Best-of-Breed Providers Cashforce and TIS Form Alliance to Help Companies with an End-to-End Cash and Payments Solution

| 16-07-2020 | TIS |

Walldorf, July 16, 2020 – Cashforce, a ‘next-generation’ cash forecasting & working capital analytics company and TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions GmbH), a leading bank connectivity & payments provider, announced today that they have formed a strategic alliance. This collaboration provides a unique solution for corporates requiring a rich cash forecasting and payment experience with seamless integration to their banks and their enterprise systems such as ERP and TMS.

With universal ERP connectivity a common strength, the pairing of Cashforce’s strength in cash forecast modelling and working capital analytics together with TIS’ global bank connectivity and payment capability provides corporations a highly flexible solution to adapt to treasury’s changing needs.

“We are very pleased to form this partnership with TIS,” said Nicolas Christiaen, CEO of Cashforce. “Cashforce is unique given its ability to combine working capital analytics with sophisticated (AI-powered) cash forecasting. Partnering with TIS compliments our best of breed approach. The end-to-end solution of our combined products provides a seamless experience from the discovery phase, through implementation to support; exactly the level of integration our clients and prospects are looking for.”

Joerg Wiemer, CEO and co-founder of TIS, is excited about the partnership: “TIS is leading the market in providing frictionless, cloud-based payment solutions to corporate and medium-sized enterprises. I am excited about our new partnership with Cashforce as we continue to follow our best-of-breed ecosystem strategy in cash management. Our API connectivity with Cashforce will bring integration and customer experience to the next level. “

About Cashforce     

Cashforce is a ‘next-generation’ Cash Forecasting & Working Capital Analytics platform, focused on analytics, automation and integration. Cashforce connects the Treasury department with other finance / business departments by offering full transparency into its cash flow drivers, accurate & automated cash flow forecasting and treasury reporting. The platform is unique in its category because of the seamless integration with numerous ERPs & banking systems, the ability to drill down to transaction level details, and the intelligent AI-based simulation engine that enables multiple cash flow scenarios, forecasts & impact analysis.

Cashforce is a global company with offices in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London & New York and provides cash visibility to multinational corporates across various industries in over 120 countries worldwide.

About TIS

TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions GmbH), founded in Walldorf, Germany in 2010, is a global leader in managing corporate payments. The Financial Times named TIS as one of “Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies” for 2019 and 2020.  Offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the TIS solution is a comprehensive, highly-scalable, cloud platform for company-wide payments and cash management. The TIS solution has been successfully used for many years in both large and medium-sized companies, including Adecco Group, Hugo Boss, Fresenius, Fugro, Lanxess, OSRAM and QIAGEN. More than 25% of DAX companies are already TIS customers.

Your world of Payments. ONE Login.

https://www.tis.biz


Press contacts

Cashforce

Benjamin Bergers – benjamin.bergers@cashforce.com

+32 479 66 27 21

 

Treasury Intelligence Solutions GmbH

Liang Fang – liang.fang@tis.biz

Altrottstrasse 31

69190 Walldorf

If you want to know more about TIS, just visit www.tis.biz

5 Signs Your Budget Needs a Rethink

16-07-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

We’ve all got some sort of a budget. Whether you’re the type to keep an immaculate record of every bit spent down to the last cappuccino or you prefer to keep a more general list of priorities for each paycheck, everyone has some kind of methodology for how they choose to spend their money. How did you create your budget? And when did you create your budget? Odds are, your current circumstances aren’t exactly the same as the circumstances in which you first created your budget, and that could warrant a revisit. In general, you should review your budget at least once per year. But that’s the bare minimum: if you’re experiencing any of the following with your budget, it might be time to take another look.

#1. Your income, expenses, or goals have changed.

These three things are the bare-bones basics of any budget:

  • How much money you earn each month
  • How much money you need to spend each month
  • How much money you want to put into savings each month

You’re free to add other features as you please, but those are the fundamentals. A change in your income (such as starting a new job or getting a raise), a change in your regular spending (such as paying off a debt or adding a new expense), and a change in your goals (such as deciding to save for a home) will impact how you budget. Maybe now you can afford to increase the amount that goes into your savings account each month, or maybe you’ll need to cut your spending to account for your new expenses.

Don’t wait until things become problems: as soon as your finances change, make the changes in your budget to reflect them.

#2. You can’t afford it.

Some things are out of your control, and there might be periods where you’re in a tight spot, financial. But during ordinary times, if you find yourself:

  • Living paycheck to paycheck
  • Regularly spending more than you earn
  • Frequently dipping into your savings
  • Habitually relying on credit cards to cover necessary expenses
  • Not being able to consistently put money (any amount) into savings

…then your current budget isn’t working for you.

Take a look at your budget and see why these things are happening. It could be as simple as setting up an automatic deposit into your savings account each month. Or, you might need to critically examine your spending habits and reallocate your monthly income.

#3. It’s too restrictive.

Keeping a specific, organized budget isn’t a bad thing. But budgeting yourself so tightly that you don’t have any wiggle room can lead to trouble later on. Do you have the emergency funds to purchase a new dishwasher or make unexpected repairs to your car or home? Or would you be forced to dip into your retirement savings or take out a loan.

It’s important to save and spend responsibly, but allowing yourself the leeway for an occasional takeout meal or latte won’t derail your financial future (unless you genuinely don’t have the funds for these things). When it comes to your budget, you should feel disciplined, not restrained.

#4. You’ve noticed some unfavorable patterns in your spending.

Some spending is inevitable. You know you’ll always need to spend a certain amount on things like rent, mortgage, utilities, bills, and groceries. Once you’ve taken care of the essential spending and your savings, you’ll hopefully have a bit left over for fun, frivolous, and miscellaneous purposes.

