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© Cheryl Ann Quigley / CASH MANAGEMENT SEPA has inspired other innovations too. For example, treasurers can now take advantage of camt.086 account statements, which offer granular information on cash- and account-management expenses. These statements are an excellent way for treasurers to keep on top of their companies’ finances during periods of rapid expansion – enabling them to make informed decisions and minimise costs through greater transparency across the entire account structure. Sharing the benefits Of course, digital technology is taking root right across the business world – and this is creating opportunities for collaboration. For example, corporates can team up with banks to benefit from third- party services such as PayFX, which helps firms mitigate the risk of dealing in foreign currencies. PayFX works by allowing buyers to pay invoices directly in their supplier’s local currency – with the money converted at real-time interbank rates. This obviates the laborious process of ‘exchange-rate shopping’. Collaboration between banks and corporates is also increasing online, thanks to products such as MyBank – an online payments infrastructure that allows ecommerce customers to buy goods using their bank’s secure payment service, rather than by disclosing their details to the retailer. Not only does this offer most notably in cash management. Automation has huge potential to save treasurers time – allowing them to concentrate on new and more profitable areas Centralisation is the key here – greater security and convenience to the customer, it also benefits corporates – enabling them to automate payments processes for online trans- actions. This yields near-perfect reconciliation rates and saves countless hours that would allowing treasury departments greater control of their firms’ finances, otherwise be devoted to carrying out the process manually. With these even as operations move further afield. universal benefits, such services will surely come to be seen as Through services such as virtual accounts, for instance, treasurers essential for any party looking for reliable and secure online payments. can rationalise their company’s disparate accounts into a single “physical” account that can be divided into a near-infinite number Keeping the plates spinning of “virtual” accounts. Of course, these developments leave treasurers facing a great deal of These virtual accounts function in much the same way as normal work – executing ambitious expansion plans, collaborating with banks accounts. Indeed, some banks, such as UniCredit, even offer services and developing their strategic role, as well as dealing with increasing where each virtual account comes with its own individual account regulation. All this makes staying on top of their workload a statement – enabling local subsidiaries to execute automated considerable challenge. Digital platforms will be invaluable in this respect – enabling firms reconciliation on their accounts. What is more, SEPA’s harmonisation means a single parent to archive and share data more easily than ever. Furthermore, one of account can cover multiple European countries – with some providers the running themes throughout this piece is that digital processes even offering virtual account services covering the CEE region. This allow firms to automate routine – but previously manual – tasks. extensive coverage allows treasuries to make significant reductions in Automation has huge potential to save treasurers time – allowing them the number of accounts they hold both in and outside the euro zone. to concentrate on new and more profitable areas. Consolidation in this way improves firms’ scalability – easing Without these new efficiencies, not only will it be a struggle expansion by enabling firms to open accounts for new departments or to execute the plans necessary for expansion, it will be a struggle to subsidiaries almost instantly and independently of the bank. function at all. But with them, the path becomes clear – freeing Meanwhile, the greater transparency of virtual accounts makes it much treasurers to lead their firms to growth in new markets. easier to map exposures to various geographies – a critical advantage For further information: for treasurers looking to help their firms expand. Subscribe online @ 31 · Volume 21 · Issue 6 · July/August 2015