Question: What are Treasurers expecting from Open Banking? Part 4

30-11-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Not sure what all the talk about APIs and Treasury is about, or wondering if you need to know more? Then it is definitely a good idea to attend the live session together with Cobase on the future of APIs on December 13 at 10 CET.

Join the live discussion to hear fresh viewpoints on the topic from experts Patrick Kunz, and Jack Gielen, moderated by Pieter de Kiewit. Ahead of this webinar, Cobase asked COO Jack Gielen to shed his light on the use case of APIs. In this series, Jack answers the most frequently asked questions.

Question: What are Treasurers expecting from Open Banking?

Jack believes it is key to not try to deliver everything at once but move in clearly defined phases. Click on the image above to hear from Jack.

Question: Will banks provide the required APIs for corporates? Part 3

23-11-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Have you already registered for next webinar together with Cobase on the future of APIs on December 13 at 10 CET? Join the live discussion to learn new perspectives on the topic from field specialists such as Patrick Kunz and Jack Gielen, moderated by Pieter de Kiewit.

Ahead of this webinar, Cobase asked COO Jack Gielen to shed his light on the use case of APIs. In this series, Jack answers the most frequently asked questions.

Question: Will banks provide the required APIs for corporates?

Jack sees three signs that we will see improvement in the upcoming time. Click on the image above to hear from Jack. Stay tuned for the rest of the interview.

Who do you think should “give a push” and work on APIs? Vote now

Question: What is the current status of Open Banking for Treasurers? Part 2

16-11-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Did you already sign up for the webinar on the Future of APIs on the 13th of December 10 CET with Cobase? Join the live discussion to get a fresh perspective on the subject from field experts such as Patrick Kunz and Jack Gielen, moderated by Pieter de Kiewit.

 

Ahead of this webinar, Cobase asked COO Jack Gielen to shed his light on the use case of APIs. In this series, Jack answers the most frequently asked questions.

Question: What is the current status of Open Banking for Treasurers?

Click on the image above to hear from Jack. Stay tuned for the rest of the interview.

Question: What are Treasurers looking for from Open Banking? Part 1

08-11-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Save the date 13 December: Webinar on the Future of APIs.

 

Ahead of our joint webinar with Cobase, some questions were asked to their COO Jack Gielen on the usecase of APIs. In this series, Jack answers the questions most frequently asked when it comes to APIs.

Question: What are Treasurers looking for from Open Banking?

“𝘐𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘛𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨”

“𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘭𝘭, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘢𝘵 𝘢 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘬”

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview

 

Embracing the future

15-09-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

In the final blog in this series by Cobase, we look at how digital transformation impacts skills requirements, how APIs are enabling more accurate and timely decision-making, and key considerations around future bank connectivity.

Treasury teams have had to adjust rapidly to remote working conditions as a result of measures introduced to combat the spread of Covid. To facilitate these new working conditions, treasurers have accelerated their digital transformation efforts through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, APIs and cloud technology, and process automation.

Skills such as system integration, business development, data analytics and programming are increasingly valuable, while skills that can be automated are declining in importance.

Treasury teams may not require coding skills, but to maintain relevance they must become a centre of excellence, demonstrate expertise in how new systems work, and integrate with other systems and processes. Treasurers also need to be more proactive in terms of setting their organisation’s strategy and plans for digital transformation.

A simple implementation process that can be completed in days rather than months is seen as vital to the success of digitisation projects, alongside systems that can be implemented and then expand as the business grows.

If treasurers embrace change and build the skills needed to actively participate in digital transformation, they can make the treasury department indispensable and demonstrate why they deserve a seat at the table when digital and technology strategies are being decided.

In terms of specific technologies, the release of application protocol interfaces or APIs that enable connectivity between corporate accounting software, corporate middleware and bank portals has the potential to yield a variety of benefits for corporates, including the availability of balance and transaction information in (near) real-time to enable more accurate and timely decision making and further optimise cash and credit lines.

By allowing the transfer of information specific to the needs of the customer, APIs ensure that only the required data is transferred – meaning limited interface capacity is not wasted on the movement of irrelevant information. In addition, payments can be executed in real-time and connectivity to new banking partners can be achieved more quickly, especially for corporates who work via partners that maintain connections with a wide set of banks.