Take a look at your nonessential spending too. It’s normal to spend a little more than usual during the holidays, for example, but are you consistently going over budget on things like online shopping, nights out, or takeout food? If you’re spending more than you can afford on these things, it’s time to reassess: either reallocate your budget to account for more spending, or make the choice to reduce the amount you spend.

#5. You’re stressed.

Finances are a common worry for people all over the world. But if you’re constantly stressing about whether you’ll be able to pay your bills at the end of the month, or stay up late each night worrying about potential disasters that could empty your bank account, making some changes to your budget could help you to find peace of mind and feel more comfortable with your finances.

Source

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multi billion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

Are you curious to know more about XE?
Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.

 

 

Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page

 

 

 

Blockchain and Interoperability: key to mass adoption

| 13-07-2020 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

Blockchain‘s  potential for improving business processes, providing transactional transparency and security in the value chain, and reducing operational costs is obvious for many. Notwithstanding this the expected mass adoption failed to happen up till now. What has been holding blockchain back?

In fact, there have been several concerns in recent years preventing this mass adoption. But by far the most widely recognized problematic issue is that of interoperability. Or, more accurately, the lack of it. In this blog, I will not go into the details of the various tools that can be used to enable interoperability. There are many reports that give in-depth description. I will look at recent developments in the interoperability area, the various offerings and real word interoperability use cases that should give an idea of what we may expect.

Siloed blockchain ecosystems

While blockchain was conceived as a decentralized technology, individual blockchain networks are not inherently open and are not able to communicate properly to each other. There are a large number of blockchain projects, all of which have different characteristics – such as the type of transactions, hashing algorithms, or consensus models – and which focused on a particular area. The problem is further deepened by different networks and financial institutions running completely different governance rules, blockchain technology versions and regulatory controls. This has resulted in a series of unconnected blockchain ecosystems operating alongside, but siloed from each other, preventing the industry from reaching its full potential.

“We would be left with a scattered collection of siloed blockchains, each supported by a weak network of nodes and susceptible to attack, manipulation, and centralisation.” ConsenSys research paper

What is interoperability?

The term blockchain interoperability is increasingly being talked for some time now. It not only means the possibility that disparate blockchain systems can communicate with each other. Above all it is the ability to share, see, and access information across different blockchain networks without the need for an intermediary – like a centralised exchange. So, blockchain projects that want to implement interoperability into their platform aim to create an ecosystem that will enable different blockchains to easily communicate with each other. The vision of interoperable enterprise blockchains thereby rests on a number of functionalities and abilities including: integration with existing systems, initiate transactions on other networks, conduct transactions with other chains, transact between deployments on the same chain by integrating apps and making it easy to switch one underlying platform for another.

Why is interoperability critical?

It is easy to see why interoperability for blockchain is not only desirable, but above all critical, in a world where enterprises depend on ever-greater levels of collaboration and interaction. In fact, interoperability is crucial in any software system – it simply won’t work to its full potential if it can’t work with other software. It is the only way to realise the full promise of enterprise blockchain and get the most out of their blockchain investments. Interoperability would enable smooth information sharing, easier execution of smart contracts, a more user-friendly experience, the opportunity to develop partnerships, and the sharing of solutions.

Where is interoperability needed?

Especially in areas where the value chain is important, such as supply chain, trade finance, healthcare, aviation, etc., one blockchain network will simply be unable to provide all the needs for any given transaction. This asks for multiple networks, each providing specific value, and proper communication so that data from private networks can be routed to other relevant networks for transactions “without having to establish a one-to-one integration”. “Everyone is dependent on physical goods’ ability to move across all participants in the global supply chain with minimal friction. We need the same ability to move a digital asset from one blockchain to another without creating redundant data or a new market for intermediaries. This is why blockchain interoperability is critical.” Rasmus Winther Mølbjerg, Director, Deloitte, Denmark.
Blockchain’s characteristics allow disconnected supply chain management systems to interoperate securely without too high investment costs. Because of the pressing need for supply chain transformation, leveraging these characteristics ensures that blockchain can be useful and effective in the real world.

Interoperability Studies: WEF Report

In the meantime a number of interesting papers covering the interoperability issue have been. The most ground-breaking one is that of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF described blockchain technology as being “balkanised in silos.” In collaboration with Deloitte, the WEF this year released a report on “Inclusive Deployment of Blockchain for Supply Chains – A Framework for Blockchain Interoperability”. The report covers several models, concepts, approaches and best practices for blockchain interoperability. It should help organizations understand the importance of interoperable blockchains and outlines a decision framework to support their development and execution. “Interoperability and compatibility issues are key to address in a world after the coronavirus pandemic.” “The challenge of interoperability is not only a technology problem, but even more so a problem in terms of governance, data ownerships and commercial business models.” Nadia Hewett, Blockchain and Digital Currency Project Lead at the World Economic Forum

Blockchain interoperability approaches

Broadly one could distinct two main blockchain interoperability approaches: APIs and network-of networks model.

‘Mashup’ APIs
Blockchain networks and solutions could be brought together for an organization via a so called “mashup” application. They only have to interact with one consistent application programming interface (API) and not an API for every network. This mashup application can include a variety of capabilities defined in data models and smart contracts, but fundamentally, it will serve as “the glue that joins various networks together”. However, APIs do not presuppose a governance structure, which makes them flexible and expedient but also a poor choice for organizing interoperability in the long run.

Network of networks model
The most efficient and scalable way to build interoperability is through the joint effort of establishing industry standards as well as identifying a network of networks structure that industry networks can converge around. An organizations blockchain network actually represents a ”web” of interconnected networks. This architecture would allow an organization to connect and transact with multiple solutions, not restrained to a single network, and open up a market of interoperability across solutions. By unlocking the power of the peer, organizations can use their peer to connect into multiple blockchain networks via channels. This significantly reduces the complexity and optimizes an organizations interaction with different blockchain networks. This network of networks model for interoperability continues to gain momentum, especially as we see natural blockchain hubs emerge.

