You wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to hang a picture on the wall, so why would you use a TMS if you’re trying to achieve cash visibility?
Okay my example may be a little extreme, but I’ve spoken to hundreds of treasury and finance professionals pre-COVID19 and I was often told the same thing:
“My operation isn’t big/complex enough to require a TMS”
For organisations with teams of one or two people, the manual task of logging into online banking portals can be a time consuming and mundane one, so in the grand scheme of things – this has never been too much of an onerous job.
So why are many organisations now turning to the TMS as their first venture in to treasury technology?
The reality is that the current climate has put cash visibility at the top of the agenda for finance, treasury and senior leadership teams everywhere.
I’ve seen a lot of TMS providers promoting “Cash Visibility” functionality as free add-ons or at discounted rates. And whilst offers like these may seem like a steal, I can’t help but wonder if adopting a TMS for the sole point of achieving cash visibility is a little excessive – even counterproductive.
If the feeling two months ago is that your organisation probably doesn’t need a TMS, then whilst the world has changed, I doubt your treasury team has changed so drastically to warrant such a huge investment.
From one Treasury professional to another…
To give you some context, I come from a Treasury Operations background. Before I joined the product team here at AccessPay, I worked for a Tier 1 bank where the technology of choice was always Excel and Online Banking
And whilst the Group Treasurer and traders did actively use a TMS, I didn’t once login to the system to complete my daily activities – nor would I want to.
My role was all about being as accurate and efficient as possible in positioning our cash, and I didn’t need a TMS to help me achieve either of those things.
Now it must be said that whilst my method of cash management wasn’t perfect, it provided key stakeholders with a high degree of visibility, whilst being a people intensive task due to the scale of our operation.
Cash Visibility to me was knowing exactly how much cash we had – not only first thing in the morning, but at the end of the day (prior to the currency deadlines).
It wasn’t my role to reconcile payments or worry about hedging of currencies, or any bank exposure we may have, my role was to know how much cash we had, and how much could be invested/borrowed when required. That was all the visibility I needed.
In a small finance team, logging into a single banking portal is more than manageable if you’re only looking for a balance update a couple of times a day.
But issues start to arise as soon as you have multiple banking relationships, and the figure you’re looking for is an aggregation of all of your balances. When a manual process such as this doesn’t scale well, you’re right to look to automate it.
Automation is your friend, but there’s no point swapping out one or more systems, if the user still experiences the same pains as before.
Improved efficiency comes with teams being alerted to specific activities as they happen, where data is presented in the best way to prompt the user to take action. If this can be achieved without the need to login to one or more systems, even better.
When calculating daily positions, there’s often adjustments to be made to the raw balance information itself, be they for payments expected or other anticipations. This is the case whether you have one banking partner or many, and so having a system to record these adjustments and calculations can be of value across the spectrum.
But don’t fall into the trap of buying the ‘best known’ technology in treasury or finance, adopt the best technology that works for you.
Operational cash management, and ultimately your wider cash visibility should be an efficient and minor task in your daily lives.
There is another way…
Cash visibility shouldn’t cost you significant amounts of money, nor take-up precious resource – be that inhouse or consultants – to setup.
There may not appear to be a plethora of systems out there that specialise in this particular niche but I’m pleased to say that AccessPay’s BankSense does exactly this.
Built for the purpose of retrieving bank statement data, both end of day and intraday, it has a simple and easy to use interface that provides complete control to the end user. Designed with a user first approach, BankSense is fully customisable to allow each organisation, as well as each user, to be able to create an experience that is unique to themselves.
Understanding that its outcomes that matter to you the most, we’ve included a nifty reporting feature that can deliver the information to key stakeholders, directly to their inbox on a scheduled basis. This means that for some users, access to the system isn’t required yet they reap the benefits that they’re interested in.
So if Excel and online banking just isn’t cutting it for you anymore, and you need a smarter way of cash management, think twice before embarking on a project to implement a TMS.
Of course, if you need the additional features and benefits that a TMS provides, then you should 100% invest in the software.
But if better cash visibility and operational efficiency is your goal, then look no further than BankSense and AccessPay.
P.S. To dig deeper in to this topic, I’m running a webinar on Wednesday 6th May at 14:00 BST. If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this blog, then why not join me? Claim your spot here
Product Manager (Cash Management)