Best Treasury Management Systems & Services Providers
Accounts Payable Services
As companies increase their focus on automating payables in order to reduce the inefficiencies associated with handling paper invoices and to reduce days sales outstanding (DSO), competition among accounts payable software providers is intensifying. Banks have beefed up their AP offerings via acquisitions or strategic partnerships, but Bottomline Technologies has used its acquisition of PayMode from Bank of America in 2009 to provide a more compelling offering to customers. Last year it launched Paymode-X, its electronic order-to-pay network which combines PayMode and its e-invoicing solution, Bottomline Business exchange, bringing payments and invoicing together on one platform for the first time to facilitate financial supply chain automation. Paymode-X already connects more than 125,000 companies. Late last year it also acquired Swift service bureau, SMA Financial, which also gives it a leg up when it comes to delivering Swift corporate connectivity as part of its software-as-a-service offering.
Accounts Receivable Services
SunGard AvantGard Receivables
Receivables have become even more important in the wake of the credit crisis as companies look to reduce DSO. Having dominated this space for many years with the comprehensiveness of its solution, SunGard AvantGard Receivables bolstered its position even further with the recent announcement of its acquisition of PredictiveMetrics, a provider of predictive scoring and analytical services for trade credit, debt collections, utilities and other markets. The acquisition not only bolsters its receivables capabilities, helping companies better analyze the threat of delinquency and credit-worthiness, but it will also help SunGard develop a new solution for trade credit liquidity, thereby helping companies and banks make better-informed risk decisions when evaluating and accessing the different forms of trade credit liquidity available.
Best Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment Services
Finland-based Basware is ahead of the pack when it comes to extending the benefits of e-invoicing to companies of all sizes. It has developed a range of innovative solutions that make the transition from paper to electronic much easier for companies. One key development is its on-demand product, which provides SMEs with access to up-to-date tools for invoice automation. Its connectivity services product enables most order-to-pay documents (purchase orders and invoices) to be funneled through one channel. It also provides scanning and capture of invoices. But the real differentiator is the openness of its network, as it has interoperability agreements with suppliers and other e-invoicing networks globally, helping extend its reach.
Following its acquisition of E-Count, Citi has become a major provider of prepaid cards and is using them to help companies streamline the payroll process. According to Citi, prepaid cards can make payroll more efficient by eliminating paper checks, guaranteeing delivery and providing employees with a more secure way of accessing their cash. Prepaid cards form the basis of its Payroll Choices Program, which is being used by companies in the US that wish to make their payroll more efficient and speedier in terms of the delivery of funds via an electronic as opposed to paper-based process.
Corporate Cards & Expenses Services
J.P. Morgan has an extensive global card program footprint encompassing offerings in almost 100 countries and a multitude of currencies. It has joined forces with IBM to try and make the use of cards for travel and expense management a better-integrated, seamless set of functions. By leveraging IBM’s global expense reporting solutions, it has automated the expense reporting process so companies are able to drill down into spending in more detail. It has a dedicated team of people that use analytics to help companies gain greater control over their commercial card spending, and it also provides virtual commercial card solutions such as single-use accounts.
A repeat winner in this category, Fiserv is a major provider of electronic payment services to banks. This was bolstered by its acquisition of e-billing and e-commerce provider CheckFree back in 2007, which is now part of Fiserv’s Internet Banking and Electronic Payments Group. It continues to develop innovative solutions for e-billing and payments as well as ACH, card, credit and debit and mobile banking and payments.
Loss Prevention/Business Continuity Services
IBM is among the small handful of disaster recovery providers that analyst firms such as Forrester describe as “best in class”. It is estimated to have more than 12,000 customers in this space, which is the largest customer base among its disaster recovery/business continuity (BC/DR) peers. It can draw on a large number of global recovery facilities, including mobile, and according to Forrester, has strong consultative services that support all steps in the BC/DR process. Forrester highlighted enhancements IBM made in a number of areas including advanced disaster recovery support and emergency communications.
Pension Plan Administration Services
Mercer provides a range of technology solutions and information reporting to help with the administration of defined benefit company pension schemes. Its integrated pension administration system is an automated Web-based solution for defined benefit plans that handles data for valuation purposes, payments and reporting. And as regulations governing defined benefit plans continue to evolve, Mercer is well placed to advise companies, given its global reach. Last year Mercer Japan announced that it would collaborate with ORIX Corporation to provide an integrated service encompassing design, valuation and administrative services for Japanese corporate pension plans.
With annual revenues in excess of $5 billion, SunGard provides a wide range of software solutions as well as business continuity and managed IT services. In the corporate treasury and cash management space, SunGard AvantGard focuses on delivering solutions encompassing treasury and risk management and payables and receivables. It continues to build on its collaborative financial management strategy by delivering a platform that enables companies to hook into a suite of solutions that facilitate “transparency, efficiency and networking” across what SunGard calls the corporate ecosystem. The SunGard global network short-term cash management portal also enables treasurers and companies to trade, manage and monitor their short-term liquidity investments. On the banking side SunGard’s Ambit division provides financial institutions with a wide range of functionality to help them better service their corporate customers, deliver more innovative services and minimize risk.
Companies that use SunGard AvantGard Treasury talk of how it has helped them structure their internal organization, giving them the ability to manage a wide range of treasury, FX and risk management processes within a single application. The solution has helped customers such as French contact center management company Teleperformance gain a real-time centralized view of their global cash, liquidity and FX positions. Other customers point to the level of integration and automation they are able to achieve using SunGard Treasury. Last year SunGard also added electronic bank account management (Ebam) functionality to help companies streamline the bank account opening and management process. Treasurers can also use SunGard’s EcoSystem to connect to multiple banking providers.
Treasury Management Software
Wall Street Systems
Following a spate of acquisitions, Wall Street Systems has come to dominate the treasury management software space. Last year it acquired UK-based treasury software provider City Financials which rounded out its offering, ensuring that it was able to offer treasury management software solutions to suit companies of all sizes and with different budgets. Recognizing that treasury software is the core component, its software-as-a-service model enables treasurers to access additional functionality via a network of third-party providers. Last year Wall Street Systems also acquired one of those providers, Speranza Systems, which was one of the early proponents of Ebam. Not quite finished on the acquisition front, it bought Thomson Reuters Treasura earlier this year, giving it a stronger foothold in North America.
Mobile Solution Provider
CfC Stanbic Bank
Africa has been a hotbed of experimentation and development for mobile money transfers in the consumer space, but that experimentation is also translating into the corporate banking space with innovative providers like CfC Stanbic of Kenya using mobile for bulk payments. What is impressive about the bank’s solution is that it is not limited to customers holding an account with the bank. This nonexclusivity is key, as most banks insist that one or both parties in a mobile transaction be account holders with them. CfC Stanbic’s solution caters to the specific needs of those companies that need to make bulk payments like salaries, pensions and dividend payments to beneficiaries in remote locations where there is no bank. The mobile-banking service was developed in partnership with Safaricom, which helped pioneer the M-PESA mobile money transfer service.