Six ways to make your treasury system work better for you
23 March 2017
For those treasurers with larger remits and teams using treasury technology, and in particular a robust treasury system, to improve control, efficiency and insight over key risks and activities is second nature. However for many, moving beyond the basic has traditionally not been seen as a priority when battling day to day issues and complying with new accounting regulations all while managing scarce resources takes precedence. Additionally, treasury systems can be seen to be expensive, time consuming and generally hard to implement and get right.
However getting it ‘right’ can have huge benefits for the treasurer as businesses, and therefore risks, become more global, regulations become more complex and the demands of stakeholders continue to increase. A treasury system is often scalable, allows reduced manual processes that facilitates improved controls and therefore a more effective use of talent. It also provides one source of truth for treasury information, which aids analysis rather than reconciliation of data and consistent reporting against strategies, limits and policies.
Most treasurers would agree with these benefits, but they and other senior financial management are still wary of implementation challenges and have heard the stories about systems that have fallen into disuse or are unable to cope with change.
From my experience working in this area, I think there are six key actions that can significantly assist in making treasury systems work better – not just now but in the foreseeable future:
- Spend time in selection and the detailed design in the implementation phase: Do not rush into selection, spend time selecting the right system using your requirements, not those of the vendor. When you have chosen do not hurry into the build phase, instead focus on designing your data tables and formats, your user profiles and your reporting before the configuration begins. This will make the system more scalable and make the other five key actions somewhat easier.
- Set up and keep all static data clean and up-to date: Make sure your data is clean and reviewed regularly. This applies to static data (counterparties, SSI’s bank accounts etc.) contained in treasury systems, banking systems and all other systems that form the treasury systems landscape. This will aid lower operational risk and reduce confusion.
- Set up and maintain user profiles: Once setup, tested and signed off, avoid changing profiles unless there is a valid business reason. Personal change is no reason to change profiles if appropriately set up. Temporary changes required should be set up as a separate role rather than adding the extra rights to existing profiles.
- Provide on-going training to treasury personnel: Take full advantage of the functionality and features of the system by issuing regular training and refresher sessions. Many only use a fraction of the functionality that they have paid for.
- Make full use of the report creation and management functionality: This can be the hardest to implement especially if your current organisation is relying on Excel for reporting, which is flexible although not sustainable. Using the reporting tool in a treasury system will better allow the data included to be timely and reliable. Using the report scheduler means all necessary reports can be delivered straight to your email inboxes and use exception reporting, whereupon specific messages can be sent when, for instance, limits are breached.
- Consider a dedicated Treasury Systems Administrator: This is unlikely to be a full time role and could be combined with other non-treasury jobs. Having an individual responsible for the administration of treasury technology should increase the likelihood that the system is always up-to date and changes to the system are challenged and made in a more controlled manner.
None of the six steps outlined above are rocket science, costly or difficult to do although they may lengthen implementation time. However, they do set standards as to how treasury systems can be used to achieve a longer term advantage and help get the most out of your investment.
You can find about more about trends across the market with regards to Treasury systems.