Understanding the Importance of Working Capital for Treasury

27-10-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

Working capital is a critical consideration for any business – particularly in an uncertain economic environment. If a company’s working capital is not managed effectively, the company may struggle to meet its obligations, secure the right level of funding, or invest in growth. But for many companies, gaining full visibility over working capital is often a difficult task – especially given how it is an activity that spans many different parts of the business.

Going a step further, recent economic and geopolitical events from the past couple of years have presented even more challenges to working capital management. In fact, PwC’s Working Capital Study 21/22 found that net working capital days reached a five-year high in 2020, “driven by the shock and uncertainty of the COVID 19 pandemic.” More recently, the 2022 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey identified working capital improvements as one of the two most challenging tasks faced by treasury professionals today.

In order to manage working capital effectively, companies first need to understand it – you can’t manage what you can’t measure, as the saying goes. With this in mind, let’s dive a bit deeper into the core dynamics of working capital and the subsequent implications for treasury and finance.

What is Working Capital Anyway?

Simply put, working capital is the cash that businesses can use to meet their day-to-day financial obligations, such as for paying rent, employee salaries, and supplier invoices. Calculated as the difference between a firm’s current assets and its current liabilities, a strong working capital position is essential to the smooth running of any company. For this reason, working capital is often described as the lifeblood of a business.

Working capital can be measured using a variety of metrics. The following concepts are key when it comes to understanding the component parts of the working capital cycle:

 

 

  1. Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) measures how long it takes a company to collect cash from customers and clients (i.e. accounts receivable).
  2. Days Payables Outstanding (DPO) measures how long the company takes to pay its suppliers (i.e. accounts payable).
  3. Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO) measures how quickly the company sells its inventory.
  4. Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) measures how long the company takes to convert the cash spent on raw materials into sales. This is calculated as follows: CCC = DSO + DIO – DPO.

As a rule of thumb, the shorter a company’s cash conversion cycle, the more efficiently it is using its working capital – although typical cash conversion cycle times can vary considerably between different industries, world regions, and company sizes. Any company’s cash conversion cycle can also be adjusted by optimizing one or more of the above components: companies can speed up customer collections, delay/expedite payments to suppliers, and/or alter the timeframe that cash is tied up in inventory.


You might also like: What is Working Capital Management, examples of typical acitivties and frequently asked questions; Explained by treasuryXL experts


How Does Working Capital Impact Treasury & Finance?

Treasury and finance teams have an important role to play in optimizing their company’s working capital.  Working capital is critical to a company’s financial health: if the business doesn’t have enough cash readily available, it may struggle to pay its obligations on time. It may also seek more external financing than is really needed or may lack the funds needed to invest in innovation or business growth.

In order to effectively manage these cash inflows and outflows, treasury must not only have an accurate and timely view of their “current” working capital status, but they must also have a grip on future cash flows as well. This means that treasury must be proactive in developing cash forecasts that reflect anticipated changes in working capital, including deviations in supplier invoicing or payment behavior, as well as changes to the level of planned spend by procurement and other internal departments.

By working with other departments such as procurement, AP, and AR, the treasury team is well placed to drive improvements to the cash conversion cycle and unlock the company’s working capital. Because treasury typically seeks to maintain global visibility and control over cash positions, payments activity, and general financial workflows, they are in the perfect position to evaluate and influence high-level working capital decisions. For this reason, treasury is sometimes referred to as the “steward” of working capital internally.

However, there are a variety of hurdles that can negatively impact treasury’s view of, and control over, working capital.

 

Challenges in Managing Working Capital

While the importance of effective working capital management is clear, there are a number of reasons why this can be a challenge:

 

 

Disparate Data Sources: By its nature, managing working capital means optimizing activities that span different departments within the organization, including accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR) and procurement, as well as treasury and finance. Working capital needs to be managed holistically, with access to data from these different parts of the business – but this can be constrained by siloes and disparate systems and data sources.

Lack of Alignment & Communication: Effective working capital management can be held back by a lack of awareness or competing priorities across different parts of the business. Because there are a range of departments that need to be on the same page in order to drive working capital optimization, it can be difficult to align the KPIs and drivers of each department to achieve a cohesive strategy. For this reason, a strong focus on working capital is needed from senior management in order to ensure a consistent approach across the organization.

Global Operational Complexity: Payment practices, vendor or customer behavior, and internal business models can vary considerably across different countries and regions, which can make it difficult to manage working capital consistently at a global level.

