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  • January 11, 2019
    Articles

    Automated bank fee analysis with TIP
    in five steps

    Bankgebührenanalyse

    Save money and gain an overview of your payment processes

    Bank fee analysis is for treasurers with too much spare time.” – When Treasury departments need to get by with scarce resources, there are more important things to do than chasing banks for missing fee statements, querying unclear charges or dealing with a lack of standardisation in statement formats. It is also understandable that checking bank fees was often a bone of contention. Even those treasurers who could find enough time to deal with this mammoth task needed to first negotiate hard with their banks and then tediously work their way through mountains of data. The value of the information obtained as a result rarely warranted the effort, which is why bank fee analysis was soon shelved at most corporates.

    Fortunately, these times are over. As a result of pressure from corporates, most banks have in the meantime created the basis for automatic bank fee analysis. TIPCO has been on the forefront of this issue from the outset and, with its treasury information platform TIP, has developed a tool which can efficiently process, interpret and analyse electronic fee statements. This article explains exactly how bank fee analysis works and why it can even be fun.

     

    Step 1: Call your bank and organise your data 

    A bank is a supplier like any other. This means that a bank needs to ensure that what it charges is in line with what was agreed and has to regularly provide a transparent invoice (statement) setting out all of the services it has provided. While we have admittedly never heard of a bank that proactively provides its corporate clients with detailed fee statements, most banks are willing and able to do this if requested. In times of blockchain technology and autonomous cars, it also goes without saying that banks need to provide you with electronic fee statements. The following formats exist as options:  

    • camt.086 (the most up-to-date and recommended format)
    • TWIST BSB (the predecessor of CAMT.086)
    • EDI.822 (used in North America)


    These formats contain bank fee information in the form of codes which are initially difficult for a layman to decrypt and which can vary from bank to bank. In most part, however, they all contain the same information:

    • Which account is involved?
    • What type of service has been provided?
    • Which fee was charged for this service?
    • How often was a fee charged for this service?
    • How high are the total costs?

     

    The total costs associated with all services provided in connection with and charged to your accounts within a month are equivalent to the monthly fees associated with your payment transactions and other cash management services. If you automate and reliably monitor the billing of these services as part of your bank fee analysis process, you can reduce your costs by 10% to 20% while at the same time optimising your internal processes.

    You might well ask what bank fee analysis has to do with internal processes. The answer is easy: Besides monitoring the application of the fees you have negotiated, the information you obtain by fully checking your banks’ fee statements also enables you to investigate your accounts and the nature of the services you source. Are there any unnecessary accounts which could be closed? Do certain subsidiaries make unusual numbers of cash transactions or are expensive services such as fax-based transfers frequently used that are really unnecessary? The findings delivered by bank fee monitoring can quickly lead to major savings, improve your compliance and considerably optimise your payment processes.

     

    Step 2: Get your accounts in order

    Bank fee analysis depends on numerous working steps which need to be systematically applied. The easiest way to do this is to set up a clear workflow which guides you step-by-step through all of the tasks and even learns from your past inputs. Over time, the manual work necessary decreases and the goal of largely automated monitoring gets closer and closer.

    The first step is making sure that your bank and your system understand one another when identifying your accounts. Based on the fee statements submitted in the electronic formats mentioned above, the identifiers the bank uses for your accounts need to be mapped to the account identifiers in the system. In the case of existing accounts, this step only needs to be performed once. After this has been done, the workflow will only ask you to take action if a new account has been opened or an existing account closed.

    Our clients are often shocked at the results once this ‘account mining’ process has been completed. It is not uncommon for accounts to crop up which have been forgotten and which urgently need to be dealt with.

    Workflow: Mapping unknown and new accounts

    Workflow: Mapping unknown and new accounts

    The workflow provides an instant overview of all accounts which require your attention and automatically proposes the appropriate working steps. If you first need to discuss a ‘new’ account internally or with your bank, you can also automatically set up a task list for this.

    How is an account mapped?
    In the simplest case, an account will already exist in your system and the only thing you need to do is to map the previously unknown code used by your bank to the existing account on your internal list of accounts. In future, this account will be automatically identified by the system and the issue is done and dusted.

