REMINDER | Webinar | How successful master data management can help you secure financial processes? May 18th

10-05-2022 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

 

Find out how to manage your Master Data in a safe way including how to prevent fraud in this upcoming webinar next week on May 18 together with Nomentia, featuring Mark Roelands, Kendra Keydeniers and Huub Wevers!

Date & time: May 18, 2022 at 14:00-14:45 PM CET | Duration 45 minutes



In this webinar, we’ll discuss how you can manage your Master data in a safe way, how you can prevent fraud and sanction risks through the management of this data, and the subsequent processes that make use of your master data. This ranges from the creation of counterparties in your ERP to the safeguard checks in your payment process and system. 

More specifically, we will discuss the following topics:

  • Introduction to Master Data management
  • Managing the counterparty Master Data in your ERP
  • Trends that companies face related to Master Data
  • High-risk processes using your master data
  • Steps to create a safe and secure culture within your company
  • Setting up appropriate processes and systems to enable security

 

Throughout the webinar, you get a chance to ask any questions that arise.


Click here to register now!

Webinar Nomentia & TreasuryXL


Meet the speakers

Mark Roelands
Risk and Compliance Specialist
GRC Consulting

Kendra Keydeniers
Director Community & Partners
TreasuryXL

Huub Wevers
Head of Sales
Nomentia








 

 

 

Webinar | How successful master data management can help you secure financial processes? May 18th

02-05-2022 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

 

We’re excited to announce our upcoming webinar together with Nomentia on May 18th, featuring Mark Roelands, Kendra Keydeniers, and Huub Wevers!

Date & time: May 18, 2022 at 14:00-14:45 PM CET | Duration 45 minutes



In this webinar, we’ll discuss how you can manage your Master data in a safe way, how you can prevent fraud and sanction risks through the management of this data, and the subsequent processes that make use of your master data. This ranges from the creation of counterparties in your ERP to the safeguard checks in your payment process and system. 

More specifically, we will discuss the following topics:

  • Introduction to Master Data management
  • Managing the counterparty Master Data in your ERP
  • Trends that companies face related to Master Data
  • High-risk processes using your master data
  • Steps to create a safe and secure culture within your company
  • Setting up appropriate processes and systems to enable security

 

Throughout the webinar, you get a chance to ask any questions that arise.


Click here to register now!

Webinar Nomentia & TreasuryXL


Meet the speakers

Mark Roelands
Risk and Compliance Specialist
GRC Consulting

Kendra Keydeniers
Director Community & Partners
TreasuryXL

Huub Wevers
Head of Sales
Nomentia








 

 

 

The 6 main benefits of adopting an in-house bank

30-03-2022 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

An in-house bank is a group or a legal entity that provides banking services to different business units within the organization. The in-house bank replicates the services that are typically provided by banks. The in-house bank offers solutions for payments, liquidity management and cash visibility, payments on behalf (POBO), collections on behalf (COBO), FX requests, funding, and working capital to business units.

Source



When organizations are looking for a way to improve cash flow processes, cash visibility, and reduce bank fees, the in-house bank can be a great alternative compared to working with countless banks internationally.

While the in-house bank is not an option in every country due to regulations, when it’s possible to use it, it will decrease the company’s vulnerability to regulatory changes as these could negatively impact business operations. Organizations are not only protecting themselves against regulatory changes of countries, but also against changes on the bank’s side for example when it comes to updating new payment file format standards.

What are the top 6 benefits of an in-house bank?

 

Among the many benefits of implementing an in-house bank, centralized control, improved liquidity management, reduced banking fees, automated bookkeeping, globally harmonized payment processes and full visibility into subsidiary balances are perhaps the most important ones that organizations can realize.

 

1. Centralized control

 

Centralized control by the group is by far the biggest benefit of adopting an in-house bank to help with topics such as global payment processes, financing, investments, corporate-wide FX risk exposures, and hedging.

An in-house bank is especially favorable for companies with large amounts of cash or when there’s a constant need to move money between subsidiaries and the group. While the group gains a bigger control, business units and subsidiaries will have their own sub-accounts within the in-house banks. The balance limits are set and reviewed centrally based on the organization’s treasury policy by the group.