Supply Chain Relationships: The relationship a company maintains with its vendors and suppliers within the supply chain can have a massive impact on working capital. For example, companies frequently adjust their working capital position by either reducing or extending the time they take to pay invoices to suppliers. However, these strategies can have an adverse impact on vendor relationships, especially if companies choose to delay payment as long as possible. As such, working capital strategies that focus on altering vendor invoicing or payment terms should always be treated carefully.

 

How Does TIS Help Treasury Manage Working Capital?

In order to drive improvements to working capital, treasury teams first need full visibility over their company’s global cash, payments, and invoicing activity. As noted above, obtaining this data in an accurate and timely manner presents a major challenge for most companies, as does the task of effectively analyzing and leveraging it.

In order to simplify these tasks for treasury, TIS recently launched a new solution, TIS Working Capital Insights, which provides companies with 360-degree visibility over their core working capital metrics and KPIs.

 

 

With this suite of capabilities, organizations can seamlessly integrate their ERPs and corresponding AP and AR data with our solution in order to review payment terms and behavior for vendors and customers, analyze invoice and billing activity, and measure all elements related to their net working capital status and cash conversion cycle.

As TIS enables clients to aggregate and classify their data, users can evaluate their metrics globally or granularly according to specific entities, regions, or customers and suppliers. Users can also leverage TIS’ visual dashboards for intuitive reporting and refine their analyses by any timeframe to view activity and cash flows through customizable and flexible parameters.

By leveraging these tools in conjunction with TIS’ other liquidity and payment management solutions, organizations can access all data and information related to their global cash balances, payment statuses, and broader working capital operations for the entire company. The result is total visibility and control over working capital, and a much easier workflow for identifying the best strategies to optimize it.

For more information about TIS Working Capital solutions, download the full factsheet or request to speak with one of our experts!


Don’t miss the latest episode of TIS’ Payments Hub Podcast!

06-10-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

Don’t miss the latest episode of TIS’ Payments Hub Podcast! treasuryXL expert Patrick Kunz is featured in this edition. The topic of discussion is: Treasury in Finance; What are the newest trends and how can treasurers prepare?

In this episode, treasury and banking expert Kate Pohl speaks with industry consultant and thought-leader Patrick Kunz about the state of contemporary treasury best practices, technology utilization, and more.

Click here to listen to the complete episode


Factsheet: The TIS Solution Suite

21-09-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

Introducing CashOptix, PayOptix, and RiskOptix features from TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions), which offer enterprises of all sizes and industries improved capability to handle crucial cash management, payments, banking, security, and compliance demands. Find out more about the benefits of each suite right away in this unique factsheet.

Get to Know the TIS Solution Suite

TIS classifies the unique capabilities they offer clients into three distinct categories; CashOptix, PayOptix, and RiskOptix. When combined, this cloud-based suite provides organizations of all industries and sizes with superior functionality to address critical cash management, payments, banking, security, and compliance needs.

You can find the factsheet here


Get to Know TIS

05-09-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

To give their clients the best treasury, payments, and liquidity management software and support possible, TIS is continually expanding and developing. Download the “Get to Know TIS” Factsheet to view the most recent details about their business and solution portfolio.

Source

Get to Know TIS

Read the factsheet to learn more about TIS. The purpose is to summarize each area of our business in order to educate readers on all the core capabilities, value-added services, and general operational expertise that TIS offers to clients.

This resource also highlights relevant stats, figures, and metrics that demonstrate TIS’ position as a global leader in enterprise payments and liquidity management. For more information about the capabilities that TIS offers or to better understand any aspect of our solution suite, request a private demo with one of our experts by emailing [email protected].

 

You can find the factsheet here


The State of Treasury in 2022: Research Summary

28-07-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

This blog gives you insights into the state of the treasury function in 2022 and a short list of recommended action items for better management of modern-day treasury operations

Source



About TIS’ Global Research

The insights highlighted in this article are based on a comprehensive set of studies conducted by TIS and our affiliates between Q1 2017 – Q2 2022. During this period, TIS held one-on-one interviews with hundreds of treasury experts and also released a suite of digital surveys that gathered feedback from thousands of financial practitioners regarding technology, staffing, and general operations.

Over the course of our research, TIS partnered closely with a niche team of industry experts, thought leaders, and consultants to interpret the findings. Historical treasury data was also obtained from the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) and the consulting firm Strategic Treasurer to provide context regarding the evolution of treasury technologies and practices over time. Together, the expertise of our consortium and the extensive feedback collected from industry practitioners has provided us with unparalleled insights into the state of the treasury function in 2022.

