Software-as-a-Service is more than an industry buzzword. When it comes to cash management and especially treasury functions, having a platform in place that offers new functions on demand can save money, and perhaps as importantly, time for finance professionals.
That’s especially true as banks become increasingly digital. Reval, which offers treasury and risk management software, released a report recently that found increasing use of treasury management software. Among those surveyed, a majority, or 59 percent of respondents, said that they were working with specialty treasury systems as of 2014, up 15 percent from the previous year — alongside a high single-digit percentage drop in the use of Excel spreadsheets to manage traditional treasury functions.
Against that backdrop, PYMNTS spoke with Guenther Peer, the regional vice president of solutions consulting across EMEA at Reval. The company recently debuted its Reval INSIDE platform, a scalable cloud platform for large and medium-sized banks.
The new Reval offering, the executive said, allows clients to streamline their corporate treasury functions through automation, with information across cash flows and transactions gathered in one place.
The centralized location, noted Peer, lets companies “improve their risk through added visibility and control and also improve their decision support through information that is transparent and sits in one place.” For treasury professionals, the central information flow helps improve results, with minimized borrowing costs and maximum returns on capital, according to Peer.
While infrastructure costs are always a concern for any corporation, large or small, they are especially pressing for financial institutions as they must streamline operations and keep tabs on both information flow and the security of that information flow in real time. The advantage of software packages, such as Reval INSIDE, Peer said, lies in the fact that they can be “easily integrated into a bank’s existing infrastructure for Web-based offerings to corporates through the bank’s portal.”
One key impetus for banks and corporates to adopt software and cloud solutions geared toward financial management comes through cross-border expansion. As companies grow beyond their home base and move into international operations, “they add complexity to their business and to their organizations,” Peer explained. “Corporations that were able to limit their banking network to one or two key banks commonly find themselves in a situation where those partners are no longer able to support the international business.”
“That means the companies need to either add banks or redesign their bank portfolio.” But in the case where international footholds are gained through mergers and acquisitions, Peer cautioned, a treasury organization might find itself sifting through “disparate processes, lack of visibility and lack of control. It becomes necessary to introduce or expand robust technology to support processes,” he added.
“The role of the treasurer has become broader and far more strategic over the years since the global financial crisis,” said Peer, so much so that the automation of daily routines “to free up valuable time to analyze results and make informed business decisions has become a must.” In terms of technology, Reval’s movement to a platform strategy allows for some flexibility as the software can adapt to various customer segments depending on how they use technology, said Peer.
He cited the AFP “Strategic Role of Treasury” survey that found that cash management and forecasting remain at the top of treasury executives’ minds as focus areas, and though they may be basic tasks, they are crucial ones.
Ironically, another survey, the “2014 gtnews Transaction Banking Survey” showed that forecasting remained at the bottom of services that corporates found satisfactory from banking partners. That leaves open a window of opportunity for companies such as Reval, said Peer.