Blockchain interoperability solutions

The majority of interoperability solutions up till recently were mainly focused on chain interoperability across public blockchains, thereby using crypto-directed tools like sidechains (or relay chain), notary schemes and timed hash-locks. The focus however has increasingly shifted towards solutions for interoperability between private networks and/or between private networks and public blockchains. One way to solve interoperability is to use a separate blockchain as a bridge to facilitate cross-communication. Essentially, this is a third blockchain that sits in the middle of the two blockchains and maintains a cryptographically secured timestamped ledger of the transactional and messaging activity between the two. Interoperability tools that are used range from hub and spoke, decentralised finance (DeFi) and general purpose bridges. Another way to facilitate interoperability between systems is with off-chain or middleware systems. This so-called non-blockchain interoperability approach uses tools including atomic swaps, oracles and state channels.

Blockchain Interoperability projects

A growing number of interoperability projects have entered the scene to try to bridge the gap between the various blockchains. Their aim is to facilitate interaction between networks and ensure the concept of decentralisation is fully realised. Depended on the interoperability solutions these can be used for activities like decentralised asset exchange and decentralised message exchange. Interesting projects are Chainlink, Cosmos, Hybrix, Polkadot and Wanchain. Other examples include Aion, Ark, ICON, Transledger, and Overledger.

Chainlink
Chainlink is a decentralised oracle network, an interoperability solution to facilitate secure and trustless communication between all disparate blockchain systems. The resources mostly revolve around off-chain data to trigger smart contracts and settlement outputs like established payment systems and cloud backend. This standalone function is important for many blockchains that don’t have to interact with other blockchain protocols but do need access to externals inputs and outputs. Chainlink nodes are able to format messaging and data from public APIs into a readable format for smart contracts. These nodes can connect to any API, whether it is a blockchain, enterprise system, Web API, or IoT device. Chainlink is sometimes working in combination with other interoperability protocols. Chainlink has already announced partnerships with Polkadot and Ethereum to provide off-chain data to their networks. Wanchain is integrating with Chainlink to provide off-chain  data to their on-chain smart contracts.

Cosmos
One of the most prominent interoperability solutions is Cosmos, very much focused on its Cosmos SDK platform. Cosmos aims to act as an ecosystem of blockchains that can scale and interoperate with each other. Cosmos is a smart contract platform that has prioritized interoperability as a critical component of their blockchain design. Their architecture is based on the so-called ‘hub-and-spoke’ system whereby a series of ‘spoke’ chains connect to a ‘central’ hub by means of inter-blockchain communication. Cosmos is heavily reliant on validators to provide interoperability. It makes use of the so—called Byzantine fault tolerant (BFT) consensus algorithm and uses both member chains and Peg-Zones for existing chains to improve the overall ecosystem. Their end goal is to create an ‘internet of blockchains’ – a network of blockchains that can communicate with one another in a decentralised way. The implementation of the IBC (Inter Blockchain Communication) protocol is scheduled for this year 2020. Cosmos will use the IBC protocol to allow communication between a central hub and the chains linked to the network, also called Zones. It will first only concern the interoperability of chains built on top of Cosmos SDK platform.

Hybrix
Hybrix is an open-source cross-chain solution aimed to make it easier to make cross-chain transactions, and also increase the level of ease for developers who want to offer multi-chain platforms. For that purpose Hybrix is developing an “HY” token. Each token represents an identical block of a chain and can be used to reconcile data across the entire crypto complex. Tokens form as bridges that allow transactions to be conducted on either a single chain or multi-ledger systems. Since Hybrix utilizes existing languages to build its protocol and interface, there’s no need to acquire new coding languages to use its system. Hybrix has amplified its capacity to adapt 27 major blockchains and more than 400 tokens.

Polkadot
Another project is Polkadot, which facilitates transactions and data exchange, aiming to promote interoperability between blockchains. It uses the DPoS algorithm and employs required validators which can lead to a certain degree of centralization. The concept at Polkadot is quite similar to that of Cosmos. It allows communication between the relay chain and the parachains of Polkadot’s network. By using Parachains and Bridgechains, this approach enables to transfer both value and data. Additionally, scalability will be taken to a whole new level by running multiple parallel chains. This is a bit different from other projects which are looking to bridge the gap between blockchains as well. The launch of their mainnet is planned for this year (2020). As for interoperability, there are no precise timelines regarding their protocols for chains  implementation.

Wanchain
The Wanchain network allows interoperability between very heterogeneous blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS. Wanchain aims to link and facilitate communication between the different blockchains as much as possible. Wanchain is already functional and allows communication and exchange of value and data between public and private blockchains through storeman nodes and the T-Bridge framework. The storeman node system combines two cryptographic concepts that ensure security and confidentiality of network transactions: secure multi-party computation and “Shamir’s secret sharing”. The Wanchain project recently announced the integration of EOS blockchain and the implementation of the T-bridge framework. Wanchain’ s next challenge is to fully decentralise its network. This is planned to be finalised in 2022.

Other interoperability offerings

And there are many more interoperability projects including Aion, which is working towards integrating artificial intelligence in its consensus model. Or Ark which uses Smartbridge to link existing chains, and will also allow for the transfer of both data and value. And the Loom Network, which uses its DPoS blockchain Basechain to connect and transfer value among several blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance. A rather unknown but interesting player is Block Collider. Its proof-of-distance (PoD) consensus algorithm ensures that ledgers can operate with one another. It is also the only project that, in its current form, requires any validators.

Real world interoperability use cases

During 2020 we have seen a number of interesting real world interoperability use cases.