While this article serves to highlight the summary findings and recommended action items from our studies, readers that would like more data and information are encouraged to download our full whitepaper for extended coverage.

 

 

Research We Relied Upon

The below surveys, polls, and interviews represent the full suite of research that TIS relied upon to complete our study. Links to the associated research conducted by our affiliates are provided as applicable.

  1. 2017 Strategic Treasurer Technology Use Survey. View Full Results Here
  2. 2020 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey. View Full Results Here
  3. 2020 TIS Rapid Research: Remote Work Capabilities Poll
  4. 2022 TIS Rapid Research: Treasury & Payment Systems Usage Poll
  5. 2022 TIS & Treasury Priorities & Opportunities Survey. View Full Results Here
  6. 100+ One-on-One Interviews with Active Treasury Practitioners Between 2017-2022

 

Key Findings & Highlights

This section provides a brief overview of the key points obtained through our research. For more information on any point of interest, please refer to the full whitepaper.

1. Treasury’s Responsibility List is Constantly Growing: The treasury function has never been more critical to the success of an organization, and this is being recognized internally by key stakeholders. However, treasury practitioners are now being handed additional responsibilities as executives and other departments realize the value they can provide, and nearly 80% of U.S. treasury teams saw their “net” list of responsibilities increase in 2022 vs 2021.

 

 

2. Stakeholders View Treasury as Equally Strategic & Operational: Over 50% of financial practitioners believe the treasury function holds key strategic value, which represents a significant shift from the traditional viewpoint of treasury being mostly an operational function. This shifting perspective is shared widely amongst internal stakeholders like accounting and AP. Today, treasury’s strategic influence is impacting areas like technology adoption, working capital management, bank connectivity, payment processing, and financial reporting.

3. A Saturated Technology Market is Confusing for Treasury: The growing importance of the treasury function and widespread digitalization of global financial operations has resulted in an abundance of Fintech and bank-led software products entering the market. While this has helped foster innovation, data also shows that many treasurers have become confused by the breadth of categories and service offerings in the market, which has led to greater indecision and headache during RFPs and implementations.

 

 

4. The Line Between “Treasury Expert” and “Tech Expert” is Blurring: As the treasury function continues shifting away from paper-based and manual workflows to digitally automated processes and software tools, treasury personnel are finding that their technological proficiency has a significant impact on their ability to perform their core financial responsibilities. This is leading many practitioners to seek out technology-based learning courses in tandem with their more traditional financial education.

5. Fraud & Security Concerns Remain a Critical Issue: In today’s remote and digitally-operated business landscape, tech-savvy criminals are presented with even more opportunities for infiltrating a company’s systems and processes. This is leading to a noted increase in fraudulent attempts across a variety of areas, and treasury teams are continuing to invest heavily in both technology and training to protect themselves.

6. Successful Treasury Teams Collaborate with Other Stakeholders: Research found that many of the most successful treasury teams are proactively working cross-collaboratively with other internal stakeholders and departments like accounting, AP, and IT to accomplish their objectives. These teams are also frequently partnering with external consultants, solution vendors, and bank personnel to ensure alignment and cohesion across all their various systems and operational workflows.

 

Recommended Action Items for Treasury

Based on the findings from our research and interviews, TIS experts have compiled a short list of recommended action items that treasury teams should consider as they seek to better manage their operations in 2022 and beyond. They are as follows:

1. Embrace the Opportunity to Provide Greater Strategic Input: As CFOs and other departments increasingly rely on treasury for reliable data and insights, practitioners should embrace the opportunity to expand their strategic influence internally. In the long run, this ability to provide value in new ways across the organization will benefit treasury when it comes to securing new budget and staffing approvals. However, in order to provide the most visibility and control over their operations without overloading their small teams, treasury must become highly adept at leveraging technology to eliminate manual workflows and repetitive tasks.

2. Becoming Proficient with Technology Should be Non-Negotiable: As technology continues to play a massive role in treasury, it’s crucial for practitioners to familiarize themselves with the core tenets of the modern technology landscape. This does not mean simply researching new buzzwords, but instead seeking to understand the unique differentiators that separate various bank and fintech product offerings in the market. Treasury should also not hesitate to seek out the help of specialized consultants or technology experts for help. Ultimately, treasury’s ability to effectively identify the solutions and capabilities that best fit their company’s needs will save significant time, money, and headache during implementations and migrations.

