8 min read
14 Mar 2019
8 min read
14 Mar 2019
The treasury department plays an integral role in business operation: overseeing short- and long-term cash and risk management to achieve commercial objectives. But just like every other business process, it must be brought into the modern age, and treasury digitalization has the potential to redefine the role of treasurers everywhere.
Treasury departments have a broad range of roles, from cash forecasting to working capital management. And just like every other common financial department, treasuries often spend a lot of time on tasks that could be made simpler through the process of digitalization.
Treasury digitalization is the key to unlocking efficiencies in the treasury department. It not only has the potential to reduce the burden of manual processes and free up more time for other tasks, but it also offers the opportunity to optimize every other element of the treasury workflow. Human error, data fallibility, limited visibility, security, and cost-efficiency are all potential pitfalls of a traditional treasury – pitfalls that can potentially be side-stepped through digitalization.
Here’s everything you need to know about how going digital can shape a new era for your treasury department.
Treasury digitalization is an admittedly nebulous phrase. In fact, digitalization of any process is a difficult concept to summarize, as it can take many forms and be carried out in a range of ways. However, digital treasury management can essentially be summed up as a way of leveraging digital technology to enable better visibility and control over a company’s finances.
What exact form that takes can vary from company to company. Some treasury digitalization implementations might be limited to simple automation of specific tasks, like cash flow forecasting. Others may be full-spectrum, encompassing every sub-process that the treasury department is responsible for and involving integrations with other technologies, such as ERP systems.
As is to be expected, the process of digitalization isn’t something to be taken lightly. Especially for companies entrenched in long-standing and traditional manual treasury practices, making the leap to centralized digital management can be daunting. But, as they say, nothing worth having comes easy, and the benefits of a digitalized treasury department outweigh the challenges of implementing it. Here are some of the key advantages of digital treasury management.
As the role of a treasurer inherently involves assessing future risks and weighing them up against potential capital uses, anything that can improve the accuracy or ease with which they can forecast cash flow is a huge benefit. And implementation of a sophisticated digital treasury management system does just that.
Good data is of course crucial to effective forecasting, and digital technology significantly upgrades the data capabilities available to treasurers. Through integration with financial APIs and extraction of internal figures, it unlocks the benefits of data that is of both the utmost accuracy and served in real time – namely the enhancement of decision-making, liquidity management, and reporting.
The treasurer’s role is broad and, traditionally, hands-on. Significant manual input has typically been a requirement of many of the treasurer’s central roles, from manual data sourcing to detailed risk assessment.
The advantages of a system that can automate a lot of those processes are clear to see – the less manual input required from members of the treasury department, the more time that can be spent on other value-add activities. There’s also a secondary benefit to the automation that digitalization allows, in the form of reduced manual input leading to limitations to the extent that human error can cause problems.
It’s not just the treasury department who have a stake in the work that they do – the entire C-Suite are generally stakeholders of all important financial data too. But in traditional treasury organization models, visibility of the core data and highlighted KPIs can often be reduced to an afterthought – delivered through periodic reports or presentations.
Solving this visibility issue – in other words, unlocking access to real-time treasury data for all relevant stakeholders – is one of the more seamless benefits of treasury digitalization. Generally, digital treasury management will involve the use of a central dashboard or system that, in real time, presents key data in an easily understood format. This reduces friction in decision-making, allowing all relevant parties to have suitable access to the treasury department’s insights.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, digital treasury management opens a new paradigm for treasury departments in the arena of creating operational efficiencies. The advanced nature of digital treasury systems means that data is more instant, insights are more valuable, and decisions are made more clearly. Those factors mean that the treasurer’s efficacy in their role – to make effective use of capital – is free from many of the restrictions that exist in traditional systems.
From better integration with AP departments to hugely improved visibility over potential treasury strategies, the effects of digitalization are impactful where it counts. Efficiencies may take many forms, from better use of working capital to quicker responses to financial crises. Whatever form they take, though, they benefit both the treasury department themselves, and the company as a whole.
The benefits of digitalization are abundant but realizing them isn’t a simple process. In fact, there are several key considerations that must be made while implementing a new digital treasury management system. Essentially, there are three main elements to ensuring effective implementation, which can be summed up with three words. Ask yourself, is your solution:
The ultimate priority when implementing any digital business solution is making sure that it’s safe and secure from cybersecurity threats. Safety of a digital treasury solution comes down to two main components: the trustworthiness of the data environment and the absolute security of the system against unpermitted access. This is especially important for treasuries, as the data they work with is highly sensitive and valuable, so is therefore a likely target for fraud or hacking.
Next, it’s important to ensure long-term sustainability of whichever digital system you choose to implement. Given the investment – both financial and manual – required to properly achieve a digital treasury solution, choosing an established and reputable provider is advised. Choosing a provider with an uncertain lifespan may result in significant further costs being incurred in the future.
Finally, it’s essential that the solution you choose is provably effective. Rushing into a decision can result in implementation of a system that doesn’t meet your needs fully, which again can result in further costs and process turmoil in the future. Take full advantage of the resources available to you to avoid making that mistake by reading reviews and case studies, speaking to an advisor, and even trialing different solutions.
Digital treasury management is the future, the only variable is when you choose to adopt it. Taulia is a single scalable solution that includes treasury-focused modules such as supply chain finance, cash flow forecasting, and electronic invoicing alongside other innovative tools for AP departments. Adoption is simple and the benefits speak for themselves. Contact us to learn more about how Taulia can help modernize your treasury processes today.
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