AVA Network (Defi Apps)

The AVA network is an open-source platform for building and deploying decentralized finance (DeFi) apps and enterprise-grade blockchain solutions that can be run in one interoperable, highly scalable ecosystem. AVA has officially released the codebase of its AVA blockchain platform to the global community. Interoperability between different DLT networks has thereby been built into the AVA protocol, using the Avalanch consensus protocol. The AVA platform has coupled this protocol with a network model that enables the system to span permissioned and permissionless networks, making AVA a self-serve platform for new blockchains and digital assets. Instead of one network with thousands of tokens, the AVA ecosystem is one platform with thousands of subnetworks and tokens on each subnetwork . AVA’s infrastructure allows anyone to build their own private, public, permissioned or permissionless blockchain networks or subnetwork, so-called “subnets.”

Kava Labs and IRISnet (decentralised finance)

Another  real world  example is Kava Labs that has teamed up with IRISnet in order to provide a technology foundation for facilitating the development of distributed business applications. Kava is a Cosmos SDK (software development kit) blockchain. The collaboration will involve the whole interchain ecosystem that has been developed by  blockchain interoperability solution provider Cosmos. Aim is to further support and promote decentralized finance (DeFi) application development on each other’s respective blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) networks. Kava’s Interblockchain Communication Protocol (ICP) will be used by both development teams to expand the nascent DeFi ecosystem. IRISnet aims to offer iService and Coinswap applications to Kava in order to improve liquidity. “Cosmos’ value proposition is that “if you make a blockchain and it has a similar consensus mechanism to another blockchain …[then by using] … the inter-blockchain communication protocol (IBC), you should be able to connect those two blockchains and transfer data [or assets] between them.” Brian Kerr, CEO at Kava Labs

Quant Overledger and Oracle Cloud (banking lifecycle)

Quant Networka technology provider, delivering blockchain enterprise-grade interoperability for the secure exchange of information and digital assets across any network, platform or protocol, at scale, has partnered with Oracle. Quant will use Oracle Cloud to run mission critical business applications on interoperable DLTs that will be powered by Overledger, which connects global networks to blockchain-based platforms. Banking institutions may deploy an extensive set of APIs that aim to cover all areas across the banking lifecycle. “Quant helps Oracle’s customer banks by providing a single API to all supported blockchains to power interoperability across platforms. Giving clients choice and flexibility to freely use any blockchain technology and go cross-platform with only three lines of code.”  “Clients gain benefits of market access, new products and revenue streams without the challenges of managing complex underlying blockchain technology stacks.” Gilbert Verdian, CEO at Quant Network

SIA and Quant Overledger (financial services)

Banking users of SIA’s private blockchain infrastructure, SIAchain, will be able to link up with other distributed ledgers following successful testing of interoperability via Quant Network’s Overledger technology. Quant’s Overledger complements and connects existing systems and DLTs, to drive innovative and efficient growth for companies, public entities, and regulatory bodies alike. This integration provides the ability to bridge permissioned blockchain instances between SIAchain’s 580 European network nodes and other external networks in order to have crossplatform applications and services covering the likes of notarisation, payments and KYC. SIA, that provides its services in  50 countries, is European leader in the design, creation and management of technology infrastructures and services for Financial Institutions, Central Banks, Corporates and the Public Sector, in the areas of Card & Merchant Solutions, Digital Payment Solutions and Capital Market & Network Solutions. “The achievement of a fully interoperable blockchain network, through our collaboration with Quant Network, is another key-element in our path of bringing innovation and state-of-the-art technologies for supporting banks, financial institutions, corporates and public administration bodies to extend their capabilities in integrating different DLT business applications.” Daniele Savarè, innovation & business solutions director SIA.

Telos and Transledger (crypto currency transfers)

Transledger, a blockchain interoperability platform that aims to facilitate cryptocurrency transfer between separate or independent DLT networks, has chosen the Telos blockchain network to perform cross-chain digital asset transactions with its utility token in a fast and secure manner. Transledger Inter-blockchain Communication (IBC), allows different blockchains to interact with each other and perform tasks together. Use cases for blockchain interoperability solutions include peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as decentralized or non-custodial cryptocurrency exchanges (DEXes). These types of trading platforms allow digital asset users to trade their tokens without requiring centralized, third-party exchange platforms. DEXes may use Transledger IBC to run P2P networks across several different blockchain platforms. This allows trading on DEXes to take place at speeds that are comparable to centralized exchanges, however, these non-custodial platforms allow users retain control of their funds. They also allow investors to manage their cryptocurrency portfolios with “faster and more powerful” smart contract functionality and features.

Skuchain and Corda (trade finance)

Skuchain network, a blockchain platform for supply chain, recently launched the DLPC CorDapp, a Skuchain application that promotes interoperability in trade finance blockchain applications. This application is the first example of The Bankers Association for Trade and Finance’s Distributed Ledger Payment Commitment (DLPC) operating in a real network. A DLPC is a fundamental piece of trade transaction. Everyone needs to commit to a payment. Skuchain’s DLPC CorDapp allows transactions to take place between its enterprises on Hyperledger Fabric and their bank partners on the Corda Network. The ultimate goal of brokering interoperability between Skuchain EC3 and Corda is to allow Skuchain’s enterprise customers to receive trade finance from banks on a Corda implementation without any party having to onboard onto another platform. Enterprises can now easily access trade finance as native part of their own supply chain platform.

Moving forward

The arrival of interoperability solutions may fundamentally change  present attitudes towards blockchain and will be an important step in persuading networks that the seamless exchange of data is crucial to the success of the entire market. As more progress towards interoperability between blockchain protocols is expected in the coming years, and we already may see successful cross-blockchain projects this year, interoperability is likely to become an important game changer for the blockchain industry. We may say that Blockchain seems to be at the threshold of widespread acceptance and adoption.

