Corporate treasurers are the nerve centre of a corporation but their roles are quite complex. They manage everything from the corporate cash position to regulatory compliance to risk management to payments. They are also dealing with volatile market events, changes to business models and supply chains, and a new world fraught with payment fraud and cyber risks as well as industry trends such as real-time payments.
In this article, we explore how corporate treasurers can overcome their payment challenges, leverage the latest trends and thus modernise their company’s global payments processes.
In a typical corporate environment, financial processes like accounts payable and payments are managed locally or regionally in a shared service centre. There are often multiple payments systems including accounts payable systems, ERPs and treasury management solutions managing approval processes and execution of payments. Companies also have multiple banking relationships. According to FIS' 2017 Corporate Payments and Bank Connectivity Report that surveyed over 130 treasury professionals, 45% have more than five cash management and 57% manage more than 100 bank accounts.(Figure 1) This results in higher transaction costs and banking fees since each location uses its own staff and infrastructure to support the operation. Less transaction volume means higher bank fees and less negotiation power with banking partners.
With disparate payment environments, corporate treasury also lacks the control and visibility into cash leaving the organisation, making accurate cash forecasting challenging. It also opens the company up to payment fraud. According to the FIS study, 55% of treasury professionals state that increasing controls is a top challenge and driver for a payments project followed by payment fraud at 54% and cash visibility at 48% (Figure 2).