To prevent monetary loss and reputation damage, finance and treasury professionals need to become proactive when it comes to reducing payment fraud and error in their corporate finance operations.
This is particularly true when it comes to the processing of international and domestic payments, which are often time-consuming and needlessly stressful.
With different systems, banks, and an over-reliance on people, it’s a responsibility than can feel overwhelming.
The answer lies in prevention, detection και response to security threats, as well as centralised control over the security of users, systems, and applications.
With numerous data sources, as well as multiple banking portals and back-office systems, an ability to review user data is vital, as is the ability to centrally control management of access across these systems.
Human Error in Corporate Finance Operations – What’s the Risk?
We’re glad you asked.
When people think about human-based security risks in corporate finance operations, maliciousness springs to mind.
It’s easy to envisage the archetypal cyber hacker, clad in a balaclava or Anonymous mask, rooting around your files as they come and go in an effort to ruin your day.
However, the truth is that most security issues faced by finance and treasury teams are simply caused by human error.
The numbers back this up – but it remains an area plagued by misconceptions.
The 2018 IT Risks Survey found that there were considerable discrepancies between the perceived importance of human errors and their actual impact.
In regards to data breaches, for example, the vast majority of the survey’s respondents (76%) presumed password sharing to be the most glaring security issue, and in terms of threat actors, a further 61% predicted hackers to be their largest concern.
In reality, password sharing is a genuine issue, as are hackers who represent an estimated 42% of the security threat, a much greater percentage of data breaches are caused by simple human error: 68%.
Of course, this doesn’t pertain directly to international payments, but is instead used to illustrate the overestimation of importance placed upon malicious fraud as opposed to genuine mistakes made by during corporate finance operations every day.
That’s not to say that payment fraud doesn’t exist; of course it does.
As aforementioned, prevention is an essential component of mitigating security threats. SWIFT note that “ensuring that the most effective and appropriate internal strategies and controls are in place will help protect your funds and your organisation”.
This is where Corporate-to-Bank Integration comes in.
The Role of Corporate-to-Bank Integration in Managing Security & Risk
Corporate-to-Bank Integration promotes the idea of straight-through-processing of payments and statements from your bank to your back-office.
In turn, this makes the actual process of exchanging payment files and statements a lot less manual, resulting in:
- Segregation between different entities and work-streams to ensure a walls-up approach to payment approvals
- Rationalization of bank accounts improves reconciliation, increases control of bank relationships and enables standardized payment initiation processes
- Enhanced regulatory compliance as the automated flow of payments & statement files between bank and back-office significantly reduces manual reconciliation and data aggregation. Furthermore, the flow of data is recorded in detailed audit trails and transaction reports for additional peace of mind.
These banking operations platforms give finance operations professionals the ability to manage user access, create workflow rules and user profiles for walls-up approval and submission of payments.
With one single point of entry and the capability to track user behaviour, and exception management, auditing and investigation times are reduced from hours to minutes.
What’s more, a single, centralised platform can be used for all payment types, statement retrievals and bank connections. One login, one password, no tokens, no paper.
By consolidating all bank access and transaction management into one system, treasurers can limit the requirement for individual bank portal access and reduce any security risk associated with logging into multiple banking portals.
For those in the professional services industry, where the organisation’s money must be segregated from the client’s and held in separate bank accounts, the ability to view these bank accounts and transactions side-by-side and across one platform is a formidable feature, especially when reporting and reconciling external client money.
Leading-edge Corporate-to-Bank Integration platforms boast bank-grade security and secure encryption of payments files ensure treasurers have confidence in the ability to shut out third party breaches.
Going further, proactive and pre-emptive flags highlight potentially fraudulent activity and erroneous transactions, meaning treasurers receive alerts automated and sent in real-time thus allowing an action to be taken immediately, or prevention of an event completely
For a closer look at an example of effective Corporate-to-Bank integration, have a read of our customer success stories or catch up on our Platform Showcase below.