Posts

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

20-04-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

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

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

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

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

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

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

The challenge you face

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

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

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

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

How an Active Liquidity Network works?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Centralising Payments and Fraud Management with Kyriba – Şişecam

30-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Şişecam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

How to anticipate Liquidity risks to secure the Cash Flow

15-03-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

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

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

Prepare for the unthinkable.

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

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

 

Contact Kyriba directly for more information.

Liquidity Management – show me the money

| 31-01-2018 | treasuryXL |

Treasury is a function which entails many different roles and responsibilities. The main task is to monitor and manage the cash within a company ensuring there is sufficient liquidity. This means monitoring all the cash flows – both inflow and outflow, together with the sources of the flows – current operations, investments, borrowing etc. There must be enough liquidity to maintain the daily operations, whilst excess funds need to be invested. At the same time, Treasury must ensure that excess funds are invested in a safe and prudent manner and that future assets and liabilities are hedged where appropriate.

It has been said many times over – for a company cash can be compared to blood in the body or oil in an engine. Without it, a company ceases to be. When liquidity management is properly exercised, it allows a company to establish the maximum benefit from its cash flow, for the minimum of expenditure.

So, what happens to a company when liquidity management is not implemented?

  • Cash tied up in operational processes
  • Unable to define the bank balance
  • Difficulty in managing the existing bank accounts
  • Impossible to project cash flow forecasts accurately
  • Volatility in actual cash flow versus expected cash flow
  • Reconciliation is a time-consuming process
  • Inability to optimize the cash flow for working capital
  • Lack of agreed procedures for risk management, hedging policies and cash management
  • Banks are averse to lending the company money as there is a lack of control
  • Failure to comply with operational, accounting and governmental regulations
  • Difficulty in funding internal operations and investments

Advantages of liquidity management

  • Improved cash flow
  • Awareness of all bank balances
  • Ability to aggregate bank balances efficiently
  • Internal investment and funding operations for subsidiaries
  • Reduction in external borrowings
  • Faster payment of creditors
  • Optimization of working capital
  • Netting and cash concentrations can be applied
  • A heightened appreciation and recognition of cash within the company
  • Less reliance on short term external funding to meet day-to-day needs
  • Increase in profits
  • Increase in efficiency within the whole business cycle
  • Staff can devote more time to projects and procedures that have a higher value
  • Able to implement and monitor agreed risk policies

Designing and implementing liquidity management

  • Inspect and document existing procedures
  • Discover the short falls and dangers
  • Design specific procedures to enhance and capture the processes
  • Create an action plan and implement
  • Review constantly

Everything needs to be documented and signed off by the directors – it must be a policy. One of the greatest – if not the greatest – dangers for a company is not being able to forecast and maintain liquidity. However, in many companies the policy is only lightly enforced. Difficulties in forecasting cash flow are well known and documented, but the consequences are potentially very severe. It should be part of the monthly management reporting cycle and critically observed. Where necessary, actions need to be taken by the directors to ensure that the whole company is aware of the liquidity risks and procedures.

Next: Risk Management

Lionel Pavey

 

Lionel Pavey

Cash Management and Treasury Specialist

 

Five points to consider when choosing your payment system

| 05-10-2016 | TIS | Sponsored content |

photo-1430417934865-589b63ad5c00

Transparency, reduced risks – and a one million euro saving per year

The payment processes in corporations and internationally active companies are more complex than you might think at first glance – and they are unclear and non-transparent virtually everywhere. This complexity results from the branched company structure and the consequent variety of banking arrangements maintained at central HQ and out in the branch offices and subsidiaries. Various currencies, formats and security keys present an obstacle to unitary, standardized payment processes and an overall view of bank transactions.

Intelligent payment systems in the cloud can remedy this situation: they improve transparency over payment processes, reduce costs and risks and form the basis for better company decision-making. In the typical scenario of an internationally active company they easily contribute annual savings of one million euros.

Download the executive briefing.

 

Managing interest rate and liquidity risk

| 06-09-2016 | Rob Söentken |

skyscrapertxl

 

Funding is one of the key focus areas of a treasurer. There are numerous dimensions to funding:
1. Assessing amount and timing of cashflows
2. Arranging access to funding
3. Developing and implementing hedging policy
4. Optimizing funding cost and risk

Assessing amount and timing of cashflows

Assessing the amount and timing of cashflows is a continuous process. Because needs can change both in short and long term.

Arranging access to funding

Matching funding needs with supply from financial institutions is also a continuous process. The typical approach would be to match tenors, but immediate access to cash is critical for the survival of any entity. It could be considered to arrange longer term financing, even for short term (revolving) funding needs. The downside is that long term access is more expensive than short term access. This may be acceptable, but if the spread between borrowing and lending excess cash is too wide, it will become very unattractive to borrow for long tenors.

Developing and implementing hedging policy

To ensure the treasurer works within the boundaries of his mandate, he has to develop a hedging policy which must be documented (‘on paper’) and approved by his management. The document should describe the whole area of funding, to ensure both the creation and hedging of risks are described.

Optimizing funding cost and risk

The main focus drifts towards reducing funding cost. The funding market typically has a steep cost curve, meaning that rates are higher for longer tenors. This results from a steep ‘risk free’ curve and / or from a steep ‘credit spread’ curve. Which often brings entities to borrow for the cheapest tenor possible, being monthly, weekly or even overnight funding. Funding for very short tenors creates the considerable risk that can cause a company to run into a liquidity crisis, in case access to funding disappears. How to deal with this dilemma?

The best approach is to define a number of scenarios to assess the impact of combinations of financing and hedging on funding and risk. A base scenario could be to finance all funding needs using overnight loans. In case of liquidity problems, what would be the impact on the funding rates? Another scenario would be using quarterly funding or yearly rollover funding, potentially combined with:

  • money market futures
  • interest rate swaps
  • caps / floors
  • bond futures or even
  • credit derivatives

What are the incremental funding cost? What are incremental operational expenses of running various products? Can the entity deal with managing margin requirements? Is the entity aware of the basis risks involved when using credit derivatives, which are fairly complex products?

Rob Soentken

 

 

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader