT consume and integrate data and are the gateway to delivering real-time services, artificial intelligence, and composable digital finance solutions for CFOs and CIOs. According to Gartner® research, “Gartner predicts through 2024, 50% of financial application leaders will incorporate a composable financial management system approach to their solution selection. Gartner defines a composable architecture as one where highly modular applications can be composed and recomposed to deliver capabilities and outcomes that keep up with the rapid pace of business change1.”

 

“Kyriba’s Open API Platform eliminates the need for internal IT teams to deliver a patchwork of custom interfaces and RPA bots to satisfy the growing need for hyperautomation,” said Félix Grévy, VP of Open API and Connectivity at Kyriba. “Our Platform enables Kyriba clients and our network of development partners to accelerate product innovation and deliver composable technology solutions to eliminate fraud, mitigate risk and optimize enterprise liquidity.”

 

For more information about Kyriba’s Open API Platform, visit Kyriba.com or the Kyriba Developer Portal and listen to their webinar APIs:The Catalyst for Real-Time Treasury.

Your Last Call | International Treasury Management Virtual Week | September 27 – October 1

22-09-2021 | Eurofinance | treasuryXL |

It’s free, It’s Virtual…

International Treasury Management is the annual meeting place for 1000s of the World’s most senior treasurers to learn and share experiences in valuable peer to peer discussions. With a reputation for ground-breaking sessions and world-class speakers, our 30th anniversary event will explore the boundaries of the profession, take a glimpse into the future of business, treasury and working life as well as offer the practical case studies on the treasurer’s top agenda items.

Only one treasury event can deliver the comprehensive mix of big picture global insight and granular treasury knowledge you need to make the right choices for the future.


Back to the future, again

Over the past 30 years since EuroFinance’s inaugural conference on International Cash and Treasury Management, much has changed. Treasurers have firmly become business partners, technology experts, risk managers and opportunity spotters. They often lead fundamental change within the company as markets, business models and technology shifts.

What next? This event will delve into how treasury operations can gear up for the future, having learned the lessons from the past. Where, who, what and how will the corporate be in the coming years and what is treasury’s role?

Keynote sessions will offer big-picture insight alongside themed streams including:

  • Payments revisited
  • Risks and Rewards
  • Digital strategies
  • Practical solutions to day-to-day Treasury challenges
  • The power of partnership

What makes International Treasury Management the must-attend event of the year?

  • networking on a global scale – a significant rise in attendees in 2020 boosted the value networking with banks, providers and potential clients… all in one place
  • strategic insights and best practices – get solutions to the challenges you face from treasury and economic experts during keynotes, practical case studies, fireside chats, analytical panels and more
  • future trends – delve into the latest innovations and new technology driving change in treasury, and their practical applications
  • live Q&A with world-class treasurers – enjoy borderless networking and live Q&As with high-profile speakers directly after each session
  • cost and time-efficiency – tune in form anywhere in the world, at the click of a button with no long distance travel or accommodation costs
  • continued learning – catch up on any missed sessions and re-watch your highlights, on demand for up 2 months after the event
  • unite your international teams – as a free event, it offers an opportunity for your whole treasury team to attend. Perfect for encouraging learning and development at all levels

September 27th – October 1st | Virtual

Register Now for Free!

 

 

Readying Treasury for Hybrid Work

20-09-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way treasury departments and companies operate is a massive understatement. Treasury, a function already accustomed to ‘doing more with less,’ began operating remotely—often with a skeleton crew as companies were forced to reduce headcount.

Once mass distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine began, companies quickly began to strategise over what their post-pandemic workforce might look like. While the rise of the Delta variant has thrown a wrench into many organisations’ plans to reopen, eventually, that new work model will take shape. And it might look drastically different than what has come before.

Here are a few things to consider.

A hybrid work environment will very likely be the new normal.

Research from Harvard Business Review found that 70 percent of companies—including giants like Google, Citi and HSBC—are moving to a hybrid model. Just as treasury teams needed to adapt quickly to operating from home, now they’ll have to adjust to having some team members in the office while others are remote.

CFOs have an eye on emerging technologies.