When it comes to this future connectivity, corporates also need to consider whether their provider will be able to move to the open banking APIs once the banks make them available and will be able to provide APIs to their ERP environment. Determining whether providers can facilitate such a move involves checking on their ability to handle external APIs (from banks, for instance) and whether they have the right licences and capabilities to connect via APIs to these banks’ and corporates’ systems once they are ready.

The potential of blockchain technology to enable banks to design new instruments and new ecosystems to support the great need of securing and financing trade operations – notably for SMEs –  while reducing the constraints and costs of traditional instruments such as letters of credit is also intriguing.

The 7 habits of highly effective treasurers

Why are some treasury teams more adept at managing the financial challenges faced by their enterprises than others? We decided to identify some of the factors that contribute to intelligent treasury management and operational excellence and created an e-book which we would like to share with you. If you follow the habits outlined in this e-book, you will be well on the way to better cash flow and working capital management.

 

New call-to-action


All above board

01-09-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

In this Cobase blog, it is discussed how standardizing practices improve transparency and visibility, why automating manual invoice handling and payment processing procedures improves the speed, quality, and transparency of payments, and how corporates can enhance sanctions checking without degrading user experience.

Before sending a payment to a bank, a check on beneficiary account changes compared to previous payments made to the same beneficiary/vendor can point to invoice fraud. Checking changes in amounts compared to a median amount of past payments – and payment frequency – can also be beneficial.

Internal fraud is usually either committed once with a high value, or regularly for smaller volumes. If treasurers know the usual process they can determine if something is out of the ordinary.

Malicious activity is difficult to detect in a cumbersome and scattered ERP and bank environment. Therefore, harmonised practices increase transparency and visibility, while uniform processes help to track cash outflows.

Eliminating manual handling of payment data removes many opportunities for fraud and also adds to the transparency, quality and speed of payments.

To prevent false invoicing, a limited number of users should have the ability to create new payees, settlement instructions, and cash transfers.

The treasurers who are at the highest risk from fraudulent activity are those with decentralised operating structures, higher transaction volumes, and fragmented/outdated technologies.

Over the last few years, corporates that have accelerated their move to the cloud have benefitted from the massive investment cloud providers have made to secure their platforms. Having systems and processes running on the cloud allows additional security measures to be taken that are very difficult to implement or are not available for deployment on site.

Corporates should establish a social media use policy to ensure fraudsters are not made aware when treasury staff are out of the office. Employees should not use their company email address to register on any social media website for personal use and any social media posting by an employee should be consistent with company policies and reviewed through a central function.

If you rely on a bank connectivity partner for all your bank connections you also need to be sure that they work in a secure and reliable way.

Sanctions have become a high profile topic following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and companies need to embrace the regulatory changes put in place to protect against international money laundering and sanction breaking.

One important tool which will assist with sanctions checking is the introduction of the ISO 20022 file format for payment messages. The richer data facilitated by the new file format will improve cross-checking, increase transparency, and reduce false positives.

Treasurers should put in place a system of fraud detection based on multiple lines of defence including automatic sanction screening as well as black-list verification. Solely relying on banks’ sanction screening is not necessarily sufficient.

Corporates also need to consider that while analysis of both the remitter and beneficiary provides a more detailed basis for screening this may slow the transaction process down, negatively impacting the user experience. It is therefore vital to use tools that flag misconduct or other issues while minimising operational impacts.

In the final blog in this series we will look at how digital transformation impacts skills requirements, the benefits to treasury in terms of becoming more strategically important, how APIs are enabling more accurate and timely decision-making, and key issues around future connectivity.

The 7 habits of highly effective treasurers

Why are some treasury teams more adept at managing the financial challenges faced by their enterprises than others? We decided to identify some of the factors that contribute to intelligent treasury management and operational excellence and created an e-book which we would like to share with you. If you follow the habits outlined in this e-book, you will be well on the way to better cash flow and working capital management.

