30th Mar 2022

Here’s Why NetSuite Users Should Automate Bank Statement Feeds

According to a recent study, 50% of businesses are planning to acquire or upgrade an ERP system soon – and NetSuite continues to be among the most popular.

Its worth has long been recognised across countless industries, boasting functionalities spanning from sophisticated financial management to supply chain organisation.

While NetSuite does an admirable job at unifying your business’s workflows, there’s room for improvement when it comes to banking operations.

Like any back-office system, NetSuite doesn’t natively connect to your banking estate. This means that manual intervention remains a necessity, especially when it comes to bank feeds.

Bank feeds play a vital role in banking operations of any size, allowing for visibility of your company-wide cash position.

Many senior finance and treasury professionals don’t yet realise, however, that there’s a solution for simplifying all processes surrounding bank feeds: automation.

The concept of receiving banking data in near-real-time may sound out of reach, but you’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t. Far from it, in fact.

Here’s why NetSuite users should automate their bank statement feeds, and how best to do it.

 

The Benefits of Automating Bank Feeds

Manually retrieving bank feeds is a faff – we all know it.

Not only does it eat up your precious time when you could be working on more mission-critical tasks, but this lack of timeliness renders them less helpful than they should be.

And the more complex your banking operations, the more important bank feeds become – but the chances of receiving them at a helpful time diminishes.

For example, many Netsuite users conduct banking operations based on bank feed data that is between 30 and 60 days old, meaning your global cash position is, at best, guesswork.

By automating bank statement feeds, you can get access to the latest data instantly.

The advantages of this are two-fold and can be broken down into benefits that are immediate and longer-term.

 

virtual-tubes-symbolising-statement-retrieval

Many finance and treasury professionals simply accept the retrieval of bank feeds to be an arduous process. With automation, this doesn’t have to be the case.

 

Short-Term Benefits:

Upon the implementation of a cloud-based service such as AccessPay’s, it won’t take long until your team – and wider business – begin to benefit from automating bank feeds.

You can expect to see:

  • A dramatic reduction in manual processes
  • Increased productivity and output as your team can work on value-added tasks
  • A subsequent boost in team morale
  • An immediate increase in cash visibility and data, allowing for more fruitful reporting

 

Long-Term Benefits:

The extra time and visibility granted by automation mean that you can reap the rewards from a number of benefits that’ll likely come further down the line, such as:

  • The ability to better strategise and forecast thanks to your newfound insights and time
  • The possibility of investing and spending cash more smartly
  • More accurate reports that can be presented to the C-suite
  • A long-term saving thanks to the hours saved on manual processes – money that can then be reinvested into the company
  • Drastically reduced risk, removing the potential for manipulated statement data
  • A reduced exposure to cyber risk and fraud stemming from the removal of banking portal logins

 

How Do You Automate Bank Statement Feeds?

As mentioned, NetSuite doesn’t offer up a method of natively downloading bank feeds, meaning they need to be manually downloaded from each bank.

While you might be wondering why this is such an issue – despite the benefits of automation listed above – real problems can arise when banking operations increase in complexity.

And, as we enter a period of post-pandemic growth and your company’s ambitions begin to scale accordingly, there’s every chance that your finance and treasury teams will be bearing the brunt of this change, no matter the industry.

Your current workflow probably sounds something like this.

You manually log in to each of your associated banks – this could be as few as one or two or as many as 30 – and retrieve your bank feeds. Then, given that the files are spat out in a variety of formats, you’ll spend some time transforming them so that they’re NetSuite-suitable. Only then are you finally able to upload them to NetSuite.

After coming to the realistion that automation is a no-brainer for bank feeds, the next decision worth undertaking is how best to achieve it.

Many businesses opt for a DIY solution. It can have its advantages, but ultimately it isn’t ideal. Let’s break down the options for enabling automation in a little more detail.

 

Using Host-to-Host Connections

Host-to-host connections – sometimes simply known as direct bank connections – are certainly a popular method of integrating your banking estate with NetSuite.

They allow for fully-automated, high-volume data transfers, cutting much of the complication involved in statement retrieval.

The question of whether host-to-host connections are suitable for your business boils down to your requirements. If you’re simply after connecting to one or two primary banks, then they might be ideal. However, complications can arise for multinational businesses that have, say, 30 banks to connect to.

If you do opt to go down the host-to-host route, attempting these connections yourself still isn’t best.

Setting them up requires time, effort, and resources that could be better spent on a specialist who could establish these links for you.

 

map-of-the-world-showcasing-bank-connections

For NetSuite users with complex banking operations, retrieving bank statement feeds becomes increasingly important. DIY fixes will likely struggle to account for this, given their cost and complexity.

 

Using SWIFT

The alternative is using SWIFT for bank statement automation.

This is the option most specialists would use, and remains a reliable choice. However, the difference is that doing it yourself requires a series of audit costs.

Automating bank feeds through SWIFT risks being a lengthy procedure, especially if your business doesn’t yet have access to a BIC.

 

Using AccessPay for Automating Bank Feeds

Outsourcing the automation of bank feed retrieval to a specialist might sound like a costly or time-consuming option, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here at AccessPay, we’d conduct your statement retrieval via SWIFT, too – the difference is that we already have a BIC.

In other words, there’s no need for you to worry about all those extra charges and audits, giving you peace of mind with a pain-free and cost-effective solution.

If it’s host-to-host connections that would work best for you, we can offer those without the tedium of setting them up yourself.

There are a number of other issues often encountered by those who venture down the DIY route, too.

Firstly, it’s reliant upon the in-house IT expertise to not only build the relevant connections, but adequately maintain them, too.

Not only this, but sending MT940s typically requires two-factor authentication, which isn’t provided, for example, by NetSuite’s inbuilt reconciliation tool.

Luckily for you, our solution offers multi-factor authentication – in addition to handling file transformation for you.

And, best of all, our integration can be as loud or as minimal as you’d like.

Need a more consultative approach to help determine what’s best for you when it comes to automating bank feeds? No problem. Simply need a silent integrator without the need for another banking portal, allowing you to keep everything centralized in NetSuite? We’ve got you covered.

All in all, the case for automating bank statement feed retrieval has never been clearer – and NetSuite users have several possible avenues of achieving it. If you’re looking to futureproof your banking operations, modernising your approach to bank feeds with AccessPay is a great start.