Treasury and Finance Trends for 2021

Sponsored Content by Fifth Third Bank

As finances readjust to a new year, Fifth Third Bank offers anticipated payment technology and treasury trends for 2021. While much about what 2021 will hold is uncertain, there are a few trends that are easier to forecast. Trends in the payments space are among them.

The digitization of payables and receivables functions has been underway for some time now, and the pandemic has only accelerated this trend. Adoption had been slow, but COVID-19 has served as a seismic wake-up call for the treasury space, spurring the business community to action. A good example of this is the rapid adoption of electronic business-to-business (B2B) payments. A recent EY report found approximately 60% of survey respondents indicated that the adoption of electronic payments is the most meaningful change in the B2B space.

Over the past few years, digital transformation has allowed treasury professionals to take on an increasingly important role providing invaluable insights into their organization and support for strategic growth objectives. As new innovations continue to reengineer the treasury function, the coming year holds tremendous opportunities for treasury departments to demonstrate further value to the overall organization.

The Evolution of Managed Services for Payment Processes

One area that shows real promise for treasury in the near-term is managed services related to payment processes. The overall global managed services market is growing rapidly. Valuate Reports’ recent study suggests managed services will grow from more than $178 billion in 2019 to greater than $309 billion by 2025. That’s a CAGR of 9.6%.

“We believe the continued evolution of managed services around the movement of money will be a game-changer for corporate treasury,” explained Bridgit Chayt, Senior Vice President and Director of Commercial Payments and Treasury Management for Fifth Third Bank. “This trend is moving corporates from a transaction processing-centric relationship with banking partners to one that ocuses more on back-office integration that delivers invaluable treasury insights, along with greater automation and efficiency.”

As 2021 unfolds, managed services in the cash management space will continue to be seen as a transformational option that enables treasury organizations to take advantage of the latest cloud-based, digital technologies without having to invest in complex and costly infrastructure. The managed services model means adopters always have the latest version of the technology, thereby reducing reliance on legacy platforms. It also means not having to focus on maintaining the security of on-premises systems.

Innovative managed services are offering on-demand convenience, which is crucial as many job functions have shifted to a remote, work-from-home posture. And these next-generation solutions also provide a seamless user experience that is seen as increasingly vital for keeping today’s digitally-native employees happy. Perhaps most importantly, managed services enable treasury to focus more of their energy on core business matters and strategic imperatives for the organization.

Leveraging New Layers of Analytics to Improve the Treasury Function

Many treasury organizations have begun to recognize the potential value of data related to the cash management function. Emerging technologies are making it possible to leverage this data to power analytics-driven decisions that will dramatically improve treasury efficiency, automation and the customer experience.

“New digital tools are increasingly relying on next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to analyze patterns, and then factor in policies and risk tolerances to make highly-effective liquidity recommendations,” stated Chayt. “Over the next few years, I think we can expect a much greater reliance on AI, data analytics and robotic process automation (RPA) to help realize tremendous opportunities to achieve straight-through processing and reconciliation. These technologies will become indispensable to clients as businesses begin to find ways to monetize them as well.”

As more and more of the treasury function becomes interconnected, data and analytics will enable treasurers to add value and make faster, better decisions.

Treasury Will Be Counted on to Deliver Greater Value

Ever since the “Great Recession,” the role of treasury professionals has continued to evolve. Treasury has elevated its stature as a thought-leader within the organization, increasingly participating as a decision-maker at the highest levels. In the years to come, treasury will be relied on for the vital task of managing liquidity, forecasting cash flows, and supporting the bottom line. And the current pandemic has only served to raise treasury’s profile as a vital organizational resource.

To meet the constantly changing demands of the business, treasury will need to continue to build relationships across the organization in order to expand their understanding of company needs and priorities. By partnering with cross-functional stakeholders, treasury can broaden its impact, while increasing its credibility. At the same time, treasury can tap into the deep bench of experience found within banking partners to ensure the organization’s strategic objectives are being fully supported.

Innovation: Driving Tomorrow’s Treasury Today

Greater efficiency with less manual intervention will continue to drive advancements in treasury. “Many of these technologies are available today, enabling treasury to manage liquidity more effectively, forecast more accurately, and leverage data and analytics to improve the customer and supplier experience,” concluded Chayt. “In the near-term, we envision new innovations coming as banks, Fintechs, and other third-party providers continue to partner, bringing niche solutions to the marketplace to meet the evolving needs of treasury organizations.”