 

New call-to-action


Making the right connections

18-08-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and more recently the geopolitical disruptions,  treasury teams have been operating in a uniquely demanding environment that has stretched resources and ingenuity to the limit. Never have treasurers had to cope with so many different factors at the same time.

The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that corporates are often composed of multiple subsidiaries working in a number of different currencies with a variety of banks with which they will typically hold numerous accounts.

Multiple cash management banking relationships make managing payments and cash visibility a cumbersome process that involves logging in and out of different bank portals and managing disparate authorisation schemes while trying to ensure that bank data and data in ERP or accounting systems is synchronised.

In some organisations, managing cash positions over multiple banks and accounts remains a manual process, increasing the possibility of human error. When looking to execute sophisticated liquidity forecasting and/or manage foreign currency exposure, this process may become significantly more difficult and risky.

At the heart of these challenges lies the current state of connectivity between banks and ERP/accounting systems. The available integrations can be cumbersome, resulting in ongoing IT projects.

As a result there is scope for significant improvement in this area, which can be achieved through use of specific solutions centred on connectivity.

Optimally managing payments and cash requires seamless, robust and near real-time connectivity between banks and financial systems and the execution of all payment and cash management tasks in the company’s administrative environment or another single user interface dedicated to this task.

Companies who do all their business with a single bank should be able to access an efficient interface and connectivity to their back office functions via a single bank wholesale solution (whether e.g. host-to-host, API or SWIFT).

However, for corporates that have significant business with multiple banks a single bank will not be able to provide a robust solution. In this scenario, corporates are faced with negotiating a vast amount of workarounds, dedicated applications, and interfaces to perform cash management.

It is not hard to envisage the high degree of inefficiency and risk introduced to the process by this way of working. These drawbacks have been highlighted in various research reports where corporate clients are asked about the biggest challenges they faced when integrating with a bank.

Challenges around bank connectivity demonstrate that this is an issue to be taken seriously. This is another area where automation, or working with a dedicated specialised partner, frees up time for the treasurer to focus on the other many strategic challenges at hand.

In the next blog in this series we will look at how harmonised practices increase transparency and visibility, why automating manual processes in invoice handling and payment processing adds to the transparency, quality and speed of payments, and offer guidance to corporates looking to improve sanctions checking without negatively impacting the user experience.

The 7 habits of highly effective treasurers

Why are some treasury teams more adept at managing the financial challenges faced by their enterprises than others? We decided to identify some of the factors that contribute to intelligent treasury management and operational excellence and created an e-book which we would like to share with you. If you follow the habits outlined in this e-book, you will be well on the way to better cash flow and working capital management.

 

New call-to-action


The value of making timely use of data

04-08-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Since the start of the pandemic, the unprecedented financial stresses companies have underlined the potential consequences of underestimating risks and the value of building multiple business scenarios and corresponding options.



In the first in a series of blogs, we outline best practice for reviewing key financial data and look at the value of treasury dashboards and why cash forecasting is being undertaken more regularly, as well as exploring trends in payments.

The phrase ‘time is money’ is highly applicable in treasury environments where there are significant fluctuations in working capital availability. Companies that fall into this category benefit from at least daily reviews of key financial data. In companies where capital is constrained, reviewing existing credit facilities on a weekly basis is a sensible approach.

The pace of economic change at national and global level also demands more regular cash forecasting. With market conditions changing regularly, treasurers need to take a shorter-term view and implement monthly or even weekly forecasts.

This is backed up by research, showing that treasurers have increased their focus on cash forecasting in the last few years and intend to commit additional resources to this area, including investing in tools to generate better information about payments, receivables and forecasting, and technology to integrate cash flow forecasting into day-to-day banking flows.

Visual representation of key data is useful for helping senior management understand corporate cash positions. Treasury dashboards that present historic, current and projected financial information via charts and graphs allow for better decision-making.

They also enable the treasurer to produce user-definable reports on financial transaction data such as receivables and payables, cash on hand, currency exposures and days outstanding. These can be used to inform hedging strategies as well as enabling treasury teams to proactively report on their activities and play a more influential role in their organisation.