    Things get more interesting however if an account contained in the bank’s fee statement cannot be found on your internal list of bank accounts. Either it dawns on you why this account exists, then simply set up the account in the system using the data provided (such as the bank name, currency, account number or IBAN). Other systems such as your ERP or TMS will also be automatically informed about the existence of this previously unrecorded account during this step. This allows you to gradually complete your portfolio of accounts in all your systems. A pleasant side effect of bank fee analysis.

    But what if the account is entirely unfamiliar to you? For example, the general manager of a local subsidiary may only recently have opened it. Just add it to your task list to be clarified during your next internal meeting. Another plausible scenario: fees continue to be charged for an account which you thought had been closed a long time ago. By marking the account for discussion with the bank, you put it on the task list for your next bank meeting.

    As soon as it is clear how you need to proceed with the account, then the status of this account is changed and it is therefore documented what needs to happen in the next step.

     

    Discuss this account

    An account is updated with the status “Discuss this account with bank“. The four-eyes principle can also be applied if necessary for compliance reasons.

    Step 3: Check services and validate fees

    Once you have identified all of your accounts, the next step entails checking all of the services and the associated fees charged. Due to the considerable number of services which could be contained in the bank fee statement, it is particularly helpful that the system facilitates an easy and efficient process.

    This working step essentially revolves around two key questions:

    • Has the service provided been agreed with the bank?
    • If so, has the right fee been charged for this service?

     

    Checking new fees

    New fees are checked in the workflow with regard to their being correct and can either be marked for internal clarification or external discussion with the bank in question.

    A glance at the workflow is all it takes to identify that the latest statement of fees includes services which haven’t been charged in the past and which therefore require attention. Again, manual intervention required will decrease over time: While all of the fee positions will initially be flagged as ‘new’, with each subsequent round of analysis the number of these positions will decline until only those items for which the bank has not previously charged you will be highlighted.

    How to allocate the correct fee to a service:

    If the details included in the statement are correct, i.e. the fee agreed and the fee charged correspond, the service charged on the statement can be imported into the list of agreed fees at the click of a button. The next time, the system will identify this fee automatically thus ensuring a swift and reliable analysis.

    If the service has been agreed with the bank but an incorrect fee has been charged on the statement, you can allocate the correct fee yourself in just a few mouse clicks. Once this one-off procedure is completed, the system takes over again.

     

    Fees can be allocated, newly set up and modified in the system in just a few mouse clicks.

    During this working step, you can also flag fees which should in future be avoided within your corporate group. These fees generally relate to services in connection with unwanted payment methods (e.g. express payment services, fax-based payments, manual transactions, etc.) and point to processes which need to be internally discussed and optimised. Once flagged, these positions no longer go unnoticed, generating unnecessary costs or security risks. Instead, a press of a button will be all it takes for you to check the status of your payment processes in future.

     

    Unwanted Services

    Unwanted services can be flagged as such with one click.

    And in case you stumble across unknown or unjustified fees: A click is all it takes to mark these positions and automatically shift them into the task folder to be discussed at the next opportunity. It’s as easy as that.

     

    Step 4: Bank fee analysis at the press of a button 

    The system can now fully automatically interpret and check your bank fee statements. It knows the relevant account and fee codes and the correct rates which the bank is entitled to charge. That’s all that is necessary to monitor your statements on a monthly basis. Once again, workflows are best suited to support you with this recurring task because even if there are only a limited number of accounts to be analysed, the amount of manual work necessary to do so would be excessive. The workflow, however, ensures that only those statements which warrant a closer look are actually scrutinised:

     

    Bank Fee Analysis

    The workflow only lists those positions for which the system has identified discrepancies. Simply mark them for discussion or request refunds immediately.

    The list only contains positions where the workflow has identified deviations between the agreed fees and the fees delivered in the statement. This way you can speedily analyse how the deviations arose. Also, the expected total volume of fees, computed as items charged times agreed fee per item, is displayed and contrasted with the actual total volume of fees charged. The next step lets you either directly generate a list of refund requests at the click of a button or set up a task list of items to be discussed at the next internal or external meeting.