The group will be able to minimize global payments that include foreign exchange or cross-border payment fees as all the transactions can be conducted centrally instead of going through local payment processing third parties. With an in-house bank, there’s clearer visibility into the overall net positions per currency to manage and it’s possible to hedge FX risk at the group level for currency protection and fewer hedging transactions.

Also, subsidiaries do not necessarily need to go to banks for loans, but instead, the loan can be funded by the organization. Lending money to the subsidiaries can be significantly cheaper than paying high-interest rates to a third party like a bank or a creditor. Centralizing the internal financing to the in-house bank provides an easy way to document the processes for compliance as well as the process becomes more simple as all the applications will go through the group.

With a centralized in-house bank, treasury will have greater control over all the treasury processes, and this could significantly improve the liquidity position of the company.

 

2. Improved liquidity management 

 

Through the in-house bank, liquidity can be centrally managed and the group can decide whether external funding is required based on the cash position. With centralized reporting, the group does not only have better real-time visibility into the available cash, but decision-making becomes faster as the result of the available information. This is also beneficial for subsidiaries and business units as they will be able to receive funds a lot faster as a result of the automated cash pooling. This also ensures that there is adequate liquidity when and where it is needed instead of having excess amounts of cash on the accounts of subsidiaries that do not necessarily need the money at that point.

Of course, from time to time, organizations still need external funding for investments, but then it’s also easier to qualify for funding with better terms as a group than as a stand-alone subsidiary.

 

3. Reduced banking costs & fewer banking partners

 

Getting started with an in-house bank will mean that the external banking cost will be reduced to the minimum so it’s a lot more cost-effective than using external banks globally. It’s also possible to save on bank transaction fees since the internal transactions do not need to go through external banking partners.

Centralizing the banking relationship management to group treasury can also increase negotiating power, so the enterprise can get better prices and improved services.

 

4. Automated reconciliation and improved month-end process activities

 

In-house bank users can auto-reconcile incoming payments and collections for higher efficiency. In a similar manner, inter-company cash flows can be also executed and posted. Balance reconciliation and reporting can be automated by fetching all account statements from the banks and allocating the transactions to the subsidiary’s in-house bank accounts. The rules of allocation can be set on a bank, company, or even an account level.

 

5.    Harmonized payment processes for all internal, external, and on-behalf-of payments

 

Using an in-house bank can remove the need for a separate netting solution. Instead, with an in-house bank, you can create the exact same process both for internal and external payments. When the internal payments remain internal and they do not require receivable-driven netting, you gain benefits such as always up-to-date bank account statements and fully automated reconciliation of internal transactions.

Subsidiaries also benefit from the harmonized payment processes. They won’t lose value dates and the month-end closing can be automated.

Payments-on-behalf-of (POBO) minimize the reliance on external bank accounts by subsidiaries. With POBO, subsidiaries continue to process payments in the same way as before while using the debtor’s in-house bank account number.

With Collections-on-behalf-of (COBO), it’s possible to define allocation rules based on transaction details to allocate cash to in-house bank accounts. With virtual bank accounts offered by external banks, it is easy to set up an automated COBO process.

 

6. Full visibility on subsidiary balances

 

Without a centralized control that an in-house bank offers, the group treasury has often had the challenge of the lack of visibility into the cash balances of the subsidiaries. With an in-house bank, it’s possible to manage multiple cash pools to gain full visibility on subsidiary balances.

It is more beneficial to pool all cash and credit balances instead of having cash lying idle on the accounts of the subsidiaries. Business units may run net credit or debit balances in the subaccounts and either earn or pay interest on the net debit/credit balances.

When the group needs to borrow money to the business units, they can set their own interest rates that can even vary based on the subsidiary’s size and profile.

 

Should you implement an in-house bank?

 

There’s no simple answer to this question. It should be a strategic decision and should be aligned with your organization’s roadmap.

To identify whether the in-house bank is the right solution for you, carefully evaluate your current processes: what is working and what could be improved? Could some of the above-mentioned benefits make your operations more profitable by controlling the organization’s cash centrally?

Of course, you may already have a good solution for example for liquidity or bank fee management, but if you have business units and subsidiaries globally and you are going to invest heavily in development, you deal with local taxation, transfer pricing, you may want to consider the option of implementing an in-house bank in the near future.