3. Managing Security for Remote Workforces Requires Extra Care: Given the continued prominence of fraud attacks within the treasury and finance environment, there is no room for error when it comes to protecting a company’s systems, workflows, and personnel. To secure their funds and assets, treasurers must implement multifaceted security controls and protocols that extend beyond the “frontlines” and include executives, administrators, and other “back-office” staff. Combining education and awareness with multiple layers of technology is the only way to gain the upper hand against a new era of tech-savvy criminal.

4. Building Strong Relationships with Other Stakeholders is Crucial: Today, most of the financial systems and workflows that exist within a business are closely intertwined. This means that treasury operations have a significant impact on other departments, and vice versa. Given the extent to which treasury workflows are integrated with those of other stakeholders, it’s vital for treasury to communicate and collaborate effectively with these groups. To ensure total alignment and cohesion, treasurers must be proactive in establishing solid relationships with internal IT, accounting, and AP departments as well as external banking and solution vendors.

5. Ongoing Education is Vital for Staying Ahead of the Curve: Treasury and finance teams have made it clear they are intent on furthering their education and professional skillsets. This professional development is not limited to any one area but encompasses a broad array of topics across both technology and finance. In a digital world, many practitioners are relying on remote seminars and webinars, but in-person events and training are still on the list for many teams as well. Moving forward, it’s highly recommended that practitioners who are serious about their careers undergo regular education and training so that they can stay abreast of new industry developments and innovations.

How Can TIS Help?

The TIS team hopes that the findings highlighted in our research are helpful for teams currently evaluating their own treasury structure, technologies, and workflows. For businesses that view these insights and find themselves in need for enhanced payments, cash management, and banking functionality, we would strongly urge you to consider the solution and services provided by TIS.

Today, TIS is streamlining treasury automation through a cloud-based platform that is uniquely designed to help global organizations optimize global payments and liquidity. In essence, the TIS solution is a multi-channel and multi-bank connectivity ecosystem that streamlines the processing of a company’s payments across all their global entities and systems.

Sitting above an enterprise’s technology stack and connecting with all its back-office, banking, and 3rd party solutions, TIS effectively breaks down department and geographic silos to allow 360-degree payments visibility and control. To date, the more than 200 organizations that have integrated TIS with their global ERPs, TMSs, and banking landscape have achieved near-real-time transparency into their payments and liquidity. This has benefited a broad variety of internal stakeholders and has also enabled them to access information through their platform of choice. Data is available either through dashboards or direct downloads but can also be delivered back to the originating systems.

As part of our client-centric service model, we fully commit our own resources to your implementation and manage the configuration of all required system functionalities, back-office integrations, and bank connections on your behalf. Beginning with project kick-off and lasting through testing and go-live, TIS’ all-inclusive approach to customer support means you never have to rely on internal resources to maintain our solution or integrate it with your existing technology stack.

This systematically controlled payments workflow is managed by TIS for both inbound balance information and outbound payments, and data can be delivered from any back-office system via APIs, direct plug-ins, or agents for transmission to banks and 3rd parties. No matter where you operate from, TIS provides global connectivity and provides the real-time data, control, and workflows needed for treasury to automate and control their end-to-end payments and liquidity processes.

For more information, visit our website or request a demo with one of our experts.

 


TIS Coffee Talk

11-07-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

Attend TIS’ coffee talk tomorrow with Joerg Wiemer and Nicolas Christiaen to learn more about how their innovative and cloud-based solution is addressing treasury’s contemporary concerns in the areas of forecasting and liquidity management.

Tuesday, July 12th, 4-5PM CEST



Cash Forecasting & Liquidity Management with TIS

 

Speakers: Jörg WiemerCSO & Co-Founder of TIS.  Nicolas ChristiaenFounder of Cashforce

Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 10-11am EDT / 4-5pm CEST

Session Outline: Today, cash reporting and forecasting functions are still being performed manually by a significant portion of treasury groups, which represents a major pain point for CFOs and business leaders when attempting to make strategic financial decisions. These manual workflows also limit treasury’s bandwidth to focus on other tasks and impact their ability to effectively manage liquidity and working capital. However, the new suite of capabilities developed by TIS and Cashforce (acquired by TIS in Q2 2022) eliminate many of these inefficiencies and ultimately enable companies to gain quick and accurate insights to their financial position based on reliable payments and liquidity data.

