Bray International’s Path to Cash Visibility
Bray International, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of flow control and automation products, was mired in spreadsheet chaos. With limited visibility into global cash positions, Bray found itself bogged down by inefficient processes.
During a session at Kyriba Live 2022, Morty Mandel, VP, director of finance for Bray, discussed how Kyriba helped his company achieve global visibility and standardized forecasting, resulting in significant gains in productivity.
Centralizing the Cash Position
Mandel began by explaining that, for many years, Bray didn’t have a treasury management strategy. Daily treasury functions were primarily handled by the accounting group. But by 2018, the company had grown to the point where it needed to break up its accounting and finance functions. This allowed for a greater focus on treasury management, liquidity management and bank relationship management.
Mandel, who headed up the newly formed treasury function, quickly recognized that he had very little visibility into Bray’s cash position. This made cash forecasting nearly impossible. “If you asked any of our divisions for a forecast, you would have gotten a different template of what their version of cash forecasting was,” he said.
Payments were equally complex. With operations all over the world, payment processing was handled at a local level by each individual group in the country where it operates and on whatever banking platform those groups used. This made things incredibly difficult for treasury to oversee those payments.
Mandel understood that treasury would need to organize and centralize Bray’s cash positions into a single platform, rather than going through multiple banking platforms to gather the necessary information.
Adopting a TMS
Mandel’s team decided to move forward with a treasury management system (TMS) and selected Kyriba. Kyriba was able to bring together all of Bray’s 140+ accounts and its network of about 30 total banks into the same platform.
Bray’s treasury team was also looking to a TMS to save time and effort. Mandel noted that, prior to the TMS implementation, management would make requests for cash visibility into certain countries where Bray operates. Answering those requests was very difficult and time consuming because it involved contacting many different employees all over the world. Often by the time the information was compiled, it was out of date.
Furthermore, having an unclear picture of Bray’s cash position created problems with financing, which Bray regularly obtains from its U.S.-based banks. To service its debt, the company relies on cash from all over the world—which was frequently trapped in other countries. That needed to change.
With Kyriba, Bray’s cash visibility was drastically improved. The company is now able to move its cash around between its divisions, much more efficiently, allowing the company to get cash back to the U.S. to service debt. “So, in the first year that we were with Kyriba, we were able to deleverage almost 30% of our outstanding debt,” Mandel said. “I attribute that strictly to being able to see our cash, understanding where it needed to be and getting it to the places where it needed to be.”
Standardized cash forecasting was another key component of improving cash visibility. Being able to forecast when different divisions would be able to be paid allowed for an even greater view of Bray’s overall cash position.
Bray has also made some headway in reducing bank relationships and accounts. “We’ve now been able to drop about five banks and consolidate some of our existing relationships,” Mandel said. “We’ve probably closed about 20 accounts and have our eyes on several more.”
Additionally, Bray achieved productivity gains of 97% by streamlining many reconciliation processes. Through automation, the company has been able to drastically reduce hours spent on cash accounting and GL reconciliation while also ensuring greater accuracy.
Beatriz Saldivar, global payment, ERP and treasury advisor for Kyriba, noted that ultimately, adopting Kyriba’s TMS created productivity gains across the entire organization. “It was more than your treasury and your finance team—it was also your accounting team and the overall company that benefited from not having to do all of the very tedious manual processes related to reconciliations,” she explained.
Visibility in the Pandemic
Perhaps the greatest testament to the efficiencies Kyriba provided was the overall lack of disruption Bray experienced once the COVID-19 pandemic began. Steven Otwell, director of payments and connectivity for Kyriba, noted that, in the early days of the pandemic, treasury departments were elevated at many companies as cash positions became an immediate concern.
But Bray was in good shape and nearly at full cash visibility prior to March 2020. This gave Mandel the confidence to provide accurate updates to his CFO and CEO and make decisions about what to do going forward. “When COVID hit and we all had to go remote, at that stage, we had our Kyriba dashboard and everything else lined up already,” Mandel said. “So, we were really able to work and go forward without any delays or hesitations.”
Following the success it experienced with cash visibility, Bray has now set its sights on centralizing payments and financial transactions. Treasury quickly saw that establishing payments connectivity to one of its banks through Kyriba was a quick and painless process. This contrasted heavily with the long and tedious processes when it previously connected the same bank to its ERP. That led the team to embrace using a payments factory, expanding this connectivity on a global basis.
“We want to automate the whole AP payment process from selection of invoices all the way to payment,” Mandel said. “What’s not automated at this stage is processing that payment from the ERP directly to the treasury bank, so that’s the next step we want to take. Creating those connections from our ERP to each of these other banks that we have would be very painful. So, we want to push that through and utilize Kyriba and their expertise in that area to make those connections for us.”