Before you make a decision, you should also be aware of the regulations of all the countries you are operating in, whether POBO & COBO are allowed in those countries, and what paperwork you need to move forward with an in-house bank.

Implementing an in-house bank is a significant undertaking as it will require buy-in from many departments, however, in the long-term, you will be able to build better processes, improve visibility, and save money.


 

 

7 Cash Management Trends for 2022

16-02-2022 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

While the show must go on and treasury and finance teams had a busy life at the start of the year, it’s time to take a look at the ever rapidly changing cash management trends of 2022.

While PWC has predicted that the top priorities for CFOs in 2022 will be advanced cash and liquidity management, technology and digital innovation, fraud and cybersecurity, and business partnering, we also internally discussed what trends we see emerging during the new year.

 

1. Digitalization of the processes continues

A year ago, this time, we commissioned a Forrester study, ‘Successful Businesses Excel At Cash Management’, to discover how top decision-makers see the state of cash management. We were ready for some interesting findings but what we found was even more interesting than what we expected.

Clearly, during the past years, a lot has changed as finance and treasury teams had to adjust to the new reality that the global pandemic has brought on all of us. While digitalization has been on the agenda of everybody for some time, it’s been time to speed up the transformation.

While the digital transformation has started in many enterprises already years ago, the work continues to reap the benefits of cloud-based cash and treasury management technology to improve organizational flexibility, cash management processes, and security.

Better digitalized processes do not only make the life of employees easier, but companies can also untap hidden cash, inject accurate forecasting into decision making while improving their day-to-day treasury and finance operations with automation.

While last year enabling home working and ensuring business continuity was a significant driver, for sure, we are moving towards a world where the next items on the cash management wish list will climb up the priority ladder.

 

2. Payment solution for cash flow efficiency

Payments are the core of every business process, but compliance is often the main driver for many to improve existing processes. It’s often the same when companies adopt a payment tool for their global payments to improve the efficiency of their global B2B payments. Having a single tool allows more control over how payments are processed, approved, and released to the banks.

Payment efficiency is also the first step for many other cash management priorities, such as better liquidity management and cash visibility

In the process of setting up a payment solution, the hardest part of working with ERPs, existing TMS, and multiple banks is also tackled and can be utilized for implementing new solutions along the way.

Adapting a tool for payment tool can also make centralized user rights management easier.

 

3. Security is an unavoidable topic

When we are talking about payments, we must discuss security. During last year, financial fraud cases have been making headlines globally. For compliance, organizations must have the basic security measures in place, but finance and treasury are departments that need more advanced risk mitigation capabilities to tackle financial crime and fraudulent attempts to safeguard the company’s funds and financial stability. To tackle security concerns, partnering up with the information security team and finding the right vendors can provide you with the necessary precautions.

Companies are starting to utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning for catching suspicious fraudulent activity or to spot manual errors.

As all companies could be subject to financial crime, investing in fraud prevention should be a no-brainer. It’s almost like insurance for minimizing the risk of an actual incident.

 

4. Outsourcing bank connectivity

You will rarely meet someone that would say that bank connectivity is not a challenge. Yet, it’s something that everybody must have in place. In the Forrester study, 76% of the respondents believed that bank connectivity for fetching statements and intraday material is valuable for their treasury and cash management activities.

Connecting to banks is a challenge due to the different communication protocols and file formats. When banks make changes on their end, the existing connectivity should reflect on that too.

This is only part of the challenge. On the other end, there should be a connection to ERP systems (like SAP or other) or to a TMS to fetch all the accounts payable data instantly. This requires working with another communication protocol and another data format.

Between the two different data formats, there must be a data mapping to make sure that the communication between the bank and the organization works flawlessly.

It is challenging enough to set up a bank connection with a single bank. Imagine doing this process with multiple banks

That’s why most organizations are opting for bank connectivity as a service where companies like Nomentia have already over 10 800 bank connections established and expertise to take care of the rest.

