THE CHANGING TREND
Corporates today are focused more than ever on technologies and insights that drive consolidation and integration. Treasurers and financial managers not only need quick access to reliable financial data at a consolidated level but toward that end, they demand real-time, or at least near-real-time, details about transactions, cash positions, and liquidity – enterprise-wide. They want systems that enable them to streamline payments operations, improve internal controls, better manage liquidity, and greatly improve the integration between each element of their financial supply chain.
Multiple factors have played catalyst towards adoption on technology, however the key factors can be attributed to the below:
- Shift towards cost efficiency in the financial downturn has also been a great driver for embracing technology.
- Entry of millennial in the corporate work has created a higher level of openness in moving towards digital solutions.
- Quest for innovation and to be the best in the industry
WHAT DO THE CORPORATES SEEK
Clients use a wide range of accounting and financial systems that generate information in different formats and different sets of data based on the Industry vertical they operate in. Despite these variations, when clients look to their bank for integration services, they expect the bank to be easy to do business with and to provide automated, seamless data connectivity and integration. In short, banks are now just an extension of their own business, a partner in the truest sense.
Bank solutions are now expected to go beyond simple cash management like collections, payments or liquidity management. Similarly, the relationships with banks have gone deeper than the simple presales and post-sales function in trade financing and supply chain finance
Solutions are dynamic in nature and require fine-tuning on a regular basis based on the changing needs of the customer and the market. While there are common needs for companies in similar industries, it is important to remember that one size does not fit all, and different services must be adapted and tailored to the client.
Each client in a specific industry has a unique set of business arrangements with its counterparties and technology requirements based on their corporate treasury organizational structure, geographic footprint, and treasury technology sophistication. A consistent financial institution brand experience is important to corporate clients, but the experience needs to be tailored to each client needs in line with how the industry in which the client operates, and more importantly tailor-made to meet unique needs. For the largest, most complex organizations, an even more bespoke and customized experience
is critical. Banks need to develop a holistic digital strategy that will result in the creation of agile solutions which are simple to use and gives consistent customer experience.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CLIENT
The road to offering solutions starts with appreciating the existing processes that clients follow. Considering client perspectives, and in turn showcasing this understanding of core business processes and systems infrastructure, is the first step towards creating value. By providing seamless and catered experiences to clients, Mashreq Bank will thus stand out as the primary bank of choice.
There are various methodologies behind creating these values, and it is imperative that one follows a disciplined approach. The following may some of them:
- Plot the clients’ working capital cycle and analyze the same, understand what are the key client needs
- Understand the clients’ key counterparties and their terms
- Understand the peculiarities that makes each industry different from the other
- Understand clients processes & the systems
- Track the industry that the client operates in, in the country of operations and globally
The objective is to structure solutions that are relevant, seamless and reliable; and crucial to effective working capital management and business planning.
BUILD A DIGITAL VALUE PROPOSITION
At any point in time, products and services need to continue to revolve around clients as they are indeed central to long term goals. Solutions should strive to fulfill their needs on an end-to-end basis. Every function within the corporate set-up have different objectives but are aligned towards a common goal. Analyzing the challenges of clients and key decision makers should be of paramount importance at all times.
The key objectives for the corporate CFO is to align financial strategies in line with business goals and at the same time, be nimble to take advantage of opportunities available at that time. The corporate treasurers will need to manage their funding position at optimum levels to ensure maximum gains.
With the market situation being very dynamic, key challenges revolve around Risk, Controls, Information, Access, Liquidity and efficiency. It’s extremely important to map how the digital solution is able to address each of the challenges. Solution at your fingertips needs to elaborate how automated reconciliation leads to an ability to speed your working capital cycles, access controls would enable operational risk to be eliminated.
Finally the return on investment of solutions continue with focus on outcome from the corporate perceptive; showcasing of tangible benefits overcomes resistance in the form of cost and change.
WHEN EXPERTISE MEETS TECHNOLOGY
As the world continues to get digital, so will corporates; agile and digitally advanced products should not just meet but exceed the customer requirements. In a rapidly changing environment, it is important to be relevant, both in terms of technology and knowledge in order to present value and comparative advantage to corporates.
Mashreq Bank – Head of Global Transaction Services, Product & Trade
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author view) and do not convey any institutional