Key Discussion Points: In this session, Jörg and Nicolas will:

  1. Explore the treasury industry’s outstanding need for improved cash forecasting solutions and workflows.
  2. Examine the modern challenges of collecting and aggregating the right data together to conduct forecasts.
  3. Showcase how the accuracy and completeness of this data is paramount to the success of treasury’s overall forecasting strategies.
  4. Highlight how a “data-first” approach to forecasting generally results in more accurate and actionable insights.

To better understand how global liquidity management and cash forecasting workflows are being transformed through TIS’ revolutionary data aggregation, analytics, and advanced AI / ML capabilities, use the below link to register.

We can’t wait for you to join us! 


 

Nicolas Christiaen on TIS’ acquisition of Cashforce

06-07-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | CashForce | LinkedIn |

Would you like more insights into TIS’s acquisition of CashForce? Hear from Nicolas Christiaen, CEO and founder of Cashforce, as he describes the inherent synergies between the two companies and what may subsequently be accomplished as a result of the acquisition.

Watch the video below to hear from Nicolas


 

 

“Our best-of-breed solutions are very complementary to each other: Being that natural synergy”

 

 

 

Nicolas Christiaen, CEO and founder of Cashforce



 

TIS acquires Cashforce, an AI-powered provider of cash management and forecasting solutions.

17-06-2022 | treasuryXL | Cashforce | TIS

 

Revolutionizing Global Liquidity Management for Treasury and Finance

 

Treasury Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a global leader in enterprise payment optimization, today announced their acquisition of Cashforce, an AI-powered provider of cash management and forecasting solutions.

This acquisition will see Cashforce’s leading cloud solution – currently deployed at many of the largest and most sophisticated corporate treasuries in the world – become integrated with TIS’ SaaS payments platform. This unified solution will provide enterprises with an unmatched suite of capabilities for cash management, global payments, and fraud mitigation along with superior connectivity, workflows, and reporting functions.

Over the past few years, TIS and Cashforce have collaborated closely to provide a complementary offering for treasury and finance teams. These efforts were met with immediate success in the market as demand for improved cash management and forecasting tools has risen sharply. Now, TIS’ acquisition of Cashforce presents the perfect opportunity to integrate both products together as part of a more complete offering.

For the thousands of enterprise treasury and finance practitioners who currently use TIS, this acquisition provides access to faster and more accurate cash reporting, forecasting, and working capital management. To date, cash positioning and forecasting are still being performed manually by many treasury groups, which represents a major pain point for CFOs and business leaders when attempting to make strategic financial decisions. However, the robust capabilities provided by Cashforce eliminate many of these inefficiencies and ultimately enable companies to gain quick and accurate insights into their financial position based on reliable payments and liquidity data.

According to Erik Masing, Group CEO of TIS, “Cashforce has been a premier partner of TIS for several years and has contributed significantly to the cash forecasting and management capabilities we offer clients. The acquisition is a natural extension of our business and will allow TIS to further integrate Cashforce’s solution with our platform in order to offer advanced forecasting and data management capabilities to all our clients. This means enterprises can significantly reduce complexity in their global payments and cash management tech stacks by leveraging standardization and transparency afforded by a single, elegant solution.”

 

 

For Cashforce, the acquisition means that existing clients can now supplement their robust forecasting capabilities with TIS’ industry-leading payments and bank connectivity features. As explained by Nicolas Christiaen, Founder and CEO of Cashforce, “Giving businesses complete visibility over their cash and liquidity data has always been the core objective of Cashforce. While we have spent years perfecting our capabilities in this regard, TIS has been strengthening their suite of payments, bank connectivity, and cash management tools. When combined, these two sets of capabilities form the ideal solution for global treasury and finance teams to achieve full control and visibility over their entire payments and liquidity architecture – including all entities, back-office systems, and banks.”

With the added capabilities of Cashforce’s solution, TIS now offers a single, scalable cloud platform for clients to address needs in the following areas:

  • End-to-end payment processing and bank statement management
  • Global bank connectivity and financial messaging
  • Real-time cash positioning and liquidity management
  • Multifaceted cash forecasting, cashflow analytics, and working capital management
  • Bank account management and bank documentation management
  • Payment compliance and sanctions screening control
  • Treasury security, regulatory compliance, and fraud mitigation tools

For more information on TIS’ acquisition of Cashforce and the advantages our combined solution will provide to enterprise treasury, finance, and executive teams, contact us at [email protected] or by using the information found on our website.