Ps.: We have also created a cool video on how easy it can be to outsource the management of your bank connections:

 

5. We are saying goodbye to spreadsheets

Let’s be honest, cash forecasting with excel is challenging:

  • It’s easy to make an error
  • It’s undocumented – if the owner of the spreadsheet leaves the company, it may take some time to understand the logic behind it
  • There is no audit trail for compliance

Two of the main reasons that are holding back companies from purchasing a solution for liquidity management is the cost and the perception that it’s easy to create cash flow forecasts with spreadsheets and that is how it’s been always done. However, the trend is shifting and more companies start to realize that an actual liquidity management tool would have more benefits.

Using a tool for liquidity makes collecting forecasts and actuals automated and the data can be collected from multiple source systems to help to understand the organization’s current, past, and future liquidity positions to optimize cash flows and FX positions to optimize internal and external funding.

Liquidity management software today is extremely user-friendly and intuitive to use so that users can create reports easily to create accurate reports.

 

6. Reconciliation for all

Comparing bank statements against your accounting to make sure the amounts match each other is not too difficult for small firms where their clients and cash flows come from fewer sources and banks. In enterprises, reconciliation may not be so straightforward. In our Forrester survey, 61% of decision-makers say it’s challenging or very challenging to reconcile payments.

Thus, we expect that automation of the reconciliation process will be the star of 2022 so that organizations can streamline the process for faster month-end closing.

 

7. Alignment between treasury, finance, and IT

According to finance executives, the lack of alignment is the top barrier to better cash management. This is something that at Nomentia we’ve been experiencing firsthand. In a recent interview with TMI, Jukka Sallinen, Nomentia’s CEO said the following:

“Lack of collaboration between different functions within the organization is one of the significant hurdles. There should be more roadmapping and alignment between treasury, finance, and IT. Many solutions provided by software vendors have grown into do-it-all monolithic systems. That, unfortunately, often leads them to be mediocre at best and none of the three departments is entirely happy to work with them. In addition, while there has been lots of talk about open banking and standardization to improve the efficiency of cash management processes, most of these promises have remained unfulfilled.

I believe treasurers want more flexible and fast solutions that can solve their specific challenges and integrate well with their core treasury management system (TMS) and other systems. While it is obviously everyone’s responsibility to look at the big picture, maintaining the growing number of systems and surveying the providers’ landscape is often left to IT. Greater collaboration would be preferable.”

Setting up new solutions, bank connections, or improving security requires cooperation between the different stakeholders and in 2022 they will need to strengthen their alliance for actualizing the strategic benefits of cash management.

 

Cash Management tools are becoming more democratic

Cash management solutions becoming more accessible for businesses of all sizes. As it’s time to digitalize treasury and finance, there are affordable options available for anybody for all the solutions mentioned above. A payment factory, liquidity management, or reconciliation can be easily implemented for a fair price tag in almost any business. The trend has been moving from one-size-fits-all solutions to a hyper-modular approach: you take the solution that you need and integrate it into your existing solution stack so that you can pick the best solutions from different vendors.

Of course, implementation of new cash management solutions will require cooperation and alignment between different departments, prioritization, as well as finding the right strategic vendor that can support the organization’s finance and treasury roadmap.

 

 

Nomentia Now Available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace

01-02-2022 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

Microsoft Azure customers worldwide now gain access to Nomentia to take advantage of the scalability, reliability and agility of Azure to drive application development and shape business strategies.



HELSINKI, Finland — February 1, 2022 — Nomentia, a leading European provider of cash and treasury management solutions, today announced the availability of Nomentia Bank Connectivity as a Service in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, an online store providing applications and services for use on Azure. Nomentia customers can now take advantage of the productive and trusted Azure cloud platform, with streamlined deployment and management.

 

Adding Nomentia to Microsoft Azure Marketplace will help IT departments achieve desired connectivity between banks and internal systems, faster than ever before” Anna-Lisa Natchev, Chief Growth Officer of Nomentia

 

“Nomentia is addressing some of the major challenges treasury, finance and IT teams are facing during the digitalization and transformation of treasury and finance processes. We not only take care of ERP integrations, but also offer unrivaled bank connectivity-as-a-service across the market. Adding Nomentia to Microsoft Azure Marketplace will help IT departments achieve desired connectivity between banks and internal systems, faster than ever before. Using Nomentia’s bank connectivity-as-a-service can significantly reduce IT burden and ensure treasury and finance departments can start building better processes to improve operations, data output quality, security and compliance assurance,” says Anna-Lisa Natchev, Chief Growth Officer of Nomentia.

