Harnessing Innovation to Enhance Global Visibility
by Lisa Davis, Global Product Manager of Global Billing and Statements, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi
Globalisation, regulation and evolving business strategy create a wide range of challenges and complexities for corporate treasurers. At the same time, treasury departments globally often need to strive for operational clarity and simplicity to maintain process and information integrity and control. Technology and solution innovation can play a vital role in managing this increasing complexity. While new solutions often need to be highly sophisticated in their design and functionality, this should not compromise the ease with which treasurers can deploy them.
An essential obligation for a global bank is to find new ways of harnessing innovation to promote digitisation for automation, efficiency and control, and sustainability to reduce manual paperwork and environmentally-harmful activities. One example of digitisation, sustainability and simplification is Global Statements, providing a complete and consistent view of bank statements, transactions and fees to corporate treasurers and finance managers.
Rationalisation and standardisation
Over the past few years, many multinational corporations have sought to rationalise their bank relationships and work with a limited number of trusted banking partners on a regional or global basis. This has often proved a highly effective means of standardising processes, information flows and pricing, and gaining access to local, regional and global solutions that are specifically tailored to the company’s needs. Having established regional or global banking relationships, however, treasurers need to ensure that they have full visibility over accounts across each branch, country and region, together with outstanding transactions and other activities.
The challenge of account visibility
Visibility and control over cash balances and positions with every counterparty bank is a significant prerequisite for treasurers seeking to manage liquidity, risk, costs and operational efficiency more effectively. This is typically easier to achieve in a centralised treasury organisation, but even then it can be difficult to gain a consistent and comprehensive view of every service and how it is charged. Many find that some countries are outside the scope of their global pricing and reporting structure, and accounts may appear of which treasurers were unaware.
Furthermore, many treasury organisations deal with large volumes of data, some accessible in diverse formats through various electronic platforms, and some in hard copy. Data received through disparate means and formats is complex and time-consuming to consolidate into a consistent and useable format, and may not be up-to-date. Furthermore, it can be difficult to make decisions based on large amounts of data unless this can be structured appropriately to provide meaningful insight for the business.
Consolidated Global Statements
As part of Citi’s ongoing innovation programme to support digitisation and sustainability both within our own business and amongst our customers, we engage with our customers to find out what new capabilities would deliver the greatest value to them. As part of this constant feedback process, our customers have emphasised the importance of ‘self-service’ capabilities, enabling users to access information quickly and conveniently whenever they require it, as opposed to having to make a request to the bank. In response to this feedback, we have developed our Global Statements capability. Global Statements provide treasurers with a single consolidated view of global transaction volume and related price on a monthly or quarterly basis through our electronic banking platform CitiDirect® Online Banking, as required.