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

 

 

Source

Going Cash-Free: Is it Right for You?

09-07-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Let’s try something. Reach out to your friends, family, or roommates and ask if anyone has $50 they could loan you. Did anyone have that much money on them? Or did they say that they needed to go to the bank, or ask if they could electronically transfer you the money?
In recent years, it’s become increasingly common for people to not carry cash around with them, or to just carry a little bit in the case of emergencies. While there are exceptions, the majority of consumers have moved to using their credit and debit cards and other forms of electronic, cashless payment.

At the end of 2019, 70% of consumers in a survey answered that they preferred card payments to cash, with 38% of card users citing inconvenience as the main reason they preferred cards to cash. And it’s not just consumers who are looking to go cashless. Corporations like Starbucks, Sweet-green, and even Amazon have all implemented cashless measures at their physical locations. Whether you’re tired of the inconvenience of cash, want to keep track of your transactions, or you’re worried about the possibility of your cash carrying germs, you may be considering taking your payments completely cashless. Let’s take a look at what that could mean for you going forward.

Why go cashless?

Many people around the world have enjoyed the benefits of transitioning away from cash and toward electronic payment methods. These are some of the most popular reasons for making the switch:

  • It’s convenient. No more lugging that heavy wallet around, and no more digging around trying to find the right bills. If you’re short on time and want a quick transaction, all you need to do is swipe a card.
  • It leaves a paper trail. Does anyone keep a record of every single time they pay with cash? When you pay electronically, on the other hand, you have a built-in record of everything you’ve purchased, when you purchased it, and how much it cost. If you’re trying to budget, this makes it easier for you to see exactly how much you’re spending and where your money’s going. Or if your balance is lower than you expected, you’ll be able to see where the money went—or if your account information has been compromised.
  • Some cards come with benefits.From discounts to rewards, cash-back points, airline miles, and more, using your card frequently now could bring you a lot of benefits in the future.

Why you might want to keep a little cash

Even as technology continues to advance, it’s not likely that cash is going anywhere anytime soon. 88% of surveyed consumers stated that they still use cash sometimes, and here’s why:

  • Data security and privacy are a concern. With technological advancement comes new data security worries, and the world of payments is not an exception. E-commerce sites can be breached, and card information can be stolen. Or, after buying online, you might start seeing targeted advertisements based on your purchase and search history.
  • Cashless payment isn’t always a guarantee. Some vendors (particularly smaller, local businesses) only take cash. Or if they accept card payments, they might have a required minimum or add a small additional service fee to the transaction. Or maybe a store or restaurant’s card reader could go down for the day, and you’ll need to find an ATM. It might be small now, but these fees can quickly add up—and your card might end up being more of an inconvenience in these establishments.
  • You could spend more! When you have cash in your wallet, it’s easy to keep track of how much you have left, and how much you’ve spent. When all you need to do is swipe your card, it can be easy to lose track of what you’ve purchased and what’s left in your account.

Could my cash be contaminated?

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a question on everyone’s minds. Can cash carry the virus? Which payment method is the least likely to put you at risk of cross-contamination?

You’ve been told to try to avoid coming into contact with high-touch surfaces (such as door handles, handrails, and tables). Since cash frequently changes hands, you might be worried about the chances of your money carrying some harmful germs.

It’s true: coins and bills can potentially carry viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. It’s not the most common method of transmission, but it can potentially happen. If it gives you peace of mind and makes you feel less anxious about the possibility of cross-contamination, prioritize electronic payment and card payments, since your credit and debit cards can be wiped down. If you do need to handle cash, wear gloves if possible, and always wash your hands after coming into contact with new, potentially infectious objects.

In conclusion…

From buying a house to transferring money overseas, there are a few situations where paying with cash obviously isn’t the best move. If you enjoy the convenience of electronic payments and want to make the transition into a completely cashless lifestyle, you’re not the only one ready to make the switch. As long as you know what works for your purchases and your lifestyle, there’s no reason not to explore alternate methods of payment.

Source

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multi billion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

Are you curious to know more about XE?
Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.

 

 

Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page

 

 

 

Accounting for FX; the Do’s and Don’ts

08-07-2020 | Niki van Zanten

Let’s start by mentioning a phrase that I hear regularly and, to be honest, also use myself: ‘I am not an accountant, but…..’.
The urge to mention this phrase (usually targeted to an accountant while having an ‘I know it better’ attitude), can perhaps be traced back to the following reasons:

  • Discrepancies between accounting and real economics;
  • The fact that some (from my perspective, way too many) companies are run by accountants and numbers;
  • Historically absurd requirements in terms of hedge accounting*.IFRS on paper brought some relief but the old FAS and IAS standards were over the top accounting driven without a mere grasp of the real world.

The first point could already result into great discussions. As companies are expected to adhere to certain accounting standards, these standards represent the objective part of these discussions. This results in real economics claiming an underdog position.
If companies have to choose between compliance on one hand and doing what works best economically on the other hand, the way to find the right balance is by training accountants about real economics. Many individuals working in treasury have an accounting background, which could be beneficial if that individual takes the economic approach and uses accounting knowledge convince business partners.

Let’s jump into some basic examples where accounting doesn’t reflect economic reality:

  1. IC (inter company) bookings where the transaction is not reported in the same currency at both ends

Entity A (EUR Functional) has a receivable of 1 Mio EUR and entity B (USD Functional) has a payable of 1.1 Mio USD. The Historic rate was 1.10 and cash flow occurred in USD. Entity A decided to book in EUR to avoid any FX reporting. The consequence is that there is indeed no FX exposure visible. However upon settlements all FX results suddenly appear.What a nasty surprise!

  1. Re-measurements not done at correct rates

The best indication for FX effects in your books is obtained when the applied rates are close to the market rates. As you know there are many different sources for markets rates.  The awareness of this fact is not visible in accounting.

