We’ve watched the demand for information accelerate for some time. Many of us take for granted advances that were impossible just a few years ago—everything from same-day delivery to instant downloads to the split-second movement of funds.
Now, those expectations are revolutionizing treasury management. The concept of “real-time treasury” is no longer the stuff of the distant future. Corporations, ERP vendors, banks, and fintechs are all working to inject more immediacy into financial data, decisions, and transactions.
A single system vision
It’s more than just technology that’s driving change (and a faster pace) for treasury. While automation is part of the solution, the vision of a single platform ecosystem for finance plays a greater role.
Leading businesses are embracing the goal of an all-inclusive workspace that lets treasury interact with various banks, payment applications, suppliers, and third-party providers—all from within their ERP or system of choice.
For example, with real-time treasury:
- Instead of logging into a multitude of bank portals to retrieve information, the data would feed directly to a company ERP system or treasury workstation.
- Rather than relying on provider-defined timeframes to download reports or update systems, staff could access current information at any point in the business day.
- Without delays or manual work, robust and time-sensitive insights could then fuel decision-making, liquidity management, supplier payments, foreign exchange, and even customer service.
In this way, real-time treasury translates into making time a true competitive advantage. Companies that can lean in and operate more responsively will quickly differentiate themselves in the market through stronger working capital management, tighter supplier relationships, more efficient payments, and more responsive customer service. The possibilities for real-time operations and a next-generation digital experience are many.
Harnessing the power of the cloud
Cloud computing is one of the primary forces behind real-time treasury. Most popular ERP platforms and treasury workstations now run on cloud-based servers. Unlike legacy systems that reside on premises, cloud platforms are modern, flexible, and scalable. They can harness nearly unlimited computing capacity, which greatly accelerates their ability to deliver information and services.
Flexibility is a second hallmark of a real-time environment. For years, finance has adapted its routine to the timelines of others. Accounts payable cuts checks on Tuesdays to allow five days for postal delivery. Accounts receivable posts deposits by 5 p.m. to meet bank deadlines. Leadership makes liquidity decisions based on when intra-day reporting is available.
Real-time treasury establishes a new paradigm. With API connections, robotic process automation (RPA) and other advanced tools and data feeds:
- Most data transfers seamlessly and persistently for constant access to the most current information.
- Instead of relying on batch processing or BAI files for data exchange, companies set up “always on” communication with their banks, payment providers, and trading partners.
- Treasury can configure information and data to its exact specifications and embed it within the primary system, populating the exact fields, reports, or workflows desired.
As a result, real-time treasury lets finance automate many routine, repetitive activities. It speeds reporting and decision-making and eliminates the bottlenecks found today. Simultaneously, it mitigates risk. When the majority of activities take place within the primary corporate system, it vastly reduces the number of security credentials needed to access various financial applications.
More efficient treasury operations
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities form a final layer in the real-time treasury structure. They allow finance to leverage vast amounts of data at faster speeds than any human can achieve.
When banks, fintechs, and other treasury providers embed AI into their solutions, they create smarter tools that can automate manual work, reduce exceptions, and produce data insights. Applications that match receivables to open invoices or “correct” incomplete email addresses on electronic payments are examples of AI in action.
It all adds up to real-time treasury operations that are:
- More efficient
- More timely
- More complete
Today, numerous banks and solution providers are tackling various pieces of the real-time treasury ecosystem. As your company starts its real-time journey, look for guidance from tech-savvy organizations that are committed to innovation and comfortable providing numerous conduits to treasury data. Consider how your company ingests and uses data, and where real-time information access will make the biggest impact.
Lastly, get ready for a modern, responsive, and high-velocity future with the potential to revolutionize treasury management.
For more information, contact your Wells Fargo treasury management representative or fill out the Contact Us form on this site.