“Through Microsoft Azure Marketplace, customers around the world can easily find, buy, and deploy partner solutions they can trust, all certified and optimized to run on Azure,” said Jake Zborowski, General Manager, Microsoft Azure Platform at Microsoft Corp. “We’re happy to welcome Nomentia’s solution to the growing Azure Marketplace ecosystem.”
The Azure Marketplace is an online market for buying and selling cloud solutions certified to run on Azure. The Azure Marketplace helps connect companies seeking innovative, cloud-based solutions with partners who have developed solutions that are ready to use.


About Nomentia

Nomentia is a category leader within European treasury and cash management solutions. Nomentia’s mission is to provide unparalleled cloud treasury and cash management solutions for and with our customers. Today, Nomentia is solving the challenges of modern treasurers and cash managers across 2,000+ businesses in over 80 countries, processing more than 800 billion euros annually. Nomentia solutions specialize in global payments, bank connectivity-as-service, cash-forecasting and visibility, bank account management, financial process automation, treasury workflows, FX risk, in-house banking, and trade finance. For more information, visit www.nomentia.com.

 

For more information, press only:

Anna-Lisa Natchev, Nomentia, Chief Growth Officer, +358 50 413 0704, [email protected]

Barbara Babati, Nomentia, Head of Marketing, +358 40 762 3356, [email protected]

 

 

WEBINAR ALERT | Bringing Cash Management Solutions to the Benelux

treasuryXL | Nomentia |

Date & time: January 27, 2022 at 12:00-12:45 PM CET/ 13:00-13:45 EET | Duration 45 minutes

Nomentia has been the market-leading solution provider in the Nordics for global payment and cash flow forecasting solutions. Finally, our solutions are now available for you in the Benelux in French and Dutch besides English.

In this webinar, we will introduce our Payment module for global, centralized management of B2B payments, the anomaly detection add-on for tackling fraud and errors, cash forecasting & visibility, as well as bank connectivity as a service.

Join the webinar to learn more about: 

  • Why do you need a centralized payment tool?
  • Why would you switch from a legacy local multi-EB system to a new SaaS Multi-Bank system?
  • How our customers benefit from using Nomentia Payments?
  • How to tackle fraud and manual errors with automated anomaly detection?
  • Why should you switch from spreadsheets to a liquidity management solution?
  • How does Nomentia cash forecasting work in practice?
  • Nomentia’s hyper modular bank connectivity as a service:
    • How does this work?
    • How can you benefit from it?

At the end of the webinar, we’ll have time for a short Q&A session to answer your questions.

Click on the banner for registration.

Meet the speakers

Huub Wevers

Huub Wevers

Senior Sales Manager
Nomentia

Tapani Oksala

Solutions Manager
Nomentia

 

 

Survey | Anomalous Payments Detection

15-12-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

Our partner Nomentia and Netguardians, are conducting a survey for treasury and finance professionals to get a better understanding of the current challenges companies are facing in identifying and preventing anomalous payments. This way, we can provide more relevant solutions and share industry knowledge with the treasury and finance community.

Payments are growing in volume and gaining speed, with “instant payment” gradually becoming the norm. With increasing speed and volume, the risk of processing anomalous or fraudulent payments increases simultaneously. These anomalous payments may be caused by human errors or by fraudulent activities such as fraudsters impersonating CEOs, sending fake invoices, and other scams. This results in both operational and financial losses for the company.

By filling out this survey you will help advance the solutions that are needed to fight anomalous payments. You can fill out the survey completely anonymously. It takes around 5 to 10 minutes to complete the survey depending on the answers you provide throughout the survey.

We thank you for your kind participation!

 

 

How does BRITA GmbH use Nomentia Payments in Germany?

| 01-12-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn |

BRITA GmbH, a German water filter manufacturer with total sales of 617 million euros in the business year 2020 and 2,205 employees worldwide at the end of 2020, is the market leader in drinking water optimization and individualization. The company is represented by 30 national and international subsidiaries and branches as well as shareholdings. Brita has manufacturing facilities in Germany, Italy, China and the United Kingdom.

The challenge

Brita has a complex business. The company’s products are distributed globally in over 70 countries on all 4 continents.

