This past week I delivered the presentation, Cash Flow and Your Payment Strategy to an audience of treasury and cash management professionals on Friday morning, the last day of the Windy City Summit held in Chicago USA. For the last thirty years, financial service professionals from across the country, travel to Chicago for three and a half days of sessions ranging from liquidity, asset management, risk and compliance, forecasting and cash flow management. Many attendees are certified cash managers and this conference provides the courses required to maintain their certification.
However, surprisingly my session on Friday morning at 8: 30 am was well attended. It was a surprise because usually by the last day of the conference, attendance is lower than the previous days. A number of attendees entered the presentation room ready to learn about implementing a payment strategy to deliver the cash flow results. So many thoughts were going through my head the morning of the presentation. But there was one thing I failed to plan for last Friday morning. I left my laptop at the hotel and did not bring my presentation so I had to make some quick decisions.
I decided to turn what would be a presentation to an interactive discussion and get input from the audience about the key opportunities and challenges they face in doing with day to day jobs around cash flow management. So I started to ask questions about their jobs, the cash flow strategies employed, their budget process and the procedures followed to solicit help from their organization around the yearly planning and budget process. Through this interaction, it was obvious that many organizations conduct their annual planning process in silos, with little input across the functional team. The group realized this is a key challenge in their organization but are open to make changes based on our discussion. I provided some real examples how some organizations manage their budget review by getting all stakeholders in a “virtual room” to ensure all stakeholders are fully aware of both the dollars budgeted and their respective strategies to achieve their respective goals.
The objective of the presentation was to provide cash and treasury managers the objectives to increase revenues, reduce costs, accelerate product development, improve time to market increase business agility. The mechanics used to develop a cash flow module was out of scope of the presentation. The real focus was helping the attendees to gain an understanding on how to build a comprehensive payment strategy in order to make a better return on cash decisions. The numbers are important but failing to implement a strategy to drive the numbers results in a massive misalignment and potentially missing the budget the following year.
Below are some key points from the discussion. The objectives of the payment strategy should include the following the 4 R’s.
One of the key drivers to improve cash flow is automation. A number of companies have implemented digital solutions to accelerate cash flow and automate expenses. Technology is key driver that continues to help companies improve cash flow. The presentation included several examples of companies that implemented an Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) solution and have documented the benefits achieved when their customers migrated from check to a digital remittance solution.
Additionally, another case study focused on the healthcare industry that is ripe for disruption. By making use of modern electronic payment services, healthcare providers will be able to offer patient payment options that increase the likelihood they will pay for their treatments post care. Many healthcare companies have implemented a patient portal solution to capture digital payments at the point of service or make payments post service via the portal.
There are many examples where automation can improve cash flow. Despite the cost to implement, in many cases, the return on investment can be realized within a specific timeframe.
Wayne Brown focuses as the bridge between FinTech and financial institutions, working with FinTech companies and banks to find and create mutually profitable opportunities. Our varied market segments enable us to identify synergies and opportunities to stimulate growth as we partner with our clients to grow their business. For more information please contact me at email@example.com.