 

About TIS

TIS is reimagining the world of enterprise payments through a cloud-based platform uniquely designed to help global organizations optimize payments, manage cash visibility, and mitigate risk. Corporations, banks, and business vendors leverage TIS to transform how they connect global accounts, collaborate on payment processes, execute outbound payments, analyze cash flow and compliance data, and improve critical outbound payment functions. With $2 trillion in payments processed annually, the TIS corporate payments platform helps businesses improve operational efficiency, lower risk, manage liquidity, gain a strategic advantage – and ultimately achieve enterprise payment optimization.

Visit us for more information at https://www.tispayments.com.

 

 

 

 

Build vs Buy: How Should Treasury Teams Upgrade Their Bank Connectivity & Payments Stack?

15-06-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

This blog highlights the primary considerations that treasury and IT teams must make when determining whether to build custom in-house bank connectivity and payments solutions or contract the services and software of a specialized 3rd party vendor. After evaluating the main benefits and drawbacks of each option, we provide a list of helpful questions for practitioners to consider as they decide whether building or purchasing a solution best suits their needs.

Source



How Does the “Build vs Buy” Debate Typically Surface Within Organizations?

In today’s remote and digitally operated business environment, it’s no secret that organizations have grown deeply reliant on technology to manage and automate their core treasury and finance functions.

Realistically, a “modern” company operating in 2022 will be doing business through a myriad of banks, accounts, currencies, and entities. They will also likely have hundreds or thousands of vendors, partners, and customers within their network. As a result, digital payments and cashflows are moving in and out of the business constantly, and every movement must be monitored and controlled by treasury teams that often consist of just a few employees.

Because of treasury’s limited personnel bandwidth, any issues with adopting the right bank connectivity and payments stack to automate their core operations almost always lead to excess complexity and manual strain. It can also result in significant security and compliance gaps, along with general inefficiency across crucial processes like transaction processing, liquidity management, balance reporting, and cash forecasting.

But while most treasury and IT groups today can agree that developing a robust connectivity and payments stack is critically important, each internal stakeholder will likely have their own idea regarding what the “best-fit” version of this technology stack actually looks like.

Why is this?

As companies grow over time, the systems they use to manage payments and connect with their banks must evolve accordingly. Because managing a few bank accounts and transactions in a single country and currency is a fundamentally different task compared to managing dozens of banks, hundreds of accounts, and thousands of payments across numerous countries and currencies, companies cannot rely on the same solutions and structure they’ve always used to sustain them as they scale.

Instead, in order to maintain compatibility with new payment formats and channels like ISO 20022 and SWIFT GPI, connect with regional payment networks like NACHA and EBICS, or accommodate custom bank connectivity protocols (Host-2-Host / SFTPAPIs, etc.), growing enterprises will inevitably reach a point where their existing payments and banking architecture must undergo a significant overhaul.

Complexity grows as you scale. Scaling from just a few bank accounts, back office systems, and funds transfers being executed in a single country to managing dozens of international banks and systems, hundreds of accounts, and thousands of payments globally requires a drastically different tech stack for treasury.

However, as this evolution occurs and internal stakeholders recognize the need to upgrade their connectivity architecture, disagreements often arise over which vendor or “type” of solution is the best fit. Given that there are hundreds of available 3rd party solutions that could potentially address treasury’s requirements, as well as a variety of internally developed applications that could be created and deployed by IT teams, it is common for different stakeholders to have contrasting views over which option is the smartest choice.

This is where the “Build vs Buy” technology argument most frequently comes into play.

 

Understanding Both Sides of the Build vs Buy Argument

As organizations recognize the need to upgrade their payments and connectivity capabilities, there are two main approaches they could leverage to address the issue. The first is to use internal IT resources and expertise to build a customized solution for treasury, and the second is to purchase a specialized solution from a 3rd party provider.

But which option is the best choice?

Let’s quickly review the key benefits and drawbacks of each option.

The Pros and Cons of Building vs Buying a Treasury Solution

Building an Internal Connectivity Solution

Organizations that prefer to create their own custom connectivity solutions internally using IT resources and expertise will likely have a greater ability to customize the offering in a manner that best addresses all their needs. To date, several prominent ERPs offer modules or plugins that give  IT staff the ability to build custom formats and configure their own connectivity protocols. However, this option requires a significant amount of bandwidth and maintenance from treasury and IT teams, as well as a high degree of expertise and technical prowess to support the solution over time. The below pros and cons list highlights this reality in more detail.

PROS

  • IT and Treasury teams know firsthand what the main requirements and preferences are.
  • Support and maintenance for the solution can be handled internally.
  • The solution can be customized to fit the exact needs of the enterprise.
  • Complexity and redundancy regarding unnecessary features are kept to a minimum.

