Bots give straight-through processing a leg up.
The potential of improving reconciliation, cash liquidity and payments has made virtual accounts an attractive cash management tool in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as it has elsewhere.
Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), winner of this year’s Best Bank for Cash Management award, developed VAM@Web to provide clients easy access to all information related to their virtual account, providing account balance and payment transactions for virtual accounts and physical accounts as well.
Sabine Zucker, head of RBI’s Trade Finance and Transaction Banking division, notes that customers using many bank accounts often find it difficult to track their flow of payments. “Virtual accounts fulfill corporates’ desire to streamline cash and liquidity management and to simplify bank account structures.”
As RBI’s corporate customers allocate one or more virtual accounts to their company units, such as divisions or branches, RBI designs its virtual account hierarchies to reflect individual business needs.
“Payments and collections to or from virtual accounts are immediately booked on the company’s linked physical bank account,” she explains. “As cash is automatically centralized in a single bank account, individual transactions are displayed on each virtual account. Complex cash pools might be replaced by virtual account management solutions providing similar functionalities to customers to manage transaction flows and liquidity efficiently.”
UniCredit, winner of the Best Bank for Liquidity Management award, has also invested in virtual accounts to help remove some of the pain treasurers typically experience with complex cash pooling and reconciliation efforts.
“We seek to support clients with tailored solutions that facilitate their everyday liquidity management operations,” says Riccardo Madinelli, head of Global Transaction Banking for CEE at UniCredit. “We remain well positioned to further enhance our cash management and working capital offering, leveraging both digitalization and comprehensive know-how at a local and regional level to meet clients’ evolving needs and proactively advise them when it comes to liquidity risks and opportunities.”
Automation enables the improvement of treasury processes, providing significant benefits to corporate customers. According to the authors of The Forrester Wave: Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021 report, “Customers want to scale existing bot environments and extend the scope of their automation projects beyond classic desktop-based tasks to more-complex processes.”
For treasurers, such rollouts would provide endless possibilities to reduce manual processes. “Efficiency and cost reduction by automating processes are of utmost importance for RBI and its customers,” says Zucker. “Therefore, RBI continually reviews its processes and invests in smart automation in defined operational business fields by introducing new robots with the additional goal of reducing operational risk. By handling standardized checks and working on trained tasks, bots are leading to higher straight-through processing rates. Manual efforts on the operational side are reduced to a minimum.”
Sberbank, which took home the Best Bank for Payments & Collections award, automates routine processes to enable its corporate customers, including small and microbusinesses, to grow via its SberBusiness web- and mobile-banking apps.
Sberbank is the largest provider of clearing services and ruble liquidity for financial institutions, facilitating more than 350 million ruble-denominated transactions in 2021 with the value of 5.7 trillion rubles ($75.7 billion) for more than 500 banks in 45 countries. Innovative online payments and collections solutions mean businesses can cut operational time, use remote online services and say goodbye to paper documentation.
The dawn of a new digital treasury across CEE is becoming a reality, thanks to the proliferation of virtual assistants, virtual accounts and the continued quest to retire outdated manual processes.