Digital Currencies | Not Ready for Corporate Treasury

15-06-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

Bitcoin and several cryptocurrencies dropped more than $1 trillion in market value, forcing influencers and investors to walk back their advice on using private digital currencies as a reliable store of value. Kyriba’s Wolfgang Koester discussed what was driving this cryptocurrency volatility with Maria Bartiromo’s “Mornings with Maria” on Fox Business Network on May 24th. “We’re seeing increased rhetoric from the Chinese around a Central Bank Digital Currency and the United States are developing their own digital currency,” said Koester.

Big price swings for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and most recently Dogecoin are nothing new. CFOs and Treasurers have always had little appetite for cryptocurrencies, which is why examples like Tesla investing over $1 Billion USD in Bitcoin made such waves in finance circles. And while Tesla reported a quarterly net income boost of over $100 Million USD on their Bitcoin holdings, their social media savvy CEO has since suggested they will move on from their investment. This reinforces for many why cryptocurrencies are a blip on the radar screen and a bad idea for corporations to be involved with. But…are cryptos really that bad for corporates?

First, it’s more a matter of being “not ready” than bad. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin behave like commodities due to their limited supply; the price volatility is fully explained by the supply/demand imbalance. For example, there is a hard cap of 21 Million Bitcoins and these days there is a lot of demand for Bitcoin! Demand for Bitcoin and other cryptos is driven by everything from social media to a fear of missing out (FOMO) that we are similarly seeing play out in other markets, such as residential real estate or in many tech stocks. Corporates, on the other hand, shy away from volatile assets as they require liquidity for their investments and cryptocurrencies just aren’t there yet. Selling several hundred million (or more) dollars worth of bitcoin or ethereum is a market moving transaction and is difficult to manage through the digital wallets and exchanges that are generally more designed for individuals. So, between the liquidity barriers and the unstable values, corporates still can’t rely on privately issued altcoins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and others until these challenges are overcome.

State-sponsored digital currencies potentially have something to offer, however. As Kyriba’s Wolfgang Koester discussed on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria”, China has made significant advancements in the rollout of the digital yuan, which has further prompted other nation states to accelerate their own digital currency programs. In theory, government-backed digital currencies are expected to offer a striking advantage over the privately issued cryptocurrencies – and that is utility. To have utility, the digital currency must be widely accessible – and be fast and secure. And this is where the Bitcoins of the world are not ready for mainstream use. They aren’t widely accessible, the blockchain “networks” supporting them remain unproven for high transaction volumes, and the value is uncertain and could easily change between the time a seller accepts a cryptocurrency and when they choose to use or exchange them.

Of course there are solutions to each of these individual problems – e.g. the use of stable coins (that are pegged to the price of a fiat currency) instead of altcoins. But each of the requirements – value, liquidity, utility, transactability – must all be met before corporates can expect to safely use crypto/digital currencies on a daily basis. This doesn’t preclude organizations wading into the cryptocurrency landscape as a means of reaching new markets or differentiating against competitors. In fact, more and more online retailers and marketplaces are accepting cryptocurrencies for payment. You can even buy a Tesla with bitcoins. Yet when it comes to corporate treasury and finance teams, they are converting holdings to fiat currencies as quickly as possible so they can still meet cash forecast projections and free cash flow targets. State-sponsored digital currencies may well offer a lifeline to transform digital currencies for mainstream use – or maybe privately issued cryptocurrencies will still rise to the opportunity – and when that day comes it will be fascinating for daily cash management nevermind cross-border payments, global cash pooling, and multilateral netting. I think all of us in treasury look forward to that!

Why CFOs Should Foster Stronger Relationships with Banks

01-06-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

CFOs are the custodians of financial growth for enterprise business, and a key part of that role is to build and foster mutually beneficial relationships with banks and funding partners. Since banking relationships are built upon the provision of services; whether those are lines of credit, daylight overdrafts, bank account reporting, payments, foreign exchange or concentration / pooling structures, CFOs can and should maximise the value derived from partner financial institutions.

One of the first mistakes a CFO or finance professional can make is in selecting or expanding a relationship with a bank ill-equipped to handle the global nature of their business and geographic footprint.

For example, banking relationships have implications across borders as many strong financial institutions are partnered with local banks or their own local branches providing much needed local expertise. Navigating difficult tax and reporting requirements, local format and regulatory requirements or unique depository scenarios all call upon strong relationships with banks familiar with your localisation needs.

Automating your banking interactions and reporting with technology is an area of concern.

