Search for Treasury Management System: Chat with Cedric Chambault from Kyriba
Search for Treasury Management System (TMS) – What to consider and insider tips
In recent years, the roles of the treasurers have become increasing strategic, and becoming an important partner to the CFO and C-Suites. Some of the reasons contributing to the modern Treasurer’s role are; the increased need to mitigate global market volatility; advancements in modern treasury technology which provide management with critical information such as real-time cash visibility, risks exposures; and increased attention on compliance, control and anti fraud issues. Undeniably, CFOs and Treasurers have largely agreed that Technology has improved their workflows and increased greater efficiency.
Treasury Management Systems (TMS) is defined by AFP as “automated systems or software packages that allow companies and their treasury departments to communicate and/or interface with banking partners, vendors and customers in real time.” As technology progresses over the years, whether it is hardware capabilities or inter-connectivity infrastructure, the challenges of installing a TMS has dramatically decreased. In the past, a corporation would have to factor in the initial set-up and running maintenance costs of onsite servers and hardware when installing a TMS, requiring heavy internal IT support. Nowadays, with Cloud technology and e-mobility, setting up a TMS is less complicated and less costly.
There are a host of choices for the CFOs or Group Treasurers when it comes to the selection of a TMS. Depending on the requirements of the Treasury setups and the aims of the management, each TMS provider will have its own pros and cons and it is definitely not an easy task for any CFOs or Treasurers!
The selection process for a TMS usually starts with a business plan, and then an RFP. The host of considerations; costs of setup, maintenance concerns, vendor support, functionalities, connectivity to user interface are just some examples in any TMS search lists. Today’s financial professionals should perform their due diligence before getting into a long term relationship with a TMS provider. All modern solutions today, for example, are cloud-based, where the advantages of security, scalability and performance are optimized with less maintenance fees.
TFA Geeks had the rare opportunity to speak to Mr Cedric Chambault, Sales Director of South East Asia at Kyriba, the #1 provider of cloud treasury and financial management solutions. In true spirit of the modern technology company, he shares with us his tips and his candid opinions when it comes to the selection of a TMS.
Chat with Cedric Chambault, Sales Director South East Asia Kyriba
TFA Geeks: Hi Cedric, many thanks for coming and sharing with us more about Kyriba and the TMS selection process. We understand that Kyriba is a well-known leader in the cloud based TMS provider and it has in excess of 1,600 corporate clients globally. In Singapore and the ASEAN region, you are servicing many of your global clients as well as adding new clients who are first time TMS users. Could you share with us what makes Kyriba special and different from others?
Cedric: Thank you for the invitation and I am more than glad to share with you and your readers why our clients prefer to partner with Kyriba for their treasury operations. First of all, Kyriba is cloud based, and has been developed as a full cloud platform since its inception. The platform capabilities have grown over time based on client needs and demands. Kyriba’s primary focus is to design treasury and financial solutions that enable our clients to protect their assets and unlock value for their organization. Typically, our new clients in the region are first time TMS users and many whom found our platform much in line with their expectations and requirements; in terms of cash visibility, financial risk management, payments solutions, workflows improvements, fraud prevention and costs of setting up. We take pride in our clients’ positive feedback and their trust in selecting us as their first TMS provider. We have a 98% client loyalty rate. Selection of a TMS is not a straight forward and easy task for any CFOs or Treasurer, especially for first timers, and we understand that as we work closely with our clients to partner in their success.
There are many areas to address when it comes to the selection of a TMS, and these reasons and considerations can be very different from organisation to organisation, even between a CFO or a Treasurer or a Finance Director, their concerns are varied and wide ranging. For example; a Treasurer might be more concerned about having accurate cashflow forecasts and fast ability to gain control over FX exposures, while the Accounting focused executive might be more concerned about getting proper GL entries from their banking operations into their ERP and automating the month-end closing! Thankfully, Kyriba clients can leverage the complete suite of services that can cater to their demands and requirements. Kyriba is a flexible, modular solution so our clients can implement what they need to maximise value where they need it most, and grow into more complex solutions when they are ready. From cashflow forecasting modules, bank account mapping capabilities and calculating the organisation’s FX and Interest Rate risks, Kyriba is ready to support critical functions for modern finance leaders. These are processes that go beyond what usual e-Banking solutions are designed for, and where a TMS system like Kyriba makes a lot of sense!
TFA Geeks: I personally have been on that selection process and it is certainly not easy and I concur with your sharing and observations. Installing a TMS is not exactly like deciding to buy a laptop or subscribing to a financial data provider. What other concerns should a CFO or Treasurer seriously think about, apart from the functionalities, capabilities and connectivity of the TMS?
Cedric: Developing a strong relationship with a CFO or Treasurer is a good start, but sometimes it can be challenging because you guys are sharp and very discerning, and can be very particular during the search for the right vendor to partner with. Apart from the usual functionalities and capabilities checklist, when it comes to TMS selection, many of our clients shared with us that their selection process is more than just these “transactional” abilities but also the strategic ones. We realised that TMS installation can be a rather high level decision, where senior management and board members are involved and their concerns matter a lot. And in most cases, their considerations are not just about short-term installation expenses, subscription fees and other ancillary charges; many times their considerations are of a longer term view and more strategic in nature – it revolves around how much potential savings it can bring, how it can drive efficiency and bring down long term costs, and finally support the achievement of the company strategic goals.
