Streamlining Spencer Stuart’s Cash & Payments Management
Treasury departments at global organizations need cutting-edge technology to ensure that all their payments and cash management needs are handled efficiently. Companies that are still using manual processes will only find their duties more taxing as demands increase.
In a KyribaLive 2022 panel session, presented by Elire, Spencer Stuart International (SSI) discussed how implementing Kyriba allowed the executive search and leadership consulting firm to streamline its payments and cash needs across 20 countries. The session also explored the key role that their implementation partner Elire played in the process.
Key Challenges and Objectives
SSI’s treasury team’s primary objective was to have one process and one place to view and manage its cash, explained David Wartner, Senior Vice President and Treasurer for SSI. In 2020, the company replaced its legacy ERP system, which it had in place for 20-plus years. Treasury needed a conduit to better connect its new Workday ERP system with its accounts, which were distributed across multiple jurisdictions and bank platforms.
Getting to that point would take some time. Prior to implementing Kyriba, SSI had no automated treasury solutions in place. So, treasury enlisted Elire to craft an implementation plan to coincide with the Workday implementation, which was already underway. “Our change process consisted of moving away from manual processes,” Wartner said. “Our challenge was related to how quickly we could leverage the new technology and application.”
Prior to the integration, SSI had 23 different banking platforms and 101 bank accounts. Each bank had different security features and tokens, making for very onerous login processes. “Even as a treasurer, I had eight separate bank tokens for access to just a portion of our platform,” Wartner said. “One of the banks, which I’ll keep nameless, required me to literally type 38 keystrokes between the interface and the tokens just to check the balance.”
Furthermore, treasury was forced to monitor the status of both credit and debit payments manually on multiple bank portals. And if a payment failed, someone on the team would need to contact a bank representative to check the status.
Partnering with Elire
Colin McAlpine, SaaS Treasury Practice Lead for Elire, provided an overview of how Spencer Stuart and Elire worked together on the implementation process. The first phase of the project, which took place in February 2020, involved several meetings between Elire and SSI to ensure that the project would cover all areas that needed to be addressed. “The key part of any project is to make sure that there are design sessions that are done up front to understand what those pain points are and the business requirements that are needed to resolve them,” he said.
For example, having separate logins for all of the banks and excessive numbers of keystrokes was certainly something Elire wanted to help SSI improve upon. So, during these design sessions, the Elire team made sure to show SSI Treasury how payments would fully integrate into Kyriba and move on to the banks without actually needing manual approval. “Those discussions were done through the design sessions to ensure Kyriba was configured to the requirements of SSI,” he said.
Following the workshops, Elire was able to establish a base timeline for the project and then move on to the next phases. The second phase was the “configuration” stage and involved connecting all of the banks to Kyriba, which took place between March and April 2020. Phase three was in May 2020 and consisted of user training and system testing. Phase four, in which the system went live, took place between June and July 2020.
From there, it was time to transition to Kyriba support, but Elire was still involved. “When we went live, not only did we transition to Kyriba support, but Elire was still there to actually stabilize that go live,” McAlpine said. “We made sure we were around on a daily basis to support SSI through all of their modules and their requirements.”
Kyriba provides SSI with a single point of access for all 101 of its accounts. It provides one security access profile per user with single sign-on authentication, allowing users to log in with one user ID and password. This is a far cry from needing different credentials to access each bank.
By simply opening Kyriba’s dashboard, Wartner can get full access to his balances, as well as view activity on a single account, a single bank, or a custom group of accounts. “This trending information is excellent for our cash positioning and forecasting at the high level or the detailed level,” he said.
As noted earlier, Treasury wanted to drastically simplify processes, with Workday as its control point. Any payments or payment modifications are made in Workday and initiated through Kyriba. Kyriba’s payment monitoring dashboard also enables visibility into payment files as they go to the banks. Treasury receives real-time acknowledgment files, providing the team with confidence about the status of payments.
Cash Forecasting Improvements
Neill Bhatt, Treasury Analyst for SSI, weighed on how adopting Kyriba allowed for vast improvements in cash forecasting. Prior to the implementation, he used Excel-based cash models, performed manual updates daily, and worked with multiple sources and systems.
“We tracked all information related to our account on an Excel spreadsheet,” he said. “It required a tremendous amount of manual effort to keep our data up to date. In dire circumstances, we needed the help of our bank account representatives to pull the data for us that we couldn’t see on these bank portals.”
Under the old process, building out a cash forecast for one of SSI’s subsidiaries would take over three hours. Bhatt was constantly putting the forecast together at the last minute because he needed to access multiple bank accounts to retrieve the account balances in real time
Now, with Kyriba, Bhatt is able to visualize all account balances on one dashboard, in real time. “Kyriba allows me to pull balances and transactional activity down quickly and efficiently, providing our treasury team with a credible forecast with one version of the truth,” Bhatt said.
Furthermore, Kyriba’s cash positioning dashboard allows Bhatt to customize cash trend views by day, week, month, etc. This provides him with the ability to observe SSI’s data at a macro or a granular level.
Lastly, Kyriba’s dashboard flexibility has allowed treasury to separately group its corporate subsidiary and offshore accounts. “We can then dynamically filter on these bucketed dashboards to see activity and balances with ultimate customizability,” Bhatt said.
One Single Process
All in all, SSI’s implementation of Kyriba, with Elire’s assistance and guidance, has been a resounding success. The treasury team sought to simplify its payments and cash management processes while integrating with the company’s new ERP system, and it has done so—in a relatively short period of time. “Workday, connecting through Kyriba, provides us with that single process,” Wartner said. “Kyriba’s interface provides us with quick access to multiple bank accounts and forecasts—also known as our single version of the truth.”
Elire Inc. is a Kyriba Platinum Partner and supports multiple Kyriba implementation projects.