In this scenario, CFOs are not able to take advantage of the full range of banking services since lapses and gaps in technology solutions do not provide for straight-through processing of payments or the automatic posting of cash and transactional details from bank-provided daily bank statements. Banks have evolved their services to provide much more flexibility and sophistication with regards to intraday bank statements, high levels of detail within bank statements and the frequency of sharing this information up to 4 to 5 times per day. Without the right technology solution to handle cash and liquidity forecasting, CFOs are leaving value on the “proverbial table” in the form of lost opportunities to invest, grow the business, or mitigate risk. Meanwhile, the lack of finance and treasury tools and automation associated with technology solutions, keeps staff tied to daily, tactical tasks versus a focus on strategic support and projects.

How well do CFOs understand the full potential of their banking relationships?

CFOs must be involved in understanding the health of the banking relationship and managing, or at least receiving updates on banking scorecards and other metrics to ensure the bank relationship is being leveraged to its full potential. For instance, more than ever, banks often provide or are partners in enabling Supply Chain Financing or Discounting scenarios to help both sides of the financial supply chain achieve their objectives. CFOs, again, must leverage their banking relationships while coupling them to technology options such as a solution with Dynamic Discounting or Supply Chain Finance to maximise bank services.

Additionally, visibility to liquidity in near or real-time is a must-have for CFOs.

Liquidity planning is critical for CFOs in good times and in bad. Historical market drops have highlighted the importance of having real-time access to information about your total liquidity position, understanding what level of cash is flowing through all systems, and what level of liquidity can be allocated to invest in growth opportunities or simply pay employees. CFOs in many cases can partner with banks to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. At the end of the day, Treasurers provide the CFO with the assurance that assets are safeguarded and the organisation has the liquidity required to meet obligations and fund strategic decisions. This is only possible if they too have immediate visibility into their positions.

Finally, there is risk in having all of your eggs in one basket.

CFOs should have a backup plan – having your liquidity, services and debt instruments with one bank can prove to be risky. When financial crises strike from internal or external factors (like margin calls, bankruptcies, etc.), these financial risks are mitigated when the CFO has a back-stop and other banking partner options to keep the lights on and the supply chain flowing. Having major and minor banking relationships can help keep banks competitively working for you while giving your organization financial and liquidity options to keep operations moving.

Liquidity Benefits From Dynamic Discounting in Supply Chain Financing

10-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

It might not always be obvious where business can learn lessons from somewhere like yacht racing, particularly in more specialist fields like Supply Chain Finance and Dynamic Discounting. But there are often uncanny parallels from this sport and finance, when both seek to deploy serious sums of money and leading-edge technology to deliver the marginal gains that can mean the difference between winning and losing.

I thought this was particularly evident in the recent America’s Cup yacht racing challenges in New Zealand. Those AC75 mono-hull super yachts that raced around the bays off Auckland often travelled at a logic-defying 40-50 knots, twice as fast as the winds that powered them and seemingly in defiance of both gravity and conventional sailing speed barriers.

Liquidity Made Good

The key to having one AC75 go faster than an almost identical competitor is the ability to analyse masses of data points in real-time to make the required adjustments to sails, rudders, weights and foils in order to attack the optimum route to the finish at maximum speed. It’s a concept called Velocity Made Good, with VMG now the go-to acronym that defines winners in America’s Cup racing. Perfecting VMG was the reason the New Zealand boat successfully beat its global challengers – again.

I was particularly struck by how this VMG-led transformation of yacht racing, now cascading down from the pinnacle of the sport to the club level, is not dissimilar to how a focus on technology-led cash and liquidity management is liberating corporate balance sheets. We could even refer to it as Liquidity Made Good, where, by the way, velocity also matters.

New Level Playing Field

The deployment of more powerful technologies can improve decision-making, release resources from previously opaque silos and supply chains, and deliver new competitive advantage. Historically this was only available to those high-tech firms and financial institutions with deep pockets, just like the owners of America’s Cup yachts, because of the almost prohibitive cost of computing power, data storage and analytics.

But cloud-based software platforms, the blossoming of data analytics, ubiquitous access to near-unlimited data storage and the power of connectivity-as-a-service now ensures, like in yachting, that these benefits filter down from the elite to level the playing field.

Greater Flexibility, Visibility

In particular, the once sleepy backwaters of trade finance are now waking up to new opportunities to maximise cash resources in ways that not only strengthen supplier relationships, but also enhance Corporate Social Responsibility credentials. Early Payment Discounting has been around trade finance for many years. But persistent, ultra-low interest rates and expectations of greater flexibility now demand more creative solutions from Treasurers. Answers to which technology can now help to provide.

Within the broader field of Supply Chain Finance, firms can now use technology to transform early payment schemes into Dynamic Discounting. These can be deployed as an integral part of wider working capital management, where better visibility can optimise liquidity and improve profitability. It might seem just a simple method of paying invoices earlier, particularly for businesses with surplus cash that can benefit both parties involved. But how it is managed becomes critical to the outcome.