Some CFOs and Treasurers with foresight and advanced thinking look beyond the immediate concerns and plan for their future. Even though, some of their concerns might not be the current issues of their organisation, they are excited when they know about Kyriba’s new capabilities and focus on anti-fraud, advanced payment solutions and incorporation of the latest connectivity solutions, such as API and block chain compatible features. Some of them are moving ahead of their peers and taking advantage of our technological solutions to better position themselves in the future.
TFA Geeks: Interesting. It definitely resonates with me and my understanding from the numerous chats with fellow Treasurers and CFOs. You have been around for a while, especially in Asia Pacific, do you think that organisations here are less or more tech-savvy and how have the organisations responded to Technological advances?
Cedric: Good question, in fact I think we have seen an increase in companies who want to move away from spreadsheets in APAC. These financial leaders are gaining advantages over their competition. Sharp supporting functions are made to enable business expansion, and the opposite is true when lack of modernization impedes business development. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a wave of consolidation where modern companies are able to buy companies who lagged behind. It’s a game changer for companies when their TMS enables them to automate basic functions and unlock value with increased cash visibility and put idle cash to use. A Treasurer has recently said to me that Kyriba has enabled his company to unlock S$36 million. That is a good amount to fund new growth projects! In other regions, for example, Australia has implemented a real-time settlement system, NPP (new payments platform), where settlements can be settled on a real time basis. This cannot be done unilaterally without the users and corporations support, and I think this is something that other corporations across Asia Pacific are interested in, too. Another example of adopting technology can be seen in Japan: many corporations are adopting technology to expand their business opportunity beyond their domestic market and gain control over local activities that used to be isolated from their global head office. Therefore, they are pretty demanding and discerning. These are signs that corporations in Asia Pacific are quite tech savvy.
That said, there are still pockets of SMEs and local organisations that are hesitant and/or unaware of the benefits of TMS. It is often the case when companies have grown with a primary focus on their core business, and the supporting functions haven’t transformed along with the evolution of their business operations. By necessity, treasury has grown as an extension of the accounting activities. As a consequence, the allocation of duties between treasury and accounting are disparate from one company to the other without alignment of practices. The AP team may still be in charge of payment processes and banking relationships in an organisation, and tracking of receivables would be under the treasury’s tasks in another. They are warming up to the idea of TMS and many are driven by their needs – after having expanding in numerous countries, growing to a size whereby excel is not the best optimal solution or they are moving from a decentralised to a centralised treasury setup. At Kyriba, we have been encouraged by new clients willing to catch up with their business operations or/and streamline their internal processes. Many found us through referrals by their peers, banks or other service providers. This is an eco-system where stakeholders shall collaborate to provide sustainable recommendations and implement best practices.
TFA Geeks: Why should they consider a TMS? Their banks or ERP should have ready made solutions and these days there are plenty of Fintechs startups that can provide solutions for their needs. Why do they need a TMS?
Cedric: Valid points, but you are missing the value that an one stop TMS solution can bring to any organisation. Kyriba tackles an area of inefficiencies between Accounting and Banking, where the link is done by Treasury. Imagine you have multiple banks, you need to make a payment to Third Party A using Bank X, and you have to make another payment to Third Party B using Bank Y. Given you want to ensure on-time settlement clearing, you may have to log into 2 separate e-Banking with 2 different tokens, 2 sets of passwords to approve 2 payments. With a TMS like Kyriba, your payments can be done on a single platform, payment instructions are automatically imported from the accounting system or generated with Kyriba, you approve your payment, we translate the format to the different banks’ formats and your payment is securely and efficiently done. Similarly, you do not have to log into multiple banking portals to find your cash balances, with a TMS the bank balances are all reflected onto your Kyriba dashboards and reports, all you have to ensure are that the MT940s are setup once and everything else will be taken care of.
Banks can to a certain extent perform some of these basic functionalities for you, but they will not be able to calculate intercompany positions and interest statements, post GL entries into your ERP systems and make GL reconciliations. With a TMS, these accounting journal entries can be easily STP into your ERP and your accountants will not need to worry about the hassles, accuracy and audit trail! Likewise, most fintechs focus on solving one specific problem, be it regtech, payments, fx or others. The optimum solution resides in one foundation platform interoperating with other specialised solutions.
There are other features like virtual accounts or bank fees monitoring, where you can easily control the bank charges that you have been incurring. Many organisations have negotiated a global or regional agreement with their partner banks, however we find that banks may not always apply the negotiated terms across all their branches due to the disparity of their internal systems. Kyriba allows our clients to compile their bank charges easily and match them against the agreed terms, and this will allow Treasurers to better manage their Banking Relationships and financial expenses.
With the advancement of technology, more and more organisations are adopting technology to secure their workflows, drive up their efficiency and lower their operating and financial costs. CFOs and Treasurers should consider the immediate and short term benefits and costs, but should bear in mind the long term impacts and strategic goals of their leadership when considering setting up a TMS in their organisation. Beyond the automation of transactional tasks, there are many compelling reasons for them to move from their excel spreadsheets to a cloud based platform. In a nutshell, implementing treasury technology supports the most important business drivers, such as increasing revenue, reducing costs, and ensuring compliance with internal controls and regulations, which shall be put into perspective with a company’s own strategic plans, may these be reducing exposure to a domestic market by expanding operations overseas, becoming a market leader, securing shareholders’ dividends, or protecting the company’s reputation and market capitalization.