by Liz P. Minick, Head of U.S. Corporate Treasury Sales for Global Treasury Solutions, and Rodney Gardner, Global Head of Receivables, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Few would dispute the benefits of straight-through processing (STP) for payments. For years, companies have worked with their banks to achieve the holy grail of sending a single electronic file containing payment and remittance data that a bank can use to issue a multitude of payment instruments without manual intervention. In fact, large companies today operate ‘factories’ to achieve straight-through processing in their accounts payable operations worldwide.
But straight-through processing and accounts receivable (AR) is another story. For years, the idea of receiving a matched receivables file to close all open items seemed so unattainable that long-established paper-based processes, with inevitable manual intervention, remained the norm.
This is not to suggest that receivables processing and automated reconciliation rates have not improved consistently. They have. It’s just that the challenges to straight-through reconciliation for receivables (STR) have always seemed more imposing than on the payables side.