Win-Win Solution

For Dynamic Discounting to succeed, it needs to be sufficiently flexible (dynamic) as to how and when suppliers are paid, with payments made prior to due dates at a discount to original invoice values calculated on a sliding scale. This means that the earlier the buyer pays a supplier, the greater the discount. The discount is therefore “dynamic” in relation to the number of days until the invoice due date and avoids the previous “cliff edge” difference between simply either having a discount or not.

Most importantly, suppliers get continuously paid earlier, which improves their liquidity position and which could then allow them to pay their own suppliers earlier, invest more in their business or alternatively just do more business with the buyer.

Funding Flexibility

For a cash-rich buyer operating in a low interest environment, the benefit is obvious. Rather than leaving liquidity in a low-interest account, it can pay large invoices early to receive additional discounts and strengthen profitability. For instance, if a buyer receives a 2% discount for paying a 90-day-net invoice after 30 days, it can invest the amount for 60 days and receive a return. This is the equivalent of a just over 10% annual return on capital that would far outweigh any loss of interest.

The buyer is fully in control of how this program is run, determining how much funding capital to set aside and adjusting that capital as seasonal liquidity fluctuates. Any seasonal liquidity issues could then also be managed by pairing the dynamic discounting program with a traditional SCF program. This would also allow the flexibility for third-party funding to fill any gaps that emerged due to potential, or periodic, lower cash balances available for the original arrangement.

Besides earning a return on excess cash, Dynamic Discounting can also reduce supply chain risks (in that financially more stable suppliers mean reduced supplier risk) and then strengthen supplier relationships. Conversely, on the supplier side it improves cash flow and provides early payment options, both of which save time, puts cash into accounts sooner and increases liquidity visibility. Benefits everywhere!

CSR Benefits – Risk Free Returns

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there are other compensating benefits to offset the initial costs of implementing a modern Dynamic Discounting plan, not least of which can be a significant increase in ROI on otherwise dormant cash without increased risk. After all, you are only effectively paying existing suppliers early, who you have to pay anyway, free of any additional counterparty risk.

And, as I mentioned earlier, today’s much more keenly scrutinised CSR credentials can also be significantly burnished by the support provided to often much-smaller suppliers down the food chain. That can then be more widely communicated directly to CSR scoring tables which, in turn, recognise responsible buyers and suppliers.

So, to get the maximum benefit of the wind in your sails and the best performance from your assets, make sure you use the right technology to strengthen decision making. After that, understanding the challenge, minimising the risks and reaping the mutual rewards of Dynamic Discounting will enable much smoother sailing and help you optimise your liquidity!

 

How to Prepare for a New Era of Real-time Banking and Payment Services

20-04-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

An active liquidity network allows companies to avoid multiple costs and delays by globally managing liquidity across their subsidiaries. With 500 banks involved and over 40,000 payment formats to use, this is already a reality for over 2,000 Kyriba clients.

I am often asked, what is an “Active Liquidity Network”? Actually it’s the very foundation of the Kyriba platform, but let me use a simple example to illustrate what it is and the difference it makes.

Technology is providing us with so many great options for everyday life activities. Take the humble takeaway. Not so long ago you’d call up, your order would be placed in a manual ordering system, food would be prepared and then it would be delivered. Today the takeaway experience can be very different. You will order on a mobile device or with a delivery service or by voice or Messenger. The delivery service tells the kitchen what food to prepare, conducts all the billing and organises the food to be couriered to you. While the cooking of the food is still manual, everything else is managed by cloud-based technologies, and you have lots of options, each with their own take on how to make your takeaway experience better, faster, cheaper.

The same thing is happening within businesses. SaaS technology enables your corporate teams to work more autonomously with a resource-planning package that is more bespoke to their task. The original ERP is being unbundled and focused on aggregating accounting entries from various other systems. These bring great benefits to your company’s ability to compete in the marketplace, making you better, faster and cheaper. But given that many of these tools are able to instruct or make payments, this introduces a hazardous landscape for currently accepted liquidity management and control practices.

The problem is further exaggerated by the global expansion that has taken place in the last 20 – 30 years. Technology isn’t just providing more options for how a corporate plans its resources. It’s also providing better, cheaper, faster options for how payments are made and received. Each approach has its own pros and cons. The upshot is that there are many more providers today conducting more payments in more innovative ways, but this innovation, while opening up new choices, also makes the payments landscape more complex.

All this hasn’t stopped an explosion in electronic payment volumes. This is an unstoppable trend that demands a more robust way of controlling and managing payments in and out of business of any size, just as a restaurant receiving 1,000 takeaway orders a night will need to move away from servicing orders on pen and paper. The risks, the costs, and the lack of speed and optimisation are all too great.