Chayt cites the example of real-time payments, which, in addition to speeding up payment processes, is also delivering critical remittance information that opens the door to advancements in back-office reconciliation. There is also the opportunity to introduce new ways of handling the negotiation of terms and discounting at the time of payment. The efficiencies made possible by these types of initiatives will bring tremendous value to the organization.

As 2021 unfolds, corporate treasury professionals can expect innovation to continue to be the watchword, as they strive to deliver greater efficiency and value to the organization.

This article was reprinted with the permission of Fifth Third Bank. 


CTP Prep Course Offered at Windy City Summit


Written by Niki Kinkelaar, Windy City Summit Conference Manager

The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation sets the standard in the treasury profession and is a global symbol of excellence. The 2021 Virtual Windy City Summit is offering a CTP Prep Course included with the registration at no additional cost. You can participate in live sessions weekly or catch them on-demand at your convenience.

It can be a big decision in deciding to take the CTP exam. So, we had an opportunity to interview Evelyn Martinez on her journey to earn her CTP, demonstrate her comprehensive knowledge of corporate treasury management, pledge to meet continuing education requirements to stay current and commit to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.


Why I Earned My CTP

Can you briefly describe your current position? 

I am a Senior Treasury Analyst with LSC Communications. My job responsibilities include daily cash management, debt reconciliation, cash forecasting, and bank administration.

When did you become a Certified Treasury Professional? June 2019

What was your primary motivation in deciding to become a CTP? 

My co-worker and fellow TMAC member had passed the exam a year before and encouraged me to earn my CTP. During this period our company was in the process of being acquired and job security was uncertain. I felt that becoming a CTP would make me more valuable to my current company as well as more marketable if I needed to search for a new job. 

How did you prepare for the CTP exam? 

I began preparing eight months before I took the exam. I studied the old school way, writing down lots of notes, and highlighting key information. I am a mom of two school-age kids, both in sports, so I would study during my lunch hour and carve out time over the weekends. I also attended the CTP Exam Preparation Course at the Windy City Summit which was super beneficial and provided additional study material.

In what ways has the CTP benefited you and your career?

It has given me greater confidence in my abilities as a treasury professional. You also get insight into other areas that might not be part of your current job requirements, but common in other treasury roles. 

If you were to give advice to a peer interested in earning their CTP, what would you tell them? 

Go for it! It truly gives you a better understanding of all aspects of treasury management. 


Prepare for the CTP Exam

It is not too late to join us at the 2021 Windy City Summit and take advantage of the CTP Prep Course. Also, be sure to subscribe to receive updates directly to your inbox. Just text TMAC to 22828. We will respect your privacy, never share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time. REGISTER TODAY! 

Once-in-a-Generation Chance for Banks in Payments

Written by Conrad Sheehan, Managing Director, Accenture

Payments modernization is the most consequential transformation that banks will make this decade. With the shadow of an aging payments infrastructure looming large, banks can’t stay on the sidelines. This is an existential issue. Banks that don’t act put their future at risk.

Banks are constrained by aging payments infrastructure and operations. Industry-wide innovation in the form of real-time payments from The Clearing House, the Federal Reserve, and non-bank competitors is very disruptive. And of course, banks must address regulatory requirements like the migration to ISO 2022, a new global standard for payments messaging.

Banks can explore solving as many pain points as possible using commercially available software. Sometimes this means making tough choices and setting priorities. What’s also key is running the implementation well—from requisition through implementation, testing, and change management. Banks must do all of this in a predictable and managed way while still running the bank and not ballooning their employee base.

This article reposted with permission.  Connect with Conrad Sheehan on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in payments.

Start and Advance Your Career In Treasury

Written by: Samantha Salisbury, CTP, Co-chair Windy City Summit

What’s the best way to start your career in treasury? The simple answer is: Networking. Whether you’re a student looking to get into treasury or a seasoned professional, networking is key. Networking provides you the opportunity to meet people already working in the field, understand more about what a career in treasury may look like for you, gives you a chance to get looped in on potential job opportunities and develop and grow professional relationships.  The more your name is out there while networking, the greater chance that your name will come up when an organization or individual is looking to expand or hire.

