by Vikram Gupta, Global Receivables Product Manager, Global Transaction Services, Citi and Moussa Soukal, Managing Director, North America, Hanse Orga International Corp.
Optimising receivables is a growing focus for treasurers and finance managers globally. Ensuring that cash is received as quickly as possible is essential to accelerating the cash flow cycle, providing liquidity and reducing the need for borrowing. However, just as important as receiving cash is ensuring that it is reconciled quickly and accurately. Technology can be a key enabler in addressing this challenge. Consequently, Citi recently announced a partnership with leading financial software provider Hanse Orga, to develop a solution that provides close integration between the bank and clients’ ERP platforms, consolidates, standardises and enriches data, and facilitates highly efficient reconciliation.
The importance of reconciliation
Companies globally are increasingly focusing on collections and optimising accounts receivable performance indicators such as DSO (days sales outstanding). To achieve this, they have frequently centralised accounts receivable into shared service centres (SSC) or collections factories, either in-country or regionally. The introduction of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) instruments and integrated receivable files in the US is likely to accelerate this trend further by standardising collection methods. By centralising collections, companies can collect cash more efficiently, standardise performance monitoring and achieve consistent processes for chasing collections and reducing delinquency. However, while accelerating collections is one function of an effective accounts receivable SSC, this is not enough in itself to achieve an efficient receivables process.
Companies need to know that cash has been received in order that appropriate liquidity or investment decisions can be made.
Firstly, companies need to know that cash has been received in order that appropriate liquidity or investment decisions can be made. This requires efficient bank connectivity with timely and complete access to bank statement information, an area in which Citi excels, both through its proprietary systems and third party connectivity channels such as SWIFTNet.