The remote working environment brought on by the pandemic prompted, or perhaps forced, many organisations to digitise their processes. In a hybrid work environment (that could revert back to a fully remote one if COVID-19 variants continue to emerge), finance chiefs will continue to call for better technological solutions. New research from Gartner found that 82 percent of CFOs plan to increase investments in digital capabilities. CFOs named artificial intelligence (AI) as the technology that they expect to have the most impact over the next three years. Kyriba users can apply AI and machine learning (ML) to key cash management tasks like reconciling prior day bank files with their expected cash positions. For organisations that process high volumes of transactions, handling this process manually can take hours. Kyriba’s solution can identify and resolve discrepancies in minutes, and it learns from the data so that eventually, little to no human interaction is required.

Treasury’s role expanded considerably throughout the COVID-19 crisis. 

More than 80 percent of treasury professionals said that greater value was assigned to treasury during the pandemic, according to the 2020 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of respondents believe that treasury’s role will continue to be of greater significance. To maintain that influence over other, other departments, treasury professionals may need to revisit their soft skills. Just as employees may have faced difficulty giving presentations over Zoom, they may also find presenting in-person or to a mix of in-person and remote employees to be equally challenging.

Regional treasury centers might no longer need to be regional. 

While it can be convenient to house a treasury center to manage cash and FX hedging in a region with unique regulations, the COVID-19 pandemic may prompt organisations to rethink that approach. Since the onset of the pandemic, those remote working has surged; the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found that 42 percent of the U.S. labor force currently works from home. And perhaps more importantly, it’s been incredibly successful for both employers and workers, according to PwC’s U.S. Remote Work Survey. Ultimately, this could mean that treasury teams may no longer see a need to centralise their operations regionally even after the pandemic ends.

Continuous remote work means fraud threats will remain elevated.

According to the 2021 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey, business email compromise (BEC) scams increased last year. This was likely due to the remote work environment making it more difficult to verify emails with colleagues. Security will continue to be paramount for treasury, particularly if it moves to a permanent model where some employees regularly work from home. Treasury teams will need to continue to use strong controls like multifactor authentication, single sign-on and virtual private networks to ensure that only the appropriate people have access to their systems. Additionally, treasury employees must be even more meticulous about setting approvals for payments so that fraud attempts will be thwarted. With Kyriba Payment Fraud Detection, treasury can stop fraud in real-time. Users can set pre-defined detection rules, to screen for suspicious transactions. Additionally, ML algorithms can identify and quarantine dubious payments for further review.

The cloud provides a failsafe for business continuity planning (BCP). 

Cloud-based treasury management systems aren’t only efficient modules to help treasury teams track cash and liquidity. They are also a key cog in BCP. Cloud-based solutions like Kyriba’s are hosted offsite in multiple locations, allowing your treasury department to function regardless of whether your team is working in the office or from a dozen different locations. So even if a new COVID-19 variant emerges, treasury teams can continue to function without interruption.

Making a Game Plan

While it’s unclear how soon offices will begin opening back up en masse, now is the time for treasury teams to begin planning for the shift. When the pandemic first hit, treasury functions had to respond quickly, and they did as best they could. Pivoting in this next phase won’t be seamless, but with the right protocols and technology in place, treasury teams can make smooth transitions.

Strategic Treasurer’s Analyst Report Series: Treasury and Risk Management Systems

06-09-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

This document contains a comprehensive illustration of the current state of treasury technology and the exciting future direction using new tools that are already with us. This FinTech analyst report from Strategic Treasurer takes a look at the current health of the TMS space and what benefits can come from implementing a treasury management system in your operations. Additionally, this report covers emerging technologies within treasury, such as the use of robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and more.

Understand the current TMS space and its benefits

The Treasury and Risk Management Systems Analyst Report offers a thorough evaluation of the TMS space by covering the emerging uses of AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning), RPA (robotic process automation), and API (application programming interface) technologies in treasury.

It also discusses:

  • The place of a TMS/TRMS in business continuity planning and preparing for disruption and volatility
  • The best practices and proper mindsets for avoiding pitfalls in selecting, making a business case for, and implementing treasury technology
  • The varied ways in which these solutions address the day-to-day pain points and inefficiencies of treasury departments

Download it now!