Why Treasury Technology Is Critical to Business Continuity
Companies with adequate treasury technology can transition to remote work more easily than businesses reliant on paper processes.
Corporate treasury has long been the backbone of many companies. The COVID-19 pandemic tested operations’ and procedures’ resiliency like never before. Treasury organizations were asked to step out of their traditional operational roles and take on broader, more strategic work within their companies.
Taking on these new roles was more difficult for some businesses than others. Companies reliant on manual and paper-based processes struggled to adapt in the remote work environment. Companies with sophisticated technology were able to pivot quickly. Both types of businesses, however, can benefit from investing in treasury technology to improve everyday operations and prepare for future uncertainty.
Treasuries Reliant on Manual Systems and Processes Faced Hurdles
Treasury organizations using manual processes dealt with many logistical challenges in accounts payable, accounts receivable and forecasting:
- Accounts payable: In some cases, disjointed on-site systems meant treasury couldn’t deploy accounts payable remotely. Remote work also prevented employees who cut checks from accessing the office’s check printers and obtaining necessary signatures. Delays may have impacted trading relationships.
- Accounts receivable: Employees couldn’t retrieve checks sent to the office, which extended the average collection period. When the funds were deposited, it was difficult to reconcile between stale invoices and new invoices.
- Cash forecasting: The treasury challenges prompted businesses to preserve their cash and increase forecasting frequency. At times, both internal and external cash movements came to a halt. Treasurers found themselves playing the role of chief technology officers, identifying tech needs and obtaining buy-in from senior management.
Treasurers found themselves playing the role of chief technology officers, identifying tech needs and obtaining buy-in from senior management.
Treasuries Embracing Technology Have a Steadier Journey
Although nothing could prepare treasuries for the COVID-19 crisis, businesses with robust treasury technology infrastructure were a step ahead. Solutions such as cloud-based software, e-signature enabled documents and automation tools for payment processing and daily cash positioning helped make the shift to remote work smoother.
With streamlined systems and processes, tech-empowered treasuries could focus on responding to senior management requests and providing a strategic outlook to help make business decisions.
The Hackett Group’s 2021 Key Issues Study showed that about 40% of companies planned a new technology introduction or major technology platform upgrade as a major enterprise initiative in 2021. Migrating to a cloud-based enterprise resource planning system and implementing a treasury management system were at the top of the list for system upgrades.
Companies that upgraded their technology were able to automate their processes and increase efficiency, which allowed for a flexible work environment and increased business resiliency.
Future-Proofing Treasury Is Key to Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity requires technology and processes that fit your business now and in the future, whether your operations are streamlined or not. Implementing advanced tech is an investment in the growth and modernization of your organization. Consider how these tools can benefit your business:
- Cloud technology requires limited physical infrastructure, making it easier to implement and scale than extensive manual and on-site infrastructure. Switching to cloud-based solutions can also relieve pressure on internal IT staff and reduce system maintenance costs.
- Robotic process automation can provide an effective solution for simple, standardized and repetitive tasks. By automating duties such as accounting journal entries, payment initiation and cash positioning, treasury can focus on more strategic work.
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence can take new data inputs and perform cognitive tasks based on historical data. With these technologies, cash forecasting can look at how your company performed during the pandemic and use that data for future forecasting models.
- Application program interface technology provides real-time data on current balances and debit and credit confirmations. Real-time cash visibility can help shorten your days sales outstanding.
- Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, can provide a highly secure environment for information exchange. For example, it may be able to act as an in-house bank for intercompany transfers.
- Strategic banking relationships can help streamline your operational functions with check outsourcing solutions, invoice matching and intuitive payment routing based on pre-set criteria.
The bottom line: Regardless of where your company’s treasury technology stands, you should continuously evaluate your technology to maximize efficiency and automation. Companies should invest in their treasury technology to future-proof treasury operations for any unforeseeable events.
J.P. Morgan’s Corporate Treasury Consulting team can help you build a comprehensive technology strategy that works for your organization. Fill out the form below to get in touch with us today to learn how to get started.