Reducing bank account complexity is another key treasury objective, which can be achieved through the use of virtual accounts that support automated receivables reconciliation processes and higher invoice matching rates while lowering banking costs.

One of the key cash flow and liquidity levers available to businesses is delayed payments. Every company wants to receive monies owed on time, but very few have never made a late payment to a supplier – particularly larger organisations with greater bargaining power.

Flexible payment terms are a key mechanism to manage and make the best use of cash flow, but this strategy may not be an option for small businesses. In this context, real-time or instant payments could be the answer, allowing businesses to hold on to cash for longer while paying suppliers and staff or reimbursing customers on time.

In the next blog in this series, we will look at how cash positions can be optimised through the use of specific solutions centred on connectivity and explain the pros and cons of connecting back office functions via SWIFT and how automation, frees up time for the treasurer to focus on higher value tasks.

 

The 7 habits of highly effective treasurers

Why are some treasury teams more adept at managing the financial challenges faced by their enterprises than others? We decided to identify some of the factors that contribute to intelligent treasury management and operational excellence and created an e-book which we would like to share with you. If you follow the habits outlined in this e-book, you will be well on the way to better cash flow and working capital management.

 

New call-to-action


The 7 habits of highly effective treasurers

28-07-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

Why are some treasury teams more adept at managing the financial challenges faced by their enterprises than others? Cobase decided to identify some of the factors that contribute to intelligent treasury management and operational excellence and summarized it all in an e-book.



To this end, Cobase analysed the market and interviewed and observed our clients and the work we do for them.

Having considered the results of this analysis we came to the conclusion that while there are many factors that impact the ability of treasurers to do their job effectively, there are seven key habits that are continuously practiced by successful treasurers.

Download this e-book now and you will be well on the way to better cash flow and working capital management.


Balancing short and long term needs

12-05-2022 | Cobase | treasuryXL | LinkedIn |

 

In the final blog in this series we look at how to identify the right bank connectivity partner for your company to maximise the benefits of open banking.



As discussed previously, current bank connectivity solutions make life easier for corporate treasury and new developments have the potential to deliver major improvements. However, existing solutions are still far from optimal and even new technology will not address every issue.

Therefore, corporates should focus on the business benefits rather than on merely technological aspects when selecting a bank connectivity partner.

A useful first step in this process is to develop a deep understanding of the business case and build management support. Factors to take into account here include the benefits of improved cash visibility; risk management benefits; the opportunity to enhance operational efficiency; and potential security improvements.

Once these factors have been established it may be useful to make an inventory of the project requirements such as:

  • Which banks and jurisdictions need to be accessed?
  • What is the relationship with other services – ERP connectivity, payment hubs, treasury services?
  • How much flexibility is required in light of expected changes in the banking landscape?
  • What do you need to do to benefit from open banking in the future?

Weighing up the value of meeting current needs against the ability to address future requirements is a challenging process. It is important to understand that switching to a new bank connectivity solution can be very disruptive, so there is obvious value in selecting a partner that will be a good fit beyond the short term.

This means identifying a provider that will facilitate migration to future developments without requiring significant change at the customer end.

When selecting a bank connectivity partner you should assess the following aspects of potential service providers:

  • Security: If you rely on a provider for all your bank connections you need to be certain that they behave with integrity and in a secure and reliable way. Can the provider evidence this?
  • Functionality: Does the provider cover the functionality and banks you need to realise your value determination? Depending on your needs this may go beyond payments and reporting and include services such as FX and forecasting.
  • Connectivity: Does the provider deliver the ERP and bank connectivity you need today?
  • Future-proofing: Will the provider be able to move to open banking APIs once the banks make them available for corporates as well as provide APIs to your ERP environment?

This final point is vital – you do not want to select a provider only to encounter implementation issues once new opportunities become available.

To assess your provider’s ability to facilitate future developments, check their current ability to handle external APIs and that they have the right licences and capabilities to connect via APIs to your systems once you are ready.


A reality check on Open Banking

To know more about the benefits of new developments in bank connectivity for treasury and cash management you can download our white paper. It offers insights into how corporate treasurers and cash managers can avoid pitfalls.