Best Practice TMS Implementation: Why Processes Are King
By Rüdiger Schlecht, Head of Consulting & Implementation, BELLIN
Every company is unique in its set-up, stakeholders, and workflows, meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing a treasury management system (TMS). What all corporates have in common, however, is the opportunity to leverage a TMS implementation project to maximise the benefits of cutting-edge technology, whilst optimising treasury processes and structures. Read on to discover how this can be achieved – with very little additional effort.
Being able to push a single button and see a global overview of the company’s cash position, in real time, was once the stuff of dreams for many treasurers. But modern TMSs can now enable this kind of instant visibility – and help treasury to move from paper-based or manual processes to automated digital solutions. And if a TMS is integrated to its full potential, it links all group companies with the parent company, creating immense added value for the treasury function.
Simply buying and quickly rolling out a modern TMS won’t solve all of treasury’s problems, though. Of course, the technology itself will bring benefits, that’s not up for debate, but a TMS can only unfold its full potential when its features are aligned with treasury processes. And this is one of the secrets of a best-practice TMS implementation.
The following simple steps can help treasurers to achieve this alignment:
1. Know your workflows.
At the point of scouring the market for a potential TMS, the treasurer should have a clear picture in their mind of which workflows are going to be covered by the TMS. This depends on what they want to use it for, and which processes they want to ‘offload’ to the TMS.
Although this might seem like a simple step, in fact many companies do not have a complete view of all of their processes – especially ones that interface with other departments, such as accounting. So, it is worth investing some time and energy upfront to map out what the company’s current workflows and processes look like, and how those might change in the future. This should involve dialogue with other internal teams.
Some TMS vendors, like BELLIN, have in-house consultancy teams who can work with the treasury team not only to determine their workflows, but also to give suggestions around best practice re-engineering of those flows. As an example, a TMS implementation project is a great opportunity to revisit payments flows and streamline them, thereby reducing the potential for fraud.
2. Scoping with your chosen vendor.
With treasury processes and workflows mapped out, the task of choosing a TMS vendor should hopefully be more straightforward. Once you have decided on your number one pick, however, it is advisable to undertake a joint scoping exercise to flesh out the details of the implementation before committing to that vendor. This should include discussion not only of all of the requirements, but also of timelines and responsibilities on both sides. Going through this scoping process should help to ensure that the treasurer’s expectations match those of the TMS provider.
3. Kick-off meeting.
With the scoping complete, a project plan can be drawn up and discussed. Ideally, the kick-off meeting should have project teams from both sides involved. In fact, having a dedicated project manager within your treasury team is recommended as part of a best-practice TMS implementation. After all, the dedicated resource will be able to continually oversee the project and ensure that the necessary alignment is being made between treasury processes and the TMS.
4. Technical installation and testing.
The next step in ensuring maximum value is delivered by the TMS is quite simply rolling it out and putting it to the test! Having gone to the initial effort of mapping treasury processes and workflows and scoping the project, there should be no real surprises at this stage. But any creases can be ironed out and the treasury team can be trained up on the solution – before the go-live date.