3 Tips to Advance Your Treasury Career

Once you’re settled into your new treasury career, these three tips can help you to keep moving forward to advance your treasury career:

  1. Continue to develop your professional network.
    • Continuing to develop your professional network gives you the opportunity to meet other treasury professionals and develop relationships while engaging with your network also gives you the space to engage in knowledge shares and ideas exchange.  If you’re looking for ways to boost your network, consider joining a professional network such as the Treasury Management Association of Chicago (TMAC), Association of Corporate Treasurers (AFC), or the AFP. 
  1. Obtain your professional certification
    • Obtaining your Certified Treasury Professional certification (CTP) demonstrates your commitment to your career and showcases your robust treasury knowledge base. In addition, having a professional designation provides improved career opportunities and increased earnings potential.
  1. Continuing education
    • Continuing your education is an important step to advancing your treasury career. Not only does it keep you up to date on the latest treasury trends and what’s happening in the industry, but many companies and organizations also host free webinars that offer CTP continuing education credits

This year, the Windy City Summit Conference is going virtual, offering attendees access to live and on-demand educational sessions. Each session will provide you an opportunity to expand your treasury knowledge, and most sessions are eligible for CTP continuing education credits. If you’re not already CTP certified, CTP exam preparation courses are being offered as part of this year’s Virtual Windy City Summit. You’ll have access to attend live-streamed CTP preparation courses and, if you’re unable to attend the live, CTP prep course content will be available on-demand.

Stay tuned for more information on the Windy City Summit Conference Sessions. You can also REGISTER TODAY and save your spot.

Set New Records for Payables Speed and Efficiency

Submitted by: Wells Fargo

The cheetah. Track and field star Usain Bolt. The bullet train. All hold amazing records for speed.¹ With the U.S. launch of faster payments, your transactions can achieve new milestones in speed and efficiency, too. In November 2017, it took just three seconds for a Real-time Payment to move funds between two U.S. bank accounts.²

In an era when “now” has become the new normal, all types of faster payments — Same Day ACH, Zelle®, push to card, and Real-time Payments — can help you stay relevant with your customers, suppliers, and employees. However, with all the buzz in the market, moving beyond the hype to actual implementation can seem daunting.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to accelerate your transactions, improve your efficiency, and strengthen your key relationships. Many “faster” methods are easier to deploy than you may expect, and require little technical integration.

Replace checks and boost satisfaction

Accounts payable disbursements make the perfect starting point. One quarter of these payments still occur by paper check, adding operational costs and hampering customer experience. Consumers, in particular, prefer electronic payments, ranking their satisfaction with receiving checks at an abysmal 4.4 out of 100.³
Numerous customer and supplier disbursement opportunities exist, across industries and audience segments:

  • Merchandise returns at retailers
  • Tax refunds by government entities
  • Claims payments from insurance companies
  • Loan proceeds from lenders
  • Settlements from law firms
  • Rebates and incentives from businesses
  • Supplier invoices for just-in-time inventory

Even employees can benefit. Faster payments can speed reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenditures, facilitate bonus compensation, or pay temporary workers at the end of a shift. In the gig economy, companies that hire contract workers find immediate payments differentiate their brands in the market.

Choose the right methods for your organization

A thoughtful planning process will ensure success. Follow these steps to move forward with confidence.

Build your use cases. Start by prioritizing specific audience segments: key suppliers, retail customers, or contract employees, for example. Then, clearly define which transactions will be eligible for faster payments. Creating guidelines upfront — for dollar amounts, approvals, and other parameters — will ensure organizational support and a smooth implementation.

Pinpoint your need for speed. Even within the category, different levels of “faster” exist. For example, Real-time Payments arrive in seconds, while Same Day ACH transactions settle within 24 hours. Review the options available, then match the right speed to your business needs.

Assess your requirements. Evaluate the information needed to execute the payment, the remittance data you want to transmit, and whether these choices require updates to your accounts payable or ERP system.

Zelle transactions, for example, move with only the recipient’s email address or cell phone number, while push to card routes funds with the payee’s debit card number. Same Day ACH requires a bank account and routing number, but uses the same process as traditional ACH transactions. Remittance formats also vary by payment method. Reach out to your bank for complete details and support with technical resources.

Take an agile approach. Whichever method you choose, consider launching with a pilot project. Starting small helps you get up-and-running fast, demonstrate value quickly, and build support for a full-scale rollout.

Lastly, remember that speed is just one part of the equation; audiences today expect both immediate and effortless. To truly transform your payment experience, you may need to adjust your finance processes as well as payment velocity.

For example, what’s required to onboard a new supplier? Does the process take several days and multiple forms? Does payment type default to checks? As you embrace faster payments, take a holistic look from your audience’s perspective. Even small changes will make a substantial impact.

For more information, contact your treasury management representative.

1. Guinness Book of World Records,
2., “Real-Time Payments Successfully Gets Through Its First Test Drive,” November 14, 2017
3., “Disbursements Satisfaction Index,” Q2 2017