CONS

  • IT and treasury teams may not have the bandwidth to build their own internal solution.
  • Fixing bugs and patches requires internal support, which is not always readily available.
  • Not all internal teams have the expertise required to build complex connectivity solutions.
  • Supporting the need for new formats and connectivity protocols requires more custom work.
  • Scaling over time requires constant upkeep and maintenance from internal resources.

Adopting a 3rd Party Connectivity Solution

Compared to building an internal solution, adopting a 3rd party connectivity and payments solution usually requires less of treasury and IT’s time, and there is less effort required to develop, implement, and maintain the solution. However, there is also the chance that this solution will require the purchase of redundant or unnecessary features. At the same time, improper or incomplete implementation of a 3rd party solution can cause severe integration, security, and compliance issues over time. More about these pros and cons are highlighted below.

PROS

  • IT and Treasury teams have a minimized role in the solution’s implementation and upkeep.
  • Dedicated customer support staff can help resolve issues and requests.
  • Updates and patches are normally handled externally by the vendor.
  • Specialist functionality is pre-packaged to address best practices in connectivity and payments.
  • Liability on the company to maintain, host, and secure the solution is largely outsourced.

CONS

  • Specific customization of the product for treasury teams cannot always be assured.
  • Reliance on 3rd party vendors for support and upkeep may result in delayed responses and feedback.
  • Tech complexity can quickly escalate if companies start adopting numerous 3rd party solutions to manage various functions, especially if they do not integrate well with one another.
  • Using external solutions for data and payments can create additional security risks and compliance issues.

 

As showcased by the above bullets, a company’s decision to build or buy its payments and connectivity solutions should always depend on its unique circumstances. For instance, a company with sufficient IT personnel and internal expertise might have the bandwidth to create and maintain a solution on its own. However, if treasury and IT teams are already exasperated with their current list of responsibilities and don’t have the time or expertise necessary to create and maintain their own solution, it probably makes more sense to begin evaluating the services of a 3rd party provider.

For treasury teams who are presently evaluating their options and need help deciding on the best course of action, the following considerations will help provide more clarity during the decision-making process.

Elements to consider when evaluating build vs buy

 

A Checklist to Walk Through When Deciding to Build or Buy Your Next Connectivity Solution

1. Validate the Need for New Technology

Many organizations have their eye on new technology before identifying any legitimate business need. Sometimes this “cart before the horse” approach is due to rigid business processes, lack of technical knowledge, or pure product hype. Decision-makers are very often awed by product suite success stories, dynamite product demonstrations, and industry analysts’ evaluation of technology—even when they haven’t formally identified a need for the technology.

To avoid these pitfalls, treasury and IT teams need to first validate the need for upgraded connectivity and payment protocols, prior to even beginning to evaluate which solution makes the most sense.

Last, but not least, tech leaders need to provide an estimated return on investment (ROI) for any new solution, along with a description of how ROI will be measured. It is surprising how many programs are initiated without considering ROI or added business value upfront. Many of these projects consume a lot of budget and time before leaders realize that either the solution will not add value or there is not a legitimate business need.

 

2. Identify Core Connectivity & Payment Requirements

In large organizations, pinpointing core connectivity requirements is often easier said than done. Still, it is a critically important step to take before deciding to implement a new solution. A core business requirement is one that must be supported by the solution to continue functioning as intended. For multinational organizations, core connectivity requirements may involve compatibility with numerous format types (EDI, BAI, SWIFT MT, ISO 20022, etc.) as well as numerous bank channels (SWIFT, H2H, EBICS, etc.) and back-office integrations (APIs and plugins for ERPs or TMSs).

Although determining treasury’s exact connectivity requirements may be difficult, it is extremely important to identify these core functional requirements first—not technology or design requirements. This is the only way to ensure unnecessary or redundant functionality is not purchased erroneously, and also ensures that critical requirements are never accidentally overlooked and unaddressed through whatever solution is ultimately chosen.

 

3. Consider Your Technology Architecture Requirements

Going a step further than the above point, it’s safe to assume that organizations are already using technology to enable other business processes. To reduce the cost and liability of this technology, your organization has also likely adopted standards related to how internal solutions are implemented and maintained.

