Why Digitalized Bank Connectivity is the Key to Optimizing Cash Deployment
Companies that can identify and use cash with confidence can now leverage liquidity as an asset for strategic value creation. It’s a competitive advantage that has often been overlooked, or not available, but which due to advances in digitized bank connectivity is now becoming a reality. How an organization moves, manages, stores and protects cash has costs, benefits and risks, as with any other asset. As Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, has said, “There’s no question that liquidity is sacrosanct.” Today, many leading firms realize they can now treat liquidity as an asset and use it as a market weapon.
Corporate liquidity management practices are today faced with many “new normals”, shaped by increasingly frequent liquidity disruptions, given recent financial, geopolitical, trade and public health crises. These factors are compounded by demands for access to new financial and payment channels; more sophisticated fraud tactics and demands from business to scale to new regions and currencies better, faster and cheaper. Not being able to actively manage liquidity is to lose sight of a key asset: cash on hand, as PwC estimates that 25% of cash held by companies is not visible to finance.
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The legacy approach of creating unique and individual links between an enterprise’s internal ERP systems, trading platforms and banks made it impossible to generate the holistic view required to support the optimization of cash. This disconnected approach resulted in isolated liquidity pools and limited business success. Worse, the creation of unique deployments for every bank or payment system was costly and time consuming. But innovative and compelling liquidity management solutions now address those challenges and meet changing business needs.
It is therefore now time to reimagine the bank connectivity approach as one that can simplify daily operations and enable next-generation enterprise liquidity management. The solution now exists that integrates all aspects of the process using consistent interfaces and APIs, and delivers not only new thinking, but a new approach to technology services to support it.
The Next Generation for Optimizing Liquidity: Bank Connectivity as a Service
The limitations of legacy approaches are so severe that a new digital service for delivering enterprise liquidity management must be a high-priority project. Organizations that stick to the old ways will be compromised. For example, the ability to stop fraud and implement payment control would be greatly curtailed, given that a recent survey by the Association for Financial Professionals found that 81% of organizations had been targets of payment fraud.
Furthermore, business agility is impossible when it takes three to nine months to connect the organization to a bank. The most promising way forward is to enable a connectivity-as-a-service approach for all aspects of providing consistent, holistic, documented and secure liquidity management. This allows the enterprise to connect all its liquidity partners quickly and robustly and more easily adapt liquidity providers as needs change.
Cloud Resilience & API’s
To optimize liquidity, organizations need to deploy a service that has been designed with a modern technology foundation. The use of cloud platforms for this as-a-service model is at the heart of the approach, because it allows the enterprise to match usage and spending. In addition, many IT infrastructure tasks, such as resiliency, backup, security and system management, are done by the service provider. This allows the internal IT team to focus on delivering the highest possible value.
Next-generation solutions also use APIs and prebuilt integrations to greatly simplify linking different aspects of the overall system. In this case, it could mean linking enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and trading platforms much more quickly and accurately. The use of consistent and documented APIs and integrations not only saves a great deal of setup time, but also makes future changes simple to implement and eliminate manual errors. Connectivity as a service is enabled by simplified integration and interactions.
Figure 1. A multitude of payment channels available to corporate – with more launch in 2021
Another key feature of modern as-a-service solutions is that data is unified and stored in one place, making it possible to derive much more useful intelligence from it using analytic tools such as artificial intelligence. As banking platforms change and banks roll out new requirements for how they will receive formatted files, a central depository of up-to-date bank specs relieves corporate IT from needing to follow, build and test these ever-changing bank formats. Finally, a modern platform includes all necessary applications or solutions in one platform. For liquidity optimization, this includes treasury, risk, payments and working capital management.
The benefits of using a best-in-class offering that delivers liquidity connectivity as a service are compelling. For one, there are significant shortterm cost savings, starting with a reduction in the cost of onboarding a bank. Based on its experience working with customers and partners, Kyriba has found that the cost typically ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. But this can be reduced by well over 50% using Kyriba’s established and proven banks links and its modern as-a-service solution. Speed and the attendant agility to modify or create net new integrations also improve. With this type of platform, enterprises’ time to production is also two to three times faster.
Figure 2. Payment volumes increasing with increased digitization of transactions
A significant reduction in fraud and misdirected payments is now possible, since a cohesive view and comprehensive reporting make it much easier to identify potential problems and remediate them. Further, with a documented set of integrations and stronger process, the chance for mistakes that lead to fraud is nearly eliminated. With a comprehensive data set, enterprises can easily analyze liquidity flows to optimize them. Gone are the days of manually integrating disparate spreadsheets.
Such information will also deliver the insights organizations need to make changes that improve liquidity and allow them to use it more effectively. The value of a single source of truth about liquidity provided by this type of service is impossible to ignore.
From a business operations perspective, having connectivity as a service as the digital foundation enables enterprises to:
- Make strategic plans for the use of cash enterprise-wide
- Provide businesses with an agile banking platform to efficiently add and remove new banking partners, while minimizing the burden on IT resources
- Optimize the cost of bank fees
- Determine the best payment channels to use, based on specific scenarios
- Centralize fraud management
- Provide a foundation for meeting regulatory and compliance issues
However, without a comprehensive solution that tracks all liquidity, benefits are much more limited. Resultant blind spots don’t just impact the liquidity not tracked by the system; they impact all liquidity as well. With only a partial implementation, treasurers are still flying blind.
Enterprise Liquidity Management
As successful, modern enterprises implement new services and technologies to optimize every element of their business, attention is now increasingly focused on liquidity management. Legacy processes for doing this worked well in the last millennium, but every organization looking for an edge is now taking the next steps to achieve enterprise liquidity management. New services, such as Kyriba’s Active Liquidity Network, provide those capabilities and insights that were not possible using legacy practices.
With an underlying service that brings a consistent and holistic view to all aspects of liquidity, organizations are empowered to optimize it as never before. This comprehensive perspective allows them to maximize liquidity across all banks, payment processors and the treasury. And using this data, organizations can make better long-term decisions, positioning themselves for the future.
What’s more, these new capabilities reduce the time needed to add new banks or processors and dramatically reduce the costs of doing so. IT teams can now be much more responsive and better able to help the CFO have confidence in getting things done.
Check out this webinar to learn how Treasury and IT worked together at Hilton Grand Vacations with Kyriba to speed up connecting more than 10 banks and 300 bank accounts to improve cash and liquidity management.