Brita’s treasury department was facing the following challenges:

 

– The used multibank payment tool was discontinued.

– Lack of a system that is independent of banks.

– Lack of centralization of treasury and cash management.

 

Currently, cash management is not centralized in the company. But there are group requirements setting a minimum standard for banking systems. However, rolling out the project in Germany was the first step to evaluate the possible adoption also by the subsidiaries.

To roll out Nomentia worldwide and achieve the goal of having one system for all payment transactions, first, Brita needs to take a few vital strategic moves, such as ensuring that all subsidiaries are using a group bank and the same ERP system, as well as setting up connectivity with all the group banks to be able to handle also those payment types that cannot go through Electronic Banking Internet Communication (EBICS).

The solution

Instead of working with as many as 7 different banks just within Germany to process payments, Brita chose to use Nomentia, as a single tool that is independent of banks.

Currently, Brita is connected to two major global banks and a few local banks through EBICS. They are currently discovering the possibility to add more connections, like a host-to-host connection to a major global bank.

In the beginning, Brita’s treasury and IT departments had to work closely with Nomentia to set up the project that required a lot of communication from both parties.

 

“Once our IT understood that Nomentia can do magic by connecting to our ERP system, retrieve a file from the bank and send it to our ERP in the right format, it was easy to get their buy-in. Our team had a lot of experience with long ERP projects and they were impressed with Nomentia’s capabilities” – said Doreen Lenk, Manager Group Treasury & Risk Management.

 

Nomentia’s Payments solution is currently used by almost all Brita’s German branches and they are currently in the middle of rolling out the solution in Italy. In case that’s a success, they may look at starting to use Nomentia in other countries as well.

The benefits

Rolling out a new product for treasury management can often be a challenge. It requires strategic planning from the department, cooperation with IT, and working closely with the solution provider. In addition, aligning the group in different countries also requires a lot of paperwork as well as training.

Brita has realized three key benefits of working with Nomentia. These benefits can be even further realized after further adoption of the solution.

1. One system for all in Germany for better processes and decreasing the number of errors

 

The biggest benefit has been that German branches can use one tool to communicate with all German banks. Without Nomentia, Brita would be working with several systems from several banks. Now all transactions go through Nomentia which makes the process less error-prone.

2. Automated processes

 

The processes have been automated for the German branches and this saves a lot of time for the accountants. As Nomentia is also integrated with SAP, they can see all the invoices from SAP, too.

3. Avoid fraud

 

With having just one system in place, it’s easier to have the highest level of transparency of the transactions and access rights.

 

 

CONTACT US 

 

 

WEBINAR ALERT | Everything you need to know about payments for future-proof cash and treasury management

treasuryXL | Nomentia |

 

Date & time: December 2, 2021 at 2.00 pm CET | Duration 45 minutes

Finding the optimal payments process can be challenging. Therefore, TreasuryXL and Nomentia experts join forces to discuss payments in more detail.

Join the webinar to learn more about: 

  • Introduction TreasuryXL and Nomentia
  • Payment set-ups for a future-proof multinationals
  • Areas of new developments and challenges
  • Dealing with different bank connections and ERP interfaces
  • The involvement of IT in technical payment set-ups 
  • User management
  • Fraud management
  • Putting it all together

At the end of the webinar, we’ll have time for a short Q&A session to answer your questions.

Click on the banner for registration.

Meet the speakers

Kees-Jan Kindt

Seasoned Treasury Expert
TreasuryXL / Gazprom

Huub Wevers

Huub Wevers

Senior Sales Manager
Nomentia

Tapani Oksala

Solutions Manager
Nomentia


 

 

Cash Flow Forecasting – Why having the right tools can prove a significant advantage

| 10-11-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia | LinkedIn

Introduction David Kelin

 

 

David Kelin is the Managing Director of DNA Treasury Limited. He is a cash management specialist with over 30 years of experience working with corporates and financial institutions. Expertise in helping companies analyse their cash management requirements. He has experience in providing advice on treasury management systems selection. Recently he attended a roundtable discussion on cash flow forecasting for Nomentia, and tells us why cash flow forecasting is a crucial activity for every treasury department.

