Digital Transformation in Treasury Management
The ongoing fourth industrial revolution is characterized by the digitization of industrial processes to build smart, automated facilities has gone mainstream since Industry 4.0 was introduced in 2011. Since its introduction, the successful implementation of digital transformation technologies to develop an agile, efficient manufacturing shop floor has been replicated in other industrial sectors from farming to financial services.
Specifically in financial services, Treasury management is a recent beneficiary of digital transformation solutions to automate time-consuming processes. According to a KPMG paper making a case for automating procedures such as cash forecasting and cash management using cash flow analysis tools, the same Industry 4.0 concepts also apply to Treasury management. The paper went further to coin the application of digital transformation tools in Treasury management as Treasury 4.0.
Treasury 4.0 attempts to apply digitized cash flow analysis tools to automate cash forecasting, management, and analysis processes. Today, varying degrees of automation currently exist, and include:
- Manual management processes
- Conditional automated processes
- Fully automated processes
Each category comes with a set of cash flow analysis tools finance teams use at different stages of the cash forecasting process:
- The conventional cash management, or what we call the “manual management process” relies on extensive manual effort, where cash flow analysis tools include reams of binders for data collection, calculators, and excel sheets to gain insight.
- Conditional automation involves the deployment of automation at important stages of the cash flow analysis process. The cash flow tools used include MT940 or BAI2 files to automate the collation of bank account statements.
- Full automation, also known as, ‘zero-touch’ involves the use of cash flow analysis tools to automate the entire process from data input to managing workflows. The cash flow analysis tools used include the integration of machine learning, APIs, and data analytics applications to gain insight into cash flow. The application of full automation technology in treasury management defines what Treasury 4.0 intends to achieve.
Cash Flow Analytics Tools with the Capacity to Deliver Treasury 4.0
Manual management and conditional-automated processes involve the application of time-consuming labor to gain insight from cash flow data. Aggregating unstructured data has proven to be a challenge most finance professionals struggle with. And 95% of finance enterprises agree that managing unstructured data is a challenge that affects process optimization.
There is good news; today, full automation is entirely within arm’s reach for your company. The application of digital transformation technologies that can automate the task of capturing unstructured data, cash reporting, and data analysis can materially reduce the errors caused by repetitive manual labor.
Cash Flow Analytics Tools Helping Treasurers
Today, automation technologies with the capabilities to deliver full automation include:
- Open Banking Application Programming Interfaces (API) – The average enterprise has multiple banks accounts and conducts transactions through diverse processes to meet its operational obligations. As the treasurer or finance manager, your task involves managing transactions and deriving data-driven insights in real-time to make accurate decisions. APIs connect the data from diverse transactional sources into a cash flow analytics platform, providing real-time visibility into cash flow positions with a single click.
Why are APIs good for Treasurers? APIs eliminate the process of manually recording transaction data and the need to send MT920 requests. On the other hand of the cash flow process, APIs provide support to ease payment rails for global transactions. API-driven payment solutions enable real-time account validation, initiate payments, and generate the associated reports in real-time. The integration of APIs as a cash flow analysis tool automates the cash reporting, cash management, and forecasting process.
- Machine Learning (ML) – The banking and finance industry is famous for its ability to produce large data sets. Statistics show that the industry produces the largest amount of data and the data it generates every second is expected to grow by 700%. Thus, processing the big data sets from financial transactions alongside historical data to gain predictive insight requires automation.
Why is ML is good for Treasurers? Machine learning is the perfect cash flow analytics tool Treasurers can rely on to analyze the terabytes of data financial transactions produce. Finance professionals can leverage ML to automate analytical model building as well as recognize patterns to provide data-driven insights.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – RPA delivers real-time agility to the cash flows analysis process and the cash position of an enterprise. Treasurers dealing with the challenges of unstructured data and the limitations of rigid forecasts can rely on RPA to streamline and process workflows from diverse financial operations in real-time.
Why is RPA is good for Treasurers? Real-time processing RPA enables agility when responding to unforeseen occurrences or developing risk-based plans to account for business fluctuations. RPA also provides the foundation for automating workflows generated from legacy assets that do not support the integration of APIs.
Is an Automated Cash Flow Analysis Solution the Best Tool for the Job?
Treasury and finance teams looking to optimize the cash flow analysis process are faced with a simple question: are automated cash flow analysis solutions the best tools for the job? In every scenario, the answer is yes as complete automation reduces the repetitive time-consuming tasks associated with cash flow analysis freeing up your team to do more worthwhile strategic analysis and planning. Automation also reduces the occurrence of human error and the fallout from them.
A turnkey cash flow analysis solution integrates the aforementioned tools – machine learning, robotic process automation, and APIs – to automate time-consuming processes that define treasury management.
You can learn about the other features a best-in-class cash flow analysis solution should offer such as mobility applications by downloading this Trovata Infographic: Automatic Cash Forecasting Features.