VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2
Products & Priorities Shifting as a result of the crisis
Maximizing efficiency, increasing working capital and enhancing controls – these are the key tenants of any businesses cash management strategy. Sustainability, efficiency, scalability, profitability and control – if finely tuned –should be synonymous with resiliency.
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The crisis in which we have found ourselves only intensifies the importance of these goals and objectives – but it has brought to the forefront and relevance the concept of resiliency.
Businesses have been forced to modify daily routines and they are looking for innovative ways to accomplish manual tasks such as the duties surrounding accounts receivable and accounts payable. A key realization for astute business owners and managers is that tactics implemented out of necessity have enterprise-wide value the post-crisis ‘new normal’.
The top commercial banks began investing in ‘integrated’ solutions for their treasury and payment programs 10+ years ago. These offerings are now embedded in the operations of larger companies. Integrated A/P and A/R capabilities infer a more comprehensive capability whereby in A/P, for example, straight through processing of an accounts payable file might result in a single payment stream that includes electronic payments as well as an outsourced check printing and mailing option. In the A/R space, it’s a similar continuum where all in-coming payments (check, Card, ACH, Wires) are integrated by the bank and sent to the business in a single integrated daily file. Some banks now even offer the ability to outsource the invoice printing and/or electronic delivery to further enhance the overall ‘order-to-cash’ workflow.
The large businesses that have embraced these services are grateful today – as the manual effort within these companies (printing and signing checks or having to be on-site to collect mail and make deposits) is virtually non-existent. This is a clear benefit not only from an efficiency, working capital and control angle, but today -the business resiliency and employee safety aspect is a major by-product.
ACBB recognizes a huge opportunity here for the community FI space. We are committed to a significant investment in solutions like these that are scaled to suit the small business market and for industry sectors that are prevalent users of community FIs. The ACBB difference is that our people have industry-leading experience, a vast network of partners and a singular focus on enabling community FIs to delivers holistic solutions to your customers.
We are bringing to market a select set of offerings in the treasury and payment category that are designed to be a ‘digital-first’, asset-light, rapid-to-market with a fully-enabled go-to market plan. There is a recognition that deploying integrated technology involved complexity and resources that big companies struggle to justify. So, for the small business market, our approach will be simple solutions that can have a massive impact on efficiency and controls without the ‘heavy lift’ of a fully integrated capability. Full integration is most definitely a goal and a capability further down the road – but we see ‘quick hits’ and massive value creation in the digital-first approach. Your institution will have the ability to deliver robust solutions without the overhead of implementing a platform or building a team.
For the small business audience, the A/P solution is a virtual card program that allows businesses to dramatically reduce the number of checks they write by substituting a single use account ‘virtual’ credit card into the accounts payable process. For, A/R – our offering is led by an electronic invoice/bill presentment tool that allows companies to digitize the invoicing/billing process for both business and consumer receipts as well as supporting the transition to electronic payments vs. checks.
For smaller businesses now grappling with stay at home orders – even a modest reduction in paper and manual process could mean a difference in the time spent in the office – and a more effective business resiliency strategy.
ACBB remains focused on its core solution set as well – and we have seen an unprecedented re-focus on the ‘resiliency’ aspects of just about everything we do. Consider the number of critical functions community FIs are conducting through our ACBBXNET portal. What has been invaluable to many of our users has been the ease with which users have been able to maintain connectivity with our services through ACBBXNET from remote locations.
Another focus has been on back-up options. The crisis has highlighted the value and importance of back-up to access key funds transfer and payment initiation channels (ACH origination, foreign and domestic wires, etc.). ACBB is refining its offerings that allow community FIs to easily use our platforms as a contingency to other providers or to the Federal Reserve Bank in a scenario where perhaps a less reliable work-from-home power or wi-fi outage could cause a major interruption of basic needs.
The challenges we are all facing reinforce the market for the types of solutions that drive efficiency, control and ultimately impact resiliency. We acknowledge too that these solutions are only valuable and practical to the extent that our team can distill the expertise and technical aspects to a point where they can be practically applied into the community FI and smaller business market where resources are simply more scarce. This is a huge commitment at ACBB as well – as we are continuously training our team on the nuances of these capabilities – not only from a technical perspective, but how they apply now and into the future.
William Booth, SVP, Head of Product Strategy & Innovation