By François Masquelier, CEO of SimplyTREASURY.
These days, the buzz words in treasury are “Treasury-on-Demand”, which means how to get the next level and generate automated reporting faster, better, and more reliably.
These days, the buzz words in treasury are “Treasury-on-Demand”, which means how to get the next level and generate automated reporting faster, better, and more reliably. A CFO (as well as a CIO) have some difficulties to understand why a TMS, for example, the major backbone of a treasury organization would not be able to produce what he/she expects in terms of financial and treasury reporting. It rather simple: generic solutions in treasury, although sometime “best-of-breed’s” are shaped and designed to satisfy basic needs, normal treasury requirements and are therefore so generic that they are not fit to be adapted to extra-needs, even if some claim to have self-dashboarding and self-reporting functions. When there are holes in the IT architecture, a treasurer usually first (over-)use XL spreadsheets and sometimes start considering an extra-layer to generate what cannot be generated in the classic tools. If I wanted to dare a comparison and an image, I would say it is not because you buy a car that it can be driven on every type of ground and in every type of weather conditions. What is missing is the link between all existing tools and sum of data to produce what a treasurer needs automatically. If it is not automated, XL would be enough to fulfil requirements. If you want robust tool and reliable data, you will need something more elaborate and build.
Treasury Processes Automation (TPA)
We could qualify such tools a “Intelligent Treasury (and Finance) Process Automation” (ITPA) or more simply “Treasury Processes Automation” (TPA) solutions. These tools should digitalize, sanitize and aggregate internal and external relevant pieces of information, from several sources, to automate tasks that are still very much manual, like reconciliation, cash allocation, payment orchestration, detailed booking, cost control, regulatory and compliance reporting, or cash-flow forecasting, IFRS reports, stress-testing scenario, etc. among others. People like to name it “hyper-automation” of treasury. The idea is to re-engineer broken financial and accounting processes to avoid manual data crunching. If the word “intelligent” is referred to, it is because these systems are much smarter and robust than RPA, and uses Digital Contracts, Machine Learning and AI. The benefits for a treasurer are real-time access to reliable data, accurate reporting, the ability to focus on taking the right decisions, scalability of operations, but also the ability for them to deploy very quickly (ideally at a modest cost compared to tweaking their existing ERP or other treasury solutions).
Need of (more) treasury automation crystalized by COVID
Today, there are systems as sort of industrial strength platform (Platform as a Service) that can be used via a set of public APIs and/or dedicated micro-services. These providers, like Fennech for example, plan to deliver “off-the-shelf” advanced (although affordable) treasury services for medium size companies. Such platforms must be completely agnostic about Payment Service Providers their clients use, PSP’s or Banks. They tend to offer comprehensive pre- and post-payment platform that overlays and complements existing IT stack like ERP’s, Payment Factories, CRM’s or TMS’s. They ensure that all non-added-value tasks performed by humans on XL, for instance, are fully automated. One of the very few positive aspects that the current health crisis has demonstrated is how important it is to have access to reliable data in real-time and robust processes to continue operating wherever people are and on whatever device, within a secured and controlled environment. Treasurers (bit also CFO’s) have been much more receptive to what such Fintech’s are offering. There is a momentum never seen before, despite the cost cutting and high pressure on staff reduction. The homeworking will survive the crisis in a moderate proportion and plead for more robust tools, with higher internal controls and automation to mitigate risks of errors and frauds. The magic of such solutions is to provide the oil that make the whole treasury recipe successful. They are the missing piece, the missing link that will completely change the whole treasury organization and make it more performing.
Publié le 26 mars 2021