The challenge you face

Now, let’s look at a corporate example to illustrate the challenge. Let’s assume a multinational group has a subsidiary in Birmingham, in the UK, which needs to make payments for goods and services to suppliers in Romania and Turkey. The subsidiary has its operating bank account with TSB and is using the bank’s SMB portal to manage cash and make payments. Its ERP system is connected with the bank’s portal for automatic payment file upload. At the same time, the company has subsidiaries in Romania and Turkey that also have a similar setup with their local banks. It all looks good and well-automated everywhere.

But to actually make a payment to a Turkish or Romanian supplier, the Birmingham-based subsidiary’s treasurer has to go through the following steps: approve a foreign currency payment; agree to the exchange rate offered by the bank, which is given without reference to a spread of interbank rates; wait for one or two days for the other FX rate to settle; wait one or two days more for the payment to be cleared by TSB via Swift and the corresponding bank network; wait some more until the supplier confirms they have received the funds and made a shipment; and finally reconcile it all manually with the ERP system.

As a result, the subsidiary incurs the FX spread, swap rates on every payment up to 100 basis points, and interbank transfer fees for every payment of £20. There are also three further delays before the funds reach the beneficiary accounts and manual reconciliation of the ERP. And that happens with every payment for every subsidiary every day!

It’s a pity that the Birmingham-based company doesn’t know that group company subsidiaries in Romania and Turkey have plenty of lei and lire in their local bank accounts. Or that they are connected to their domestic clearing systems providing same day or in real-time clearing and automating confirmation, or no fee at all. Or that there was a better, faster, cheaper payment option the corporate could easily connect to.

How an Active Liquidity Network works?

Let’s look at a different way of doing this. Imagine that the group chooses Kyriba and gets on board the Kyriba global SaaS platform. All of its subsidiaries – including those in the UK, Romania and Turkey as well as headquarters – and all of those subsidiaries’ ERP systems – are then connected to Kyriba for payment, invoicing, and cash flow upload as well as for GL entry reconciliation. Over 2,000 customers and 65,000 legal entities are live today. Kyriba offers automated bank connectivity via secure SFTP and now bank API with more than 500 banks worldwide and growing. And our bank format libraries have more than 40,000 formats and variances supporting payment originations from more than 100 countries in payment delivery to more than 130 countries. Using Kyriba, the payments submitted by the UK subsidiary will be automatically converted to the relevant domestic clearing formats and submitted to those banks the same day.

What difference does that make? With the Kyriba platform the group can internalise and optimise its payment flows. It can see cash balances and cash forecasts across all currencies and bank accounts in real time. A treasury team using Kyriba Cash Forecasting and Kyriba In-house Banking Module can net the outflows by currency and use the market to square off or net the currency positions. As soon as the payments are acknowledged by the banks in real-time or (worst case) next morning, the confirmations and automated dual entries can be imported into the UK subsidiary’s ERP for automated reconciliation.

Better still, the company can use offers like Kyriba Pay, powered by partners like NatWest, that offer competitive and transparent FX spreads with no hidden fees attached. They can choose to use the liquidity they have in lei, lire or other currencies to make the payments without FX conversions at all. That means no interbank fees, globally optimising the effects of exposures and costs, and making same-day payments to 130 countries with automatic dual reconciliation.

That’s what we mean by an Active Liquidity Network. Ours is already the largest in the world, and growing by about 30% annually. It is the foundation of the Kyriba platform that enables our Treasury payment factory risk management and supply chain finance applications, as well as many other value-added services. We are already processing 17 million transactions on behalf of our customers on an average day. We will continue to innovate our existing propositions.

The world’s connectivity is moving to open API. We are pursuing that in three ways.

First, Bank API Connectivity: we have completed pilots with two global banks already, and will be delivering many more in 2021. Secondly, ERP API Connectivity, leading to ERP connect on marketplace, and thirdly Kyriba Open API, to turn the Kyriba active liquidity network into an open API platform for customers, partners and fintechs. This is what we call the Kyriba Active Liquidity Network.

It is here right now and you have a choice to make. Deal on your own with the growing size and complexity of managing liquidity at global scale on time, with speed, accuracy and efficiency . . . or join the 2,000 corporations who are doing it by leveraging the Kyriba platform, and really drive the value of your business.

 

Centralising Payments and Fraud Management with Kyriba – Şişecam

30-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Şişecam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

How to anticipate Liquidity risks to secure the Cash Flow

15-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

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

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

Prepare for the unthinkable.

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

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

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

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

25-02-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

4th March • 2pm GMT • 3pm CET

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

The agenda will follow:

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

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


Date:

March 4, 2pm GMT/ 3pm CET

Contact:

The Case for a Global Payment Hub

02-02-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

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

These challenges include:

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

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

Enhancing Controls

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

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

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

Payment Connectivity Complexities  

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

Payment hubs eliminate this cost in several ways:

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

ERP Cloud Transformation

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

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

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

 

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.