By Morne Klynsmith – Head of Treasury Technology, TreasuryONE
Despite the hurdles that existing bank connectivity provides, as explained in our previous article, real-time visibility of accounts is crucial. Treasurers and organisations need to make liquidity and cash flow decisions based on real-time data, rather than prior days’ data. With the re-emphasis on cash forecasting and liquidity management with the current economic turmoil worldwide, real-time data is key in informing the treasury department. The faster an organisation can access their cash balances around the world, the faster it can react.
Unfortunately, a common complaint among corporate treasurers has been the lack of real-time visibility into cash and treasury management platforms. In fact, according to the PWC 2019 Global Treasury Benchmarking Survey, more than a quarter of global cash is not visible to the corporate treasury on a daily basis.
Treasury of the future – with API technology
Economic complexity, corporate growth and new banking relationships mean that treasury technology and payment infrastructures need to be agile. They must scale, consolidate fragmented data sources and present information in real-time in order to drive the most appropriate and timely action for optimising working capital. And most importantly must be API-enabled to deal with the future of connectivity.
APIs (application programming interfaces) are simply communication tools for software applications. Put simply, this technology allows two systems to communicate in real-time. In short, APIs are designed to help build better applications. This means that banks can use APIs to facilitate faster connectivity than what has been used in legacy environments.
In Europe and the US, some banks are starting to offer premium API packages to corporates, and the corporates are already taking advantage of the benefits.
The fast-tracking of the development of API functionality by South African banks will be a game changer for treasury teams. The potential that APIs offer to automate treasury tasks is substantial and can assist treasurers in optimising their cash and payment management functionality by having access to “real-time” data in its truest form. APIs will provide real-time data to guide and enhance more immediate decision-making on liquidity and investments, retrieve live bank balances and transactions, payment initialisation, payment status acknowledgements, account entitlements, account verification, shareholding balances and more.
API technology in corporate banking
API technology makes it possible for organisations of all sizes to have access to real-time financial data. A secure cloud-based platform connected to the organisation’s banking footprint offers 100% cash visibility of global banking operations through a secure, centralised platform.
By using APIs for bank connectivity, organisations will be able to take advantage by using technology that provides access to a one-portal banking platform to execute payments and obtain cash visibility in real-time, to any bank account, any currency, and in any country. Once implemented, it will also remove the burden on organisations to manage users across multiple banking portals, allowing for digitised and standardised payment policies and user administration on a single platform.
Today, the need for quick decision-making is more important than ever. This is what the new way of corporate banking will provide.