The pandemic accelerated digitalization of corporate treasury and finance operations globally. The next stage of treasury’s digital transformation requires a clear plan and the right strategic partners, says Mark Troutman, Group Head of Sales, Global Transaction Services, at DBS.
In the wake of COVID-19, companies are preparing for a post-pandemic future of remote work and telecommuting, and digitizing treasury workflows and processes is a top priority.
“No longer is digitalization purely driven by commercial pressures; it is now an enterprise-wide strategic imperative to survive the new normal,” explains Mark Troutman, Group Head of Sales, Global Transaction Services, at DBS Bank. “Immediate settlement and auto reconciliation solutions are now critical success factors for businesses pivoting to (or increasing) sales via online channels.”
Exclusive research conducted by DBS supports this. In DBS' Digital Readiness Survey 2021, 89% of 2,600 corporate treasurers, CEOs, CFOs and business owners across 13 markets in APAC, the US and the UK, who participated in the survey said they faced external pressure to transform digitally. The key drivers were customers and market demand (35%), growing supply chain complexities (26%) and competitors (20%).
This change doesn’t have to be daunting. Treasuries can see immediate benefits by digitizing workflows including frictionless online sales, customer payments, no-touch financing options, managing 24x7 liquidity flows, and digital-only supplier onboarding for supply chain finance.
Digital Building Blocks
Several priorities have emerged for companies of all sizes: DBS found that, for around half of large corporates, middle-market companies and SMEs surveyed, the three most significant digital investment areas are trade and supply chain financing (57%), sales and distribution channels such as ecommerce storefronts (51%) and ongoing cash management (49%).
DBS is playing an increasingly important role in fast-tracking digital adoption for treasury, with digital building blocks for business continuity such as automating internal processes and supporting real-time treasury. Transaction transparency is a critical component for an efficient working capital cycle and effective client experience.
“The strategy is ‘digital first’ as much as possible,” according to Troutman. In trade, DBS is helping companies remove wet-ink signature requirements for lending requests and supplier onboarding.
For cash management, DBS is focused on delivering maximum impact from evolving instant payment systems in Asia. They also embraced the nascent use of cryptocurrencies, leveraging custody and exchange propositions within their treasury management solutions for crypto assets.
In an industry-first, the bank offers a completely digital process for audit confirmations, with a turnaround time of under 24 hours, as compared to the industry norm of at least seven days.
DBS’s digital capabilities are part of a long-term commitment. “We aggressively invested in digital capabilities prior to the pandemic so were ‘digital ready’ and well positioned to support customers when the pandemic hit,” says Troutman.
The DBS-Haier digital supply chain financing solution not only demonstrates advantages in being “digital ready”, but also the bank’s highly responsive and collaborative approach to partnering clients. DBS offers same-day financing to distributors of Haier products via the company’s digital supply chain platform, which uses 15 separate APIs, facial recognition and remote online account opening to register distributors for approved financing. The platform was deployed in under a month, providing lower-cost and efficient financing to support Haier’s distributors through the pandemic.
Strong strategic partnerships are a game changer in a crisis. For digital support, 85% of businesses DBS surveyed said banks are the preferred partner for keeping pace with fintech innovations and finding the right digital solutions.
DBS works with clients across the life cycle, from business development to implementation, and partners with channel partners, fintechs and platform companies. “In working with banks, corporate treasuries benefit from our ability to assess fintechs at scale, alongside our regulated access to market infrastructures and direct engagement with central banks and ministries of finance to understand evolving policies and shape their application,” says Troutman.
“Corporate IT infrastructure is playing a much greater role in the success of solution design,” explains Troutman. To facilitate client partnerships, DBS introduced an ‘Engineering Sales’ framework to help clients develop deployment strategies through direct access to the bank’s infrastructure.
“We are in a privileged position,” adds Troutman. “We deliver new capabilities and propositions with no ties to legacy systems, and we deploy solutions quickly and at lower cost than traditional transaction banks.”
To find out more, contact DBS Treasury Advisory and Solutioning team : IBGGTSTAS@dbs.com