Implementing a TMS for the 21st Century at Avalon Health Care
By Terry Nelson, Treasury and Accounting Services Manager, Avalon Health Care Group
With an eye on improving internal processes around payments and reconciliations, as well as providing greater cash visibility, Avalon Health Care Group (Avalon) chose TreasuryXpress – a high-value, easy-to-use and easy-to-implement TMS – as their partner for treasury transformation. Treasury and accounting have seen huge efficiency benefits from the implementation and management now have transparency over cash flows at the click of a button.
When I joined Avalon in April 2018, it took almost a month for our previous TMS provider to grant me access to the system. As well as being unimpressed with the customer service, we were connected to only a few large banks via the old TMS, despite working with more than 10 banks in total. With a vision for an automated, digital treasury function, I was keen to connect more banks to the TMS and, ultimately, be able to have all our banking relationships on a single platform.
Conversations with our accounting department also flagged up some pain points they wanted to address – such as being able to push out payments via a one-stop shop, rather than having to log on to several different banking platforms and make payments manually. As an initial step, I reached out to our previous TMS provider and requested a proposal. Not only was there a delay in responding, but when the proposal came back, it was extremely expensive for our size and our needs. Based on the return on investment (ROI), we were struggling to make the business case.
Taking a different path
We started the request for proposal (RFP) process with various players in the TMS market. My predecessor had left behind some information on TreasuryXpress and the team called me at just the right time, so of course we included them in the RFP process. The other proposals and solutions we evaluated were robust and each had their merits, but we liked what TreasuryXpress had to offer. It was not only a question of pricing, which was more economical than most, but the ability to have access for all users, without being nickel and dimed. The majority of vendors will charge you more for additional users, TreasuryXpress doesn’t. As such, we could have the benefits and services that we required without the need for us to reorder our priorities.
Of course, the solution itself was a great fit, too. One of the most significant pain points we were looking to solve was the workflow relating to Positive Pay. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, Positive Pay is an automated cheque fraud detection tool offered by many banks in the US. In its simplest form, it matches the account number, cheque number and dollar amount of each cheque presented for payment against a list of cheques previously authorised and issued by the company. This requires significant communication between us and the banks, transmitting the detail around every single cheque by uploading a file or manually entering it on a bank’s portal.
We were keen to explore a more streamlined way of achieving this, while ensuring that cheque fraud did not occur. This was the first pain point that TreasuryXpress solved for us, by digitising Positive Pay efforts and removing all human intervention from the process. We can now access Positive Pay files from our ERP and automatically transmit the files to our banks. At the time of this article, we are live with all of our banks and already, this has saved a huge amount of time. We no longer have to log on to multiple bank portals and all of the manual effort has been automated. We’re delighted with the results.
Through TreasuryXpress we are also consolidating payment processing and controls by initiating, approving and managing all payments through a single platform. This has brought numerous efficiency benefits. For example, we wanted to have a more rigid approval workflow for ACH files – some banks will allow approval after the ACH files have been uploaded; other banks won’t. The challenge we were facing was duplication of files. That was time-consuming and it was sometimes unclear whether we were making payments twice.
TreasuryXpress has a workflow approval process that we’re currently completing, and it’s functioning very well thus far. We have already achieved a much more streamlined ACH file workflow, eliminating duplication, as well as providing a line of sight and an audit trail.
Another pain point that TreasuryXpress is helping us to address is bank reconciliations. Previously, the process was highly manual – involving Excel spreadsheets and macros – and, as a result, we were working with stale information. Right now, we are collaborating with TreasuryXpress to replace the manual process for reconciliations with an automated workflow, ensuring they are performed daily, without human errors.