As such, it is extremely important to identify any architectural requirements or standards that a solution must adhere to before determining if a 3rd party solution or an internal solution is the best choice. Some factors that may restrict the solution choice are as follows:

  • Information security strategy, compliance policies, and privacy standards (SOC 1 & 2, GDPR, etc.)
  • The state of current / planned systems with which the solution will be interfacing
  • What the preferred hosting structure is for the new solution (on-premise, SaaS, etc.)
  • Type and complexity of integrations that must be supported by the solution
  • Operating systems in use by the organization and their partners/banks/customers/entities

 

4. Examine & Evaluate Existing Solutions FIRST

At this point, a business need has been pinpointed, ROI has been estimated, and both core business and architectural restrictions have been identified. Leaders should now take a good look at existing systems.

It is not uncommon that different departments or entities of a large, global organization are not aware of what systems exist in other areas of the company. As a result, businesses will often implement multiple versions or forms of the same technology, only to discover that another system within the organization could have supported treasury’s new requirements with little to no modification. Thus, before deciding on the “best-fit” solutions approach, you should determine if any existing system(s) within the organization can be easily scaled or extended to meet your business need.

 

5. Compare In-House Expertise & Bandwidth Relative to Current AND Future Capabilities Required

One major factor that can significantly reduce the ROI of a custom-built solution (and in many cases, ultimately causes the project to fail) is the lack of available personnel with proper skill sets. In reality, the process of designing and deploying custom connectivity solutions that are both scalable and extensible is a massive undertaking for both treasury and IT. Unless one of your business areas is product development or you have an abundance of available IT support, there is an extremely high probability that your operations and maintenance technology resources will not be able to build, sustain, and support an internal solution, especially as new needs and requirements arise over time.

It is never profitable to let personnel gain these skills and experience by developing business-essential systems. Yet, more often than not, decision-makers see the short-term cost differences between an internally-built vs 3rd party solution and decide to try and build their own in order to save money. However, unless you’re supremely confident in the skillsets and bandwidth of both your treasury and IT teams, this option is not recommended.

 

Why TIS is the Ideal Provider for Global Payments, Liquidity Management, & Bank Connectivity

Ultimately, any organization evaluating whether to build or buy its next solution will have to closely analyze its own operations in order to make the best decision.

In cases where organizations require support for a complex array of payments and bank connectivity protocols and are open to considering a 3rd party vendor, they should closely evaluate the capabilities provided by TIS.

The cloud-based, fully-supported platform provided by TIS offers a global, multi-channel, and multi-bank connectivity ecosystem that streamlines and automates the processing of a company’s payments across all their global entities and systems. By sitting above an enterprise’s technology stack and connecting with all their back-office, banking, and 3rd party solutions, TIS effectively breaks down department and geographic silos to allow 360-degree visibility and control. To date, the ~200 organizations that have integrated TIS with their global ERPs, TMSs, and banking landscape have achieved near-100% real-time transparency into their payments and liquidity. This has benefitted a broad variety of internal stakeholders and has also enabled them to access information through their platform of choice since the data that passes through TIS is always delivered back to the originating systems.

 

TIS Simplifies Global Payments & Liquidity

Because of the deep connections that TIS maintains with internal systems such as ERPs or TMSs, external banks, and 3rd party vendors, the process of managing payments is simplified for every internal stakeholder. C-suite executives, treasury, accounting, AP, legal, HR, and other key personnel can access whatever financial data they need, exactly when they need it. And by automating this flow of information for both inbound and outbound payments, TIS provides the control and flexibility that enterprises need to function at their highest level.

Finally, with the global payments data we have amassed and the decades of experience our team has in orchestrating enterprise payments, we are uniquely equipped to help enterprises accurately benchmark their payments performance and provide tailored advice on how to optimize, grow, and mature. Ultimately, this rich data and deep experience are what enable us to continually provide industry-leading payment solutions and support to our enterprise customers.

In the digital world of enterprise payments, TIS is here to help you reimagine and simplify.

For more information about how TIS can help you, visit our website or browse our latest resources!


Fraud Check Up

17-05-2022 | treasuryXL | TIS | LinkedIn |

Fraud as a threat: Evaluate your risk!

Source



Record high of fraud threat level: 87% of professional treasurers from companies and banks worldwide have perceived an increase in fraud threat in comparison to the year before. * Attacks on companies have intensified significantly, threatening all processes of financial transactions and payment relevant courses.

Additionally, due to the rapid change to remote work since the start of the pandemic, security strategies have undergone the greatest stress test. New and secure means are available and necessary to protect your company against rapidly evolving fraud schemes.

 

Is your company at risk? Find out now by answering a couple of questions.

* Strategic Treasurer – 2021 Treasury Fraud & Controls Survey Report