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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, www.guinnessworldrecords.com/products/books/superlatives/fastest
2. PYMTS.com, “Real-Time Payments Successfully Gets Through Its First Test Drive,” November 14, 2017
3. PYMTS.com, “Disbursements Satisfaction Index,” Q2 2017

New Technology – Understanding Basic Concepts

Written by: Francesco Tonin
Bloomberg L.P.

I was recently planning content with a TV producer for a show on currencies, including crypto currencies. I asked if she knew how a bitcoin miner can verify that you possess your private key without the miner knowing your private key. I understand when you pay online with a credit card the bank has a record of the card number on file, they verify the number was inputted correctly. But a bitcoin miner does not know your private key, so how in the world can they verify that you have one?

Her answer was a very simple blanket statement, similar to other responses I have received to the same question. Her reply, “it was possible thanks to blockchain technology.” This is the right answer if you currently work in corporate treasury and will never have anything to do with blockchain. But it accepts our inability to crack the concepts that make blockchain technology so powerful. If we as treasury professionals do not understand, own, direct and manage those powerful tools, then we will be relegated to the corner.

This blanket statement is not the same answer you will find at the Windy City Summit!

Soon, firms will adopt software that will run on blockchain technology for payments, document processing or other workflows. It is a sound financial decision for firms that will increase profits. We must prepare today for tomorrow’s technology. Educating ourselves today will give us the ability to understand the basic concepts to be able to contribute to the discussion on the new blockchain technology, this will not be difficult, but it requires a little effort, a little attention and a little self-challenge.

At the 2018 Windy City Summit I presented the core concepts of blockchain. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of attendee interaction. The questions, ideas and insight from the attendees was extraordinary. The Annual Windy City Summit encourages attendees to be part of the debates, to challenge the speakers, examine new technology and see how it may or may not impact their day-to-day processes. That is why people attend the Windy City Summit year after year: to gain exposure to new ideas, to discuss and engage in questions about hard concepts on which a Google search is unlikely to shed much light.

Those who attended the blockchain technology presentation last year will not be relegated to the corner when blockchain becomes a reality at their firm. They will manage these powerful tools all because they are prepared.

I hope you attend the 2019 Annual Windy City Summit and start preparing for your technology future.

 

New Treasury Technology Track

Written by:  Robert Chan, CDK Global, 2019 Windy City Summit Program Chair

The Windy City Summit is excited to announce a new track of sessions available at the 2019 meeting.  The Treasury Technology track will feature sessions on Innovative technologies in the treasury and financial industry that create new and improved financial services for companies and users.  Some examples include FinTech (APIs, process automation, artificial intelligence, computer software), disruptive technology, POBO/ROBO, blockchain, digital wallet, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, machine learning, robo-advisers, etc.

Technology can help treasurers simplify and streamline their day to day tasks but there is also a concern as to how new FinTech will impact treasury jobs. The Windy City Summit will provide educational sessions to help attendees utilize the assistance technology provides while managing any risks associated with it.

We are rolling out this new track in our Call for Presentations which opened on October 15 and will close on Friday, November 30.  Have you implemented one of these new technologies at your company? Can you help your colleagues choose a software to maximize their ROI?  Do you have a case study to share?  We welcome your submission to the Call for Presentations and look forward to many robust sessions in this growing and evolving area. Call for Presentation Guidelines are located here.

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Transition – Taking Good to Great

Meriam-Webster defines transition as a change from one concept to another. Transition defines the Annual Windy City Summit as a change from good to great. 2018 was an amazing year of first-time opportunities for all in attendance at the Windy City Summit. From the new technology lounge, to the introduction of one day passes, to the new Risk Management Track, the opportunities were bountiful.

As we reevaluate 2018 and start our transition into 2019, we are transforming from good to great.

While 2018 gave us a new website with a great look and feel, 2019 kicks it out of the park by bringing Windy City Summit followers a new sleek looking logo and a website that is amazingly user friendly and easy to read on all electronic devices. Windy City Summit has taken the words “user-friendly” and kicked them up more than a few notches, check it out for yourself here.

2018 introduced the Technology Lounge which received rave reviews, this area offered attendees headshots, charging stations and space for unlimited networking opportunities.  The Technology Lounge is expanding in 2019 and will give you the chance to learn more about the newest FinTech products and services through the Tech Tips sessions provided by sponsors and exhibitors.

There are many exciting learning opportunities and even more time for networking with peers in 2019.  A Technology Track has been added to our line-up of sessions.  We have added the Learning Lounge, with 25-minute sessions to create more dynamic learning opportunities for all while giving you even more ways to earn CTP credits.  Networking has always been an important part of the Windy City Summit experience and this year we are bringing back the Opening Reception in the exhibit hall on Tuesday evening.

We are keeping many of the new offerings from last year.  2019 will offer knowledgeable speakers, 1-day passes, abundant networking opportunities, free CTP prep courses, great food, and a mobile app and social wall that keeps attendees in the know! Windy City Summit is excited for the Annual event and can’t wait for you to see everything we have planned.

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