Sara Berujon (JP Morgan) : How APIs are delivering real-time data for corporate treasurers ?
Treasurers are using APIs to move from traditional manual processes to the treasury of tomorrow. Here we explore some of the pillars behind this digital transformation strategy: automated treasury operations, real-time visibility, real-time payments and multi-bank data.
The potential for APIs to automate treasury tasks is substantial and on the rise.
And in the current environment, automation and digital transformation are more necessary than ever as corporates strive for real-time monitoring of cash flows, optimisation of working capital and the flexibility to respond to rapid changes in the macro landscape.
Of course, the cost of these rewards is the investment in tech integration. This has been a perennial challenge, particularly when working through legacy systems.
One potential solution is to think of technology and treasury as one unit. Consider the following real-life examples of how treasurers have unlocked synergy to drive growth.
"APIs can help reduce manual error and increase operational efficiency throughout the end-to-end payment chain."
Achieve real-time reconciliation with treasury APIs
Traditionally, treasury operations have relied on an end-of-day reconciliation process using SWIFT MT940. Treasurers are now looking to use APIs to provide real-time data to guide and enhance more immediate decision-making on liquidity and investments.
API case study:
A global leasing firm had a fast-moving, account-intensive business model and wanted to move to real-time provision of account data into their TMS, rather than the traditional D+1 via MT940.
The firm worked with J.P. Morgan and their treasury management system (TMS) provider to implement an API gateway that delivered real-time balance reporting, followed closely by real-time transaction reporting. This integration delivered many benefits, including:
Instant visibility of the company’s cash position ensures that idle balances across J.P. Morgan accounts are minimized.
Real-time balance and transaction reporting help treasury to track the movement of cash effectively.
Reconciling transactions across accounts daily helps to minimize the risk of fraud.
Real-time reporting has enabled the treasury team to come closer to its goal of closing month-end on the first day of the month.
Get started in a matter of days with plug-and-play APIs
APIs can help reduce manual error and increase operational efficiency throughout the end-to-end payment chain. This in turn can deliver data for the treasury department to build a simple portal where they can get visibility into all their transactions, whatever stage they are in, without having to contact their bank. That’s the intelligent part of intelligent automation.
API case study:
J.P. Morgan worked with a manufacturing firm who had an ambition to obtain real-time treasury data. With factories and business across the world, it was vital that Autoneum obtained a comprehensive and accurate view of their global liquidity. Following initial discovery discussions, the firm installed our spreadsheet plug-in as its channel to access account data. The entire solution was installed, tested and implemented within nine days. The treasury team can now access real-time information, improving its reconciliation and forecasting processes and redressing the previous lack of visibility over their accounts, resulting in several benefits:
Ability to retrieve real-time data from its accounts across the world at the click of a button and consequently reconcile transactions in real-time.
All data is imported directly into the existing spreadsheet software, which contributes to easier reconciliation, forecasting, and integration with existing processes. Additionally, all data is materialized in pre-configured templates, further enhancing the ease of use and facilitating the data’s integration into existing processes.
APIs facilitate a real-time view of activity on accounts and users’ entitlements, helping to prevent fraudulent access and activities.
Take advantage of new real-time payments rails
Similarly, in the payments space, treasurers have been adopting APIs to take advantage of new real-time payment rails in Europe and the U.S. Perhaps the most significant example is SEPA Instant – the first cross-border faster payments scheme. SEPA Instant regulations stipulate that payments must move from point A to point B within 10 seconds, so API integration is a must.
API case study:
A consumer technology firm wanted to move to real-time cash-out for suppliers and vendors. In particular, the lack of instant cash-out for their delivery vendors was leading to retention and onboarding challenges at a time of increased demand for deliveries during the pandemic.
J.P. Morgan delivered a fully API-driven end-to-end payment solution that allowed the firm to validate accounts, manage real-time driver payment initiations and report on transactions. The extra security can reduce transaction costs through improved approval rates and can also reduce administrative automated clearing house (ACH) returns or unauthorized transactions. The firm has reported that over 60% of their vendors have taken up the new instant cash-out feature.
Start small and keep it simple
Connecting through APIs can initially seem overwhelming, but it can be much simpler than it looks, particularly as adoption grows throughout the financial services ecosystem.
We believe that it is sensible to start exploring the possibilities now. Even if you are not ready to execute a project, consider discussing your needs and requirements with your bank, as this may be beneficial further down the line.