In 2019, Serrala met several times with senior treasurer and finance professionals to discuss key trends and topics that impact their profession as well as their daily business. This blog summarizes the hot topics shaping the future of treasury.
Topic 1: New solutions need to fit into existing IT landscapes
While new digital transformation technologies are evolving, the main question for corporate treasurers remains: How to combine new solutions with existing IT landscapes and strategies to manage treasury transformation?
Typically, treasurers have to work with multiple solutions including electronic banking systems, trading portals, treasury management software, and risk analysis tools. The challenge is to bring information from all these different sources into a holistic and structured view. This data must also be able to be broken down into different aggregation levels for the users. In many cases, it seems that existing enterprise systems are ignored. Yet, they are an important source for much of the data needed by treasurers – particularly, accounts receivable and payable data. This operational data feeds cash flow forecasting, FX and IR risk management reports, and enables them to make well-founded strategic decisions.
Hence, treasurers should look into flexible solutions. New technology should fit into existing system landscapes and, ideally, enhance the features of the enterprise solutions. This is why hybrid models enable treasurers to combine the best technology for their needs. Integrating both on-premise and cloud solutions enables treasurers to adapt solutions to the IT environment, so they can achieve the integrated and specialized processing capabilities and full visibility they need. Check out our In-house Banking solutions.
Topic 2: Only automate good processes
Robotic process automation (RPA) is ideal for automating repetitive, rule-based activities, such as cash application or invoice matching. However, to get the most out of automation, processes should be evaluated and, where necessary, streamlined and optimized before they are automated. Only use RPA to automate, structured and well-organized processes. Intelligent automation, which uses machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), is the next step after RPA.
Automation can significantly accelerate processes for treasurers and increase efficiency, but there are still a number of concerns:
- Be ready for automation: A fragmented system landscape and non-standardized processes are a challenge. These challenges need to be tackled if an organization wants to truly benefit from RPA and intelligent automation. By deploying solutions that integrate flexibly into the system landscape, processes can be harmonized despite a diversified IT infrastructure, paving the way to automation.
- Address the question of liability: Who takes care of the robot, especially if something goes wrong? This question needs to be answered by every company, but generally it can be said that processes should not be left in their entirety to the machine. It’s advisable to build circuit breakers into the process that allow for human intervention and ultimate control.
Next to that the overall responsibility for the RPA needs to be clear and well communicated to ensure that the “black box” stays up to date and in line with future requirements.
- Lifting the black box: Solutions need to allow flexibility. Key users need to be able to adjust the robot ― this is crucial to meet security and audit requirements.
Topic 3: It’s more than just about the ROI
Creating a business case to introduce treasury solutions is demanding. The return on investment (ROI) is typically less observable than in other finance process areas. Therefore, the business case needs to look beyond the obvious and take the wider IT and business strategies into account. Reducing risk exposures is one of the key arguments for a modern treasury management system (TMS). It can integrate all data into a central view of company-wide cash, automate processes, provide status updates, and simplify analytics and reporting to ensure treasurers receive the accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information needed and last but not least it reduces fraud and supports compliance.
Are you interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about our automated solutions for treasury.
Summary of key points
By taking a holistic approach, corporate treasury can address the above challenges and achieve the desired results. Advanced and flexible solutions that easily combine existing infrastructures – on-premise, cloud, and hybrid models – into one system help drive the digital transformation needed to stay ahead of the curve.