  1. Forward points not segregated

If you do not segregate forward points in PL, you can have FX results when the currency in question does not move. That just sounds very strange to me and this also touches upon a bigger issue, namely the allocation of result on PL. In the case your FX does not land in a segregated PL line, or worse non-FX related results end in your FX PL,
this usually does not change the total PL. However this makes it extremely difficult to control FX results, as you need good exposure information as well solid controls in terms of realized results. Segregation of realized and unrealized FX is also a very helpful tool for the Risk manager.

Are companies run by accountants?

That question should be discussed over a beer or glass of wine. Right now, I will limit myself to some pointers on how to identify whether a case could be identified as an accounting issue or economics issue. It is actually very simple and should be done by treasurers and financial controllers, before any discussion occurs on what the actual problem is.

By comparing the accounting steps for each of the proposed solutions with the trades, you can identify where market risk arises and where accounting risk. The one can see that thes are not always the same. Furthermore, it might also be a good time to call for a specialist, if the right level of comfort is not met. This way of working also fits well with the absurd requirements of hedge accounting.

Regarding this topic, ask yourself whether you really need to apply hedge accounting. From my experiences, in most cases hedge accounting is applied only for one reason; to reduce the PL volatility in between hedging and the moment of cash flow for forecasted transactions. (especially true for listed companies).Taking an economic perspective, there is no benefit in hedge accounting at such a significant cost in terms of audits and administration . Hence, determine how high the cliff is, before you dive down into hedge accounting procedures.

Conclusion

In a perfect world with only blue skies and where work consists of having margaritas on the beach, there are no accounting requirements (and probably also no FX to manage). In our world, the same feeling can be obtained by making sure that the accounting for FX reflects economic reality as much as possible. Thisby applying the accounting standards as a framework. Furthermore  take into account what level of known discrepancies between the economic and accounting reality you are comfortable with.

*Please note hedge accounting and accounting for FX are not the same. By accounting for FX I mean the accounting entries done by non-local or group currency items. These can be invoices in different currencies or intercompany bookings. Hedge accounting is only linked to deferring derivative MTM on the balance sheet as opposed to PL immediately.

I am curious about your thoughts. Please comment…

 

Niki van Zanten

FX specialist

 

5 examples for improving Financial Stamina

| 03-07-2020 | Stichting MKB Financiering | treasuryXL

It is quite easy to determine the financial stamina of a SME. Solvency is a reliable measure of this. If a company has a solvency of 35% or more, the company is in a healthy condition and has sufficient borrowing capacity for further growth. If the solvency is less than 35%, it is advisable to work on improving the condition. Borrowing money further affects solvency, so be cautious about this and work on improving the condition or improving solvency. The question now is: how?

Blog continues in Dutch language.

Actief de solvabiliteit verbeteren

Er zijn een aantal mogelijkheden om actief de solvabiliteit, lees financieel uithoudingsvermogen, van een bedrijf te verbeteren. We noemen vijf voorbeelden met daarbij de behorende kenmerken:

1. Winstinhouding

Door jaarlijks de winst aan het vermogen toe te voegen en geen of nauwelijks dividend uit te keren groeit het eigen vermogen gestaag. Een gezonde methode. Echter, deze vergt veel tijd. Het vergt soms jaren van sparen en de hand op de knip houden.

2. Balansverkorting

Het afstoten van overbodige activa en een scherper werkkapitaalbeheer (verkleining voorraad, sneller innen van debiteuren) voeren. Dit zijn eenmalige verbeteringen. Het aanwezige eigen vermogen verbetert er niet door.

3. Inbreng extra kapitaal door de ondernemer / aandeelhouder(s)

Net als winstinhouding is dit een gezonde methode; áls de aandeelhouders over middelen beschikken: breng het in! Op de spaarrekening levert het immers geen rendement. En dankzij de toename van het eigen vermogen kan de schuldpositie afnemen.

4. Inbreng kapitaal door derden

Kapitaal door derden inbrengen kan vanuit vrienden- of familiekring, maar ook via informal investors, participatiemaatschappijen en ROM’s. Een prima oplossing Hiermee kan snel een aanzienlijke verbetering van de vermogenspositie worden gerealiseerd. Overigens zijn veel ondernemers terughoudend: de ondernemer is niet meer enig aandeelhouder en moet dus meer verantwoording afleggen. Een argument dat voorbij gaat aan de voordelen:  andere aandeelhouders brengen niet alleen geld in, ook vaak hun kennis, visie en netwerk. Het biedt extra kans op professionele groei van het bedrijf

5. Werknemersparticipatie

Dit is een instrument waardoor medewerkers van een bedrijf kunnen deelnemen in (certificaten van) de aandelen van hun werkgever. De medewerkers worden mede eigenaar van het bedrijf. Het levert naast (beperkt) extra eigen vermogen ook iets extra’s op: nog meer betrokkenheid en vaak positieve gedragsverandering. Deze vorm van financieren past in de moderne tijd waarin  medewerkers meer onafhankelijk, bewust en vaak specialistisch opgeleid zijn. Een medewerkersparticipatie kan leiden tot extra (ver-)binding.

Eigen vermogen versterken niet eenvoudig

Hoe fraai deze opsomming van mogelijkheden ook is, in de praktijk blijkt het voor de meeste MKB bedrijven niet eenvoudig te zijn het eigen vermogen te versterken. Er zijn geen ‘eenvoudige’ loketten voor eigen vermogen zoals die er zijn voor vreemd vermogen (via banken en de non-bancaire kredietverstrekkers). Er is geen loket voor de MKB onderneming met een balanstotaal van € 300.000, die bijvoorbeeld behoefte heeft aan een eigen vermogensverbetering van € 50.000. Het ontbreken van zo’n loket voor eigen vermogen ‘drijft’ ondernemers dus automatisch naar de markt van vreemd vermogen.