 

 

 

Round table on cashflow forecasting

I recently chaired a roundtable discussion on cashflow forecasting for Nomentia, a market-leading cash management & treasury solutions provider headquartered in Finland. The group included a cross section of treasury professionals representing a wide range of industry sectors and companies of varying sizes but each shared one common objective: how to best improve their cashflow forecasting processes and methods.

Of the many interesting themes to emerge, one challenge remained agnostic to each treasurer: securing ongoing collaboration from their business units and subsidiaries in the provision of reliable, consistent and accurate cashflow data. Given the importance of accurate cashflow forecasting for organisations of all sizes in today’s economic climate, this is one area of the cash forecasting process we’ll return to at a later stage in this article.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the UK, 90% of businesses fail due to cash flow issues. Sir Richard Branson summed it up very well when he said, “Never take your eyes of the cash flow because it’s the life blood of the business.”


Focus on cash flow

Cash flow management is crucial for business survival and well-informed decision making around cash flow maximisation can ensure companies are adequately equipped to navigate times of uncertainty and plan for the long-term. Focussing on cash flow, rather than profit, is what successful businesses do. Let’s think of this in simple terms: a profit-making business that does not manage its cash flows effectively can struggle to pay suppliers and suffer from subsequent delays in meeting customer demand. The end result is unhappy suppliers, lost customers and a negative impact on profits.

The burning question therefore remains, if we unanimously agree that cash flow management is vital to business success, then why does it continue to prove an ongoing headache for many organisations. A sentiment I regularly encounter when meeting with treasurers across my network and hotly resonated during the course of the roundtable in question.

Data is key

When we explored this matter in more detail there was a broad consensus that cash flow forecasting is only as good as the data it comprises. The old adage of Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) is true for cash flow forecasting. Inaccurate data leads to inaccurate forecasting, rendering the process inadequate and almost unfit for purpose.

The key outcome? Data is absolutely key. But data can come from many different sources for example the P&L, ERP systems, payroll etc. These data sources tend to be reliable in so much as they reflect known activities, however as a panel member correctly pointed out, relying on data that is derived from the P&L alone, to produce the forecast, does not lead to accuracy. You must also get the business units to provide and update cash flow forecast data in order to complete the picture.

Securing business unit ‘buy-in’ to the benefits of the forecasting process and, just as importantly, being able to depend on their full collaboration around accurate data provision can sometimes prove a hard challenge – here’s some guidelines to increase your likelihood of success:

  1.  Get senior management buy-in: the panel agreed it’s not enough for Treasury to simply tell the businesses to provide accurate, timely and reliable data. The process should be endorsed and championed by senior management through regular communication to the business units
  1.  Communication, Communication, Communication!: business units must also buy-in to the process. Companies that are the most successful at cashflow forecasting agree that when business units understand the importance of good forecasting, they tend to do a better job of providing quality data. A good example of this was offered by one of our panel members –

We meet with our business units on a regular basis to explain why we ask them for cash flow forecast information. We always say that poor cash forecasting affects our bottom line. If you get your forecasting wrong, then your exposures are wrong, your hedging is wrong and this can ultimately lead to a potential FX loss which in turn, affects the P&L.”

Another treasurer further explained:

The best business units are those who have bought into the forecasting process and understand its importance to the whole organisation. They take pride in providing accurate data in a timely manner. This behaviour doesn’t happen overnight but as a result of a change in the company culture which they have bought into. Cash flow forecasting is now part of our Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).”

  1.  The right tools for the job: getting buy-in from business units takes more than just great communication. Panel members were clear that you need to make the data provision process as easy as possible, given most business units are busy running day-to-day operations and have limited bandwidth.

Providing the right tools for the job demonstrates treasury’s commitment to supporting business units with their part of the process. Spreadsheets can be a quick, no-cost tool of choice but are prone to human error and require consolidation at treasury level. Spreadsheets are also time-consuming, not user-friendly and limit data manipulation capabilities around forecast comparisons, variance analysis, what-if scenarios etc. Modern and affordable specialist cloud cash forecasting systems are fast replacing spreadsheets as the forecasting tool of choice, allowing business units input or update data from anywhere, quickly, efficiently and accurately.

In summary, cash flow forecasting is a crucial activity for treasury departments everywhere but to do it well you need to ensure that the entities supplying the information have bought into the process and are provided with the best tools for doing it.

 

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