PayThink

Adding B2B tech is easy. Changing habits is what's hard.

Register now

Ideas to improve B2B payments are nothing without execution. So what do organizations need to do to achieve all of these objectives and finally get the visibility and seamless cash management they need for overall business success?

The answer lies, of course, with technology (but you knew that already because the answer is always technology). In this case though, there’s a little bit of a twist to the standard “technology solves everything” story.

In this case it’s not possible to simply point to outdated technology as the root cause of cash management issues. A simple upgrade or overhaul will not solve this particular problem, because in this case, legacy technology isn’t what’s preventing organizations from understanding their cash position.

It’s the ubiquity of manual processes that’s the real culprit, creating inefficiency traps for treasury staff and holding them captive in an endless cycle of data entry, collection and aggregation duties. You could throw state-of-the-art technology at that problem all day long and all it would accomplish would be to make inefficient practices faster.

To really solve cash management struggles once and for all, it’s critical to start by targeting necessary process improvements. If this sounds a little reminiscent of all the shows popping up on TV about organizing your home, it’s because the principles are really quite similar -- clear away the clutter in order to shed light on the things that are truly important. Analyze your operational model from the top down. Don’t get mired in the details of trying to figure out how to fix specific processes, just start from scratch and reevaluate which model provides your organization with the most efficiency. Once you know that, then you can determine which steps need to be optimized. Define and modify as you go until the process you develop serves your organizational objectives.

It’s not until this point, when you have a truly efficient process, that it makes sense to think about how technology could be effectively implemented to facilitate a modern cash management process. So what kinds of technologies should you think about when you get to this point?

Thankfully, there are a variety of paths for organizations to choose from. For example:

Treasury aggregators. Treasury aggregators provide a single connection point to all of a corporation’s banking connections for both payments and reporting. They’re essentially the single centralized hub that connects an organization to all the disparate dots of its banks and related supply chain participants.

The overall goal of an aggregator is to simplify global connectivity–a welcome function in an age where 83% of all organizations operate in more than two countries. Aggregators simplify connectivity in a number of ways: connecting subsidiaries or regional branches of a company so that payment activity across the entire organization is consolidated through a single stream; giving organizations access to their entire bank network through a single portal, and enabling management of all connectivity from a single source.

When it comes to benefits, treasury aggregators do not disappoint. The value they provide is significant and includes increased visibility, enhanced centralization, automation, greater control over payment reporting and cash management processes.

Payment hubs/factories. More than just a centralized system, payments hubs are a business strategy that make it possible to deploy resources efficiently, bringing together all payment and collection types, all balance and transaction reporting, all other corporate-to-bank exchanges, all transaction bank relationships, and audit and regulatory compliance. Payment hubs help organizations increase efficiency, improve control over funds, mitigate risk and enhance visibility – definitely benefits to look for when trying to improve cash management.

SWIFT access services. By taking advantage of a fully accredited SWIFT service bureau, organizations can streamline their global bank connectivity and realize real-time, consolidated cash visibility, access the complete suite of SWIFT products and services and get technical and operational support from the largest number of SWIFT-certified experts. This route also eliminates operational cost, complexity and the need for in-house SWIFT expertise so you can count on the highest levels of resilience and security.

The world has gotten efficient in ways we hardly take notice of any more. We shop from our couches, pay with our phones and rely on digital assistants for everything from answering questions to remembering where we parked the car. It’s time to expect the same levels of service and efficiency with cash management practices, doing away with the crutches of outdated, ineffective manual processes to embrace a new era of insight and control.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.