There is often discussion about how technology can have a transformative impact on treasury, but in many cases, this simply refers to managing existing processes more efficiently or effectively. In Worldpay’s case, with a relatively new treasury function that has had to deal with enormous change within both the business and the environment in which it operates, the effect truly has been transformational. Not only has the treasury team been able to manage the growing scale and complexity of the organisation, but it also continues to leverage technology to add value to the business in new ways.
- Worldpay set up a small treasury team in 2011-12, following its spin-off from RBS in 2010, and after a series of M&A activities and the acquisition of subsidiaries the treasury team has grown significantly to manage the company’s increasingly complex requirements
- New EU rules on interchange necessitated a new entity in Amsterdam and triggered the search for a TMS to manage, among other things, relationships with between 50 and 60 large banks
- Kyriba was chosen, and the author describes the many benefits to Worldpay from its flexibility, including greatly improved visibility and control over accounts
When Worldpay was spun off from RBS in 2010, we did not have a formal treasury function, and treasury activities were distributed across other roles. In 2011-2012, we set up a defined treasury team of four people, which quickly extended to include bank relationship and account management in 2012. Since then, we have continued to expand the scope and depth of our activities, providing insights and support to the business and improving the skills and business knowledge within the team to meet ongoing business challenges. For example, since becoming an independent business, we have embarked on a series of M&A activities, together with an IPO in 2015, as well as new subsidiaries acquiring licences in the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. These have resulted in a transformation from two main operating legal entities with informal treasury activities to a highly structured, multi-entity, global business with complex treasury requirements. As a result, our team now comprises 17 people, and we are heavily focused on optimising processes and positioning our activities to support further business change and expansion.
A catalyst for technology change
Although there have been a number of milestone events in the development of the Worldpay treasury function, the trigger for our technology transformation was in 2014 with the new EU rules on interchange, which necessitated setting up a new entity in Amsterdam and the division of our merchant book. We already had 600 bank accounts in 14 currencies, so the duplication of processes and reporting, which were mostly based on spreadsheets, created significant additional scale and complexity. Therefore, we needed to find a more integrated approach to managing treasury across multiple entities.
Our treasurer had experience of treasury management systems (TMS) from a previous role, so we evaluated the technology options that were available. We ultimately selected Kyriba for a variety of reasons. With relationships with 50 -60 large banks, and a variety of smaller ones, maintaining bank systems was extremely laborious and time-consuming. With Kyriba, this process was simplified, and we had a single source of data with a high degree of confidence and auditability. The system was highly configurable, allowing us to set up the system to meet our initial and ongoing requirements, and to achieve a significant level of process automation. We also recognised the excellent support that the Kyriba team was able to offer both during and beyond the implementation.