Financieringsgraad te hoog door vreemd vermogen

Vreemd vermogen is goedkoop, fiscaal aantrekkelijk en goed verkrijgbaar. Dat heeft geleid tot een hoge financieringsgraad (dus lage solvabiliteit) van MKB ondernemingen. Gevolg: het financiële uithoudingsvermogen is aangetast én kan niet eenvoudig worden hersteld. Een dilemma dat vraagt om nadere aandacht.

Toegang eigen vermogensversterking MKB verbeteren

Een verbetering van de eigen vermogenspositie van MKB bedrijven leidt tot een verbetering van het financiële uithoudingsvermogen, hetgeen vervolgens de toegang tot overige financiering verbetert. Binnenkort gaan we nader in op de vraag: op welke wijze zou voor het MKB de toegang tot eigen vermogensversterking verbeterd kunnen worden?

Bron

Overwhelmed by FX Administration? Your Provider Can Help With That

02-07-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Foreign exchange isn’t always about the big trades. For many organizations that deal with international currencies, they find that their FX needs start small. It may not seem like it, but your routine, day-to-day operations could be a larger FX risk exposure than you think.

Whether your ordinary operations are taking up time and resources that could—and should—be devoted to other matters or your current processes aren’t as efficient as they could be, one important step to managing your organization’s FX risk is taking a look at how your organization is handling transactions.

If you feel that you’re having trouble handling your transaction volume or you’re not handling your international payments as well as you could be, don’t worry: this is where your FX provider can help you out.

What can go wrong with day-to-day transactions?

Depending on how many your business makes each day, these typical, everyday operations could be taking up a large portion of your business’s time and resources. This time and resources could be more valuably spent elsewhere. Assess your operations and think carefully—are there any areas of your business that you think you’re neglecting because of how much time you need to devote to minute transactions? Are you missing out on the bigger picture because you’re too focused on the small things? When you assess your foreign exchange risk exposures, remember to consider everyday operations as well as the larger scope.

In addition, elaborate, inconvenient processes could end up causing trouble for your business. If, for example, you rely on employees to take care of manual data entry or transactions, there’s always the chance that human error could cause some unnecessary delays, or worse.

This is a common problem for fast-growing SMEs. Founders and owners want to monitor international payments and ensure that everything is being taken care of according to their standards, but they don’t have the time to monitor and physically process everything the way they’d like to.

Who should you turn to in order to ensure that your payments are being taken care of in a way that is efficient but still effective and up to your standards? This is where your FX provider comes in.

How can your foreign exchange provider help?

As we’ve said before, your foreign exchange provider does much more than help you find the best exchange rates. FX providers offer a wide range of products and services to assist their clients with their overseas payments, and one of these services is processing (or even automating) payments.

For example, your provider may be able to create a system that grants some users administrator rights to do the processing work while reserving payment authority for specific individuals. They can also offer secure, reliable, and straightforward processing, and they should be able to help you trace delayed payments. Depending on the volume and nature of your payments, they may also be able to help you automate them, or at least vastly cut down on the amount of time and resources it takes to make a transaction.

Finding the right solutions can take time, and it starts with the right FX provider. If your current provider doesn’t offer these solutions, or you haven’t found theirs to be as effective as you’d like, it’s important to shop around until you can find the provider that can help you to manage the administrative side of your transactions while maintaining the right level of quality and security.

At XE, they provide a broad range of currency services and products to businesses around the world. XE experts will work with you to ensure that your foreign exchange procedures are the right ones for your business and its needs.

 

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multibillion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

Are you curious to know more about XE?
Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.

 

 

Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page

 

 

 

Webinar and Q&A | Market Movers: Currency Influencers

| 01-07-2020 | XE.com

Webinar and Q&A | Market Movers: Currency Influencers | Wednesday , July 15, 2020 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM CEST

As financial markets continue to react to the global pandemic, the focus has shifted to recovery, and the impact of a potential 2nd wave. As we have seen over the last few months, the currency markets have been, and continue to be, impacted by the uncertainty that these events bring.

The markets also see a tug-of-war between ‘risk-on’ versus ‘risk-off’, and questions surrounding global fiscal and monetary stimulus in order to kick start struggling economies.

During our latest, live, free and interactive webinar, the currency experts from Xe will discuss these themes and more and share insights into how businesses that have a commercial exposure to the currency markets can look to protect their bottom lines from further impacts.

Join us in this next Xe-Pert Webinar, as the Xe team provides our thoughts and analysis on the current market outlook and where to from here.

Date, time and registration

Date: July 15, 2020

Start time: 5.00 pm – 5.45 pm CET

Register here

 

Do you a question that you’d like one of the XE Experts to answer during the session? Please provide details and XE will endeavour to respond during the session. You can submit your question at the registration page.

 

 

Executive Briefing CFOs in the Firing Line

| 01-07-2020 | TIS |

Government-imposed sanctions on who companies can trade with and how are changing almost daily. At the same time, CFOs are becoming personally responsible for sanctions violations relating to payments – and the size of fines imposed on errant organizations is snowballing.

How, then, can finance leaders tackle these issues to minimize the risk of sanctions breaches, improve payments workflows, and ultimately, avoid severe legal consequences? Our partner TIS offers an executive briefing on this topic. Read more about:

  1. The importance of government-imposed sanctions
  2. What types of sanctions exist?
  3. Pinpointing the risks
  4. Why in-house screening matters
  5. Optimizing the set-up

Download the latest executive briefing from TIS and gain timely insights into this complex topic and an extensive list of legal expert’s recommendations in order to ultimately protect the organization against the financial and reputational damage of a non-compliance incident as well as the CFO from personal liability.

