27th Feb 2020

How optimising your back-office can boost productivity in Finance & Treasury

Corporate finance and treasury teams have historically been under-served by technological advancements.

It was the advent of the computer that was the real, game-changer. And though machines have evolved to become faster, more agile, and feature-rich; some core challenges remain largely unaddressed in Treasury & Finance. Until now.

Currently, technology-resistant finance and treasury teams manage capital across various systems. Which means they:

  • Are over-reliant on spreadsheets
  • Must handle an array of pass codes,
  • Are only able to acquire comprehensive cash visibility at certain times of the day (if at all)
  • Use a fragmented payments infrastructure, and waste hours each week on repetitive, data transfer tasks.

In this piece, we’re going to look at some of the essential tools that treasury and finance rely on, and how technological innovation is allowing these tools to connect – not just to each other – but to the banks as well. Plus, how these long-standing gaps are being filled to ultimately help unlock the true potential of modern finance & treasury functions.

Common friction points of financial technology

There are numerous systems used across Finance & Treasury which simplify and quicken data-driven processes.

For instance, both Treasury Managements Systems and ERP solutions (i.e. Oracle, SAP) perform crucial financial tasks that would otherwise require significant manual resource to obtain the same information.

Though these types of systems share features which enhance departmental capabilities, they also share a common problem:

These systems stand isolated from the rest of the organisation’s financial infrastructure and neither assimilate with technology used by the banks.

Enter the integrator

Whichever tools are in your financial technology stack, the chances are that considerable investment has gone into implementing them to fit within that stack as much as possible.

Such investment demands that the technology delivers to its full potential, but 99.999% of software out there is only as good as what you put in to it

and for that to happen, it must become fully integrated within the overall financial infrastructure.

Step in the Financial Integration Platform.

The most immediate benefit of a Financial Integration Platform for Treasurers is streamlining of processes.

Teams that take advantage of a financial integration platform are able to connect ERP / TMS tools to the banks to reduce payment processing times, automate statement retrievals and build financial workflows to regain control over their organisation’s financial data.

Connecting different back-office systems in this way allows teams to: a) communicate with data more effectively and b) follow consistent processes across different systems.

Meanwhile, those using TMS can transform statement messages from their banks into TMS ready files before piping them back towards the TMS and other back-office systems for reconciliation. As well as providing operational improvements to TMS and ERP, Integration Platforms also ramp up security by removing the risks of fraud and error associated with manual extraction of files.

So, whether your goal is to tighten up payments security, reduce processing times and fraud risk, improve financial reporting and liquidity access, or centralise operations, an Integration Platform which connects your TMS or ERP to your banks is the gateway to achieving that goal.

Other back office systems

Aside from ERP and TMS, payroll and CRM systems also perform vital tasks within the contemporary Treasurer’s inventory.

Leading payroll Integration Platforms connect businesses to any payment scheme or bank worldwide, allowing flexibility when it comes to payroll processing and ensures the workforce are paid correctly and on time, wherever they are in the world or whoever they bank with.

Payroll Integration Platforms also protect staff by allowing users the ability to automate payments through multiple payment schemes and banks whilst restricting access to sensitive payroll data and masking beneficiary details. By integrating a payroll system with an Integration Platform, the risk of file tampering and potential fraud is removed as the need for manual input of payroll data into a banking portal or payments application is eliminated.

Businesses can also manage workflow and approvals centrally by setting up feeds from connected payroll systems and providers.

Likewise, CRM Integration Platforms offer an array of features which enhance the tool’s potential. Users can centralise payment and collection processing, cash visibility, analytics and reporting into one platform. Payment and reconciliation processing times are reduced, workflows and alerts can be used to control access and user actions, and the risks associated with manually extracting and processing payments and collection files are eradicated.

A secure, scalable finance & treasury operation starts with bank connectivity

Banking is notoriously complex. Forecasting, payment execution, cash and liquidity management and regulatory reporting all require the use of multiple banks, separate teams, fragmented processes and different systems. Organisations that have made significant investment into ERP, TMS, CRM and Payroll systems often find that the data and processes they require to operate effectively are not accessible because the systems do not connect directly to banks. Integration Platforms facilitate the integration of back-office systems with banking networks and deliver a truly secure, scalable finance operating model.