Bank Connectivity, what you don’t know can hurt

By Kyriba

The selection process of a Treasury Management Solution (TMS) is a multi-layered process. What RFP questions should you ask? What features should you request to see in a product demo?

Look Beyond Product Demos

One of the most important, and where many decisions are made, is the product demonstration. The product demo is a snapshot into what the TMS offers. It is human nature to focus solely on the functionality reviewed during the demonstrations.

Ensuring that the functionality meets your business needs is critical. However, there is more to the decision than the demonstration alone. Even if the product demonstration appears to be impressive, it is still essential to ask about critical elements that contribute to the functionality of your product. Doing so can help you identify potential shortcomings or gaps in the system that may impact your operations down the road.

There are several factors that should be considered in connection with the demoed functionality, in order to ascertain the overall value of a vendor.  Many services, such as customer-service ability, product-enhancement history, vendor viability, technology and security, are all integral characteristics of a best-in-class TMS provider, and should be part of the final decision to select a vendor.

Enhanced RFP Questions for Bank Connectivity

Bank Connectivity is one of the critical services that should be discussed with your vendor.  The ability to connect to your banks, and automatically send and receive pertinent information is at the heart of a platform offering.  When this foundational connectivity service is limited, it does not matter how impressive the functionality is. In lieu of robust bank connectivity, your TMS functionality will be impaired.

In the TMS space, not all connectivity offerings are created equal.  As a result, simply asking vendors, “Can your system connect with my banks?” is not a sufficient question to uncover the pitfalls of an inadequate solution.

In addition to the standard RFP questions from the AFP, we recommend the following “enhanced” set of questions be included in your RFP to ascertain the real capabilities and limitations of a treasury management solution vendor or third-party bank connectivity module:

1.       Do you manage your own connectivity or do you outsource your solution?

2.       Do you manage SWIFT BICs on behalf of your clients, or do you outsource this service?

3.       If you outsource your connectivity, what service provider(s) do you use?  If there is a different connectivity provider based on the connectivity type (i.e. SWIFT, host-to-host, Zengin, etc.), please list all providers and respond to the following questions for each provider.

4.       What protocols and formats do you offer for bank-polling connectivity?  If all, or part, of your connectivity solution is outsourced, please provide the protocols and formats by outsource vendor.

5.       What protocols and formats do you offer for bank-payments connectivity?  If all, or part, of your connectivity solution is outsourced, please provide the protocols and formats by outsource vendor.

6.       What SWIFT connectivity do you support? What is your recommendation?

7.       How does the contracting processes work for connectivity?

8.       If there is a problem with bank statements, who is responsible for resolving the problem?

9.       Does your SOC 2 Type II cover your connectivity solution?

10.   Do you proactively monitor the bank connections?

11.   Does your pricing include the bank connectivity or just your software?

Making a Wise Investment in the Right TMS

Asking a comprehensive set of questions is crucial when it comes to evaluating a TMS for your business. By understanding the scope and range of these questions, you can identify potential challenges that may arise in the future and ensure that your team is well-equipped to handle them.

If the article has generated additional questions that were not addressed, or if you want to learn more about bank connectivity, we encourages you to contact us or request a connectivity demo. This is an opportunity to engage with experts in the field and gain a deeper understanding of how to select the right system for your current and future business needs.