About TIS:

TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions GmbH), founded in Walldorf, Germany in 2010, is a global leader in managing corporate payments. The Financial Times named TIS as one of “Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies” for 2019 and 2020. Offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the TIS solution is a comprehensive, highly-scalable, cloud platform for company-wide payments and cash management. The TIS solution has been successfully used for many years in both large and medium-sized companies, including Adecco Group, Hugo Boss, Fresenius, Fugro, Lanxess, OSRAM and QIAGEN. More than 25% of DAX companies are already TIS customers.

Your world of Payments. ONE Login.

Visit TIS.biz website

Download the executive briefing here!

 

Alternative Risk Finance in a hardening insurance market

| 30-06-2020 | Mark Roelands | treasuryXL

Insurance premium rates are reported to increase on average with about 2% in Europe, confirming the overall market trend of a hardening insurance market. Some markets have, however, seen double-digit growth in premiums, like D&O and Motor Third Party Liability. Other markets witnessed important coverage elements actually being excluded from cover, making the premium comparison apples and pears. As Covid-19 is impacting claims experience across all lines as well as causing negative investment returns, the hardening insurance market trend is expected to continue and get worse in 2020. Premium increases are to be expected and retention levels are expected to be increased.

It is therefore critical to work with your insurance broker in time to understand and mitigate effects for the treasury and insurance function. What is the action plan when retentions are being driven upwards or when cover is disappearing? What alternatives are available next to traditional insurance? Will your organisation be forced to retain risk above the risk appetite or accept double digit premium increases?
Although retaining additional risk may not be the worst solution, as premium increases may not reflect the actual risk that is being transferred and there are awareness benefits to being exposed to risks, the possibility to transfer alternatively is very valuable in the current hardening market.

Captive insurance

A captive is an in-house insurer, enabling efficient and centralized risk pooling while providing cover to operating companies and thereby bridging the gap between corporate and local risk appetite. Key arguments for establishing a captive are to smooth the impact of hardening insurance markets as well as provide additional flexibility in cover. The current market environment is therefore a textbook example for establishing an insurance entity. However, a captive is a licensed insurance company that comes with added costs and a compliance burden. This is especially true since Solvency II became active in 2016. As a general rule of thumb a minimum threshold of captive premium of EUR 2Mio would be required for a Dutch based captive, allowing for claims expenses (70-80% claims ratio), operating costs as well as building some reserves. Establishing a captive in other jurisdictions can make sense, as the route to licensing might still be feasible in 2020 (for the Netherlands at least 6 months are to be expected) as well as the opportunity of some more light-weight operational structures.

An interesting alternative to the fully owned, traditional captive is a Cell Company; either an Incorporated Cell Company (ICC) or Protected Cell Company (PCC). These alternatives provide the benefit of a shared structure (including initial capitalisation) and enable a ring-fenced environment for your organisation. In order to arrange that ring-fencing, specific legislation is required, which is found in Malta in the EU. Guernsey (leaving tax considerations aside) might be very interesting as well. Ireland and Luxemburg did give some hints for establishing cell company legislation but after Brexit this was delayed indefinitely. A Cell Company can provide the same functionality as a fully owned captive, but treasury and insurance will have to work with legal and tax to get a solid business case in place in order to address questions proactively.
Both Aon-Willis and Marsh have Cell Companies and would be able to assist, but insurers can also facilitate this (which has a lock-in effect) while there are also more independent providers like Artex, SRS (completing the top 5 of largest captive managers 2020) and firms like Atlas or Robus which can potentially be of added value as well.

Parametric Insurance

Next to captive insurance, parametric insurance is a promising route to follow.
Parametric insurance has historically been connected to weather insurance (e.g. rainfall exceeding a threshold leading to a pay-out) as well as longevity cover for pension funds (in the form of Insurance Linked Securities, Longevity Swaps). Parametric products enable a highly transparent and quick risk transfer and enable the route to other markets than the insurance market. A parametric product can be structured in an insurance structure but in a derivative structure as well. Conceptually an insurance-linked derivative will not be different than the plain vanilla currency instruments that are traded.

Covid is also attracting significant attention for parametric cover, as lockdown measures can be clear-cut triggers for parametric cover. Most importantly, for parametric cover clear risk information and data analysis is required and both are increasingly available. Increasingly better data and analysis techniques enable to minimise basis risk i.e. the risk in which an incident occurs but the derivative trigger is not being met. For instance site-specific weather stations are set up to ensure rainfall or water level at your organisations’ sites are being monitored. Increasingly, non-weather risks are being covered, for instance Ryskex GmbH and Axis Capital have worked together to develop  parametric cyber-insurance cover.

Where traditional insurance has deductibles and exclusions, parametric risk transfer has basis risk which needs to be managed. Next to that other operational processes may be impacted, claims management for instance and therefore it is recommended to make a well founded and analysed decision.

Roadmap

Starting financing risks in a different manner is not a decision to be made in isolation and to be done quickly. It is a structural decision requiring a structured approach. In our practice, we use our Risk Finance Framework which is composed of (1) Foundation, the objectives to be met (2) People & Organisation, matching the organisation, policies and people involved (3) Processes, adaptive, effective and efficient (4) Data and Technology, the business case based on solid risk information.

In our view, this provides a very practical and structured approach allowing stakeholders like tax and legal to be involved throughout the process. Back planning from a January renewal date, it is critical that conversations with your broker and insurers are taking place in order to ensure no last-minute surprises are presented as a treasury or Insurance professional. In parallel, the (internal) business case can be analysed in order to make a decision.

Therefore, it is recommended to start preparations early, or actually on an asap basis.
Alternative Risk Financing can be highly interesting, but it is not an instant go-to solution and requires some preparations.

 

 

Mark Roelands

Risk and Compliance Specialist