    As total costs charged could also be incorrect due to the volumes (i.e. number of items) charged being incorrect, the last step also entails determining the actual volumes of transactions and services initiated and contrasting these with the volumes delivered in the statement of fees. The best data source for the number of payment transactions is your electronic account statements. This is also where the total amount of charges deducted from your account can be found and contrasted with the total amount of charges included in the fee statement.

     

    Step 5: Get your money back!

    As soon as a discrepancy has been confirmed, the system automatically generates an entry in the ‘refund’ workflow. This is where all refund applications are ‘parked’ and subsequently marked as ‘done’ once the bank has re-credited the account. This ensures that nothing gets overseen and allows you to see how your bank fee analysis really pays off. At the moment, it is still necessary to apply for refunds manually since banks are not yet offering any standardised messages which would also allow this process to be automated.

     

    Conclusion

    Even for automated bank fee analysis, the old adage still applies: No pain, no gain. An in-depth mapping of accounts and fees is initially necessary due to the fact that the different codes used by both corporates and banks hinder automation of this process. As standardisation increases, however, so the workload involved decreases. The internal codes used by the banks will nonetheless always need to be mapped manually. Thanks to the clearly structured workflow, this task, while still time-consuming, is no longer insurmountable and the process also delivers new insights into your account landscape and your payment processes.

    Our clients all agree: bank fee analysis offers them far more than just a means of demanding refunds for unjustified bank fees. It allows them to rapidly compare banking terms and conditions across various banks and countries, and supports them in identifying dubious payment processes throughout their corporate groups. The detailed overview of all services, fees, volumes and incorrect fee statements bolsters their position in negotiations with banks and subsidiaries, and is therefore the ideal basis for tapping latent cost savings.

     

    To find out which banks in which countries already support electronic fee monitoring, simply send an email to office@tipco.at. We look forward to hearing from you.

     

  • January 2, 2019
    Events

    Bank Fee Management
    Webinar on January 31

    Monitor your bank fees and communicate on equal terms with your banks

    Our Bank Fee Management webinar highlights how you can automate the monitoring and analysis of bank fees. Take control of your account statements and discuss these on equal terms with your banks. Check agreed fee schedules and compare these internationally, discover incorrectly charged fees and even analyse and optimise your internal business processes.

    SPEAKER
    Hanna Böhm (Project Manager)
    Hubert Rappold (Managing Director)

    BANK FEE MANAGEMENT
    Webinar on 31 January 2019

     

    Bank Fee Management Webinar
    Bankgebührenkontrolle Webinar
    Free Your Data Webinars

  • December 10, 2018
    TIPCO

    Our development team
    is looking for you

    TIPCO career

    What we do:

    At TIPCO, we are experts in Treasury digitalisation. Our web-based Treasury Information Platform TIP leverages data from various source systems, supplements these with information provided by local subsidiaries and offers a comprehensive toolbox for data analysis and reporting. By combining IT-skills with many years of treasury expertise, we have made TIP the solution of choice for some of the leading companies in Europe across various industries. More than 120 clients trust in TIP and in our ability to provide market-leading treasury innovation.

     

    What you can expect:

    We attach particular importance to teamwork because we believe that an excellent working environment is the key to excellent work. We are proud of our employees as every one of them is the basis for the satisfaction of our clients and the success of TIP. We encourage further education and training and we are willing to give professional newcomers and lateral entrants a chance to discover the world at the interface of treasury and technology.

     

    We are looking for software developer and software tester:

    Senior Software EntwicklerInApplikationsbetreuerIn
    Please, note: Our job ads are in German as you need to speak our corporate language fluently.
    Find more TIPCO jobs at karriere.at.

     

     

  • December 10, 2018
    TIPCO

    We look for recruitment for our Back Office

    TIPCO career

    What we do:

    Our web-based Treasury Information Platform TIP leverages data from various source systems, supplements these with information provided by local subsidiaries and offers a comprehensive toolbox for data analysis and reporting. By combining IT-skills with many years of treasury expertise, we have made TIP the solution of choice for some of the leading companies in Europe across various industries. More than 120 clients trust in TIP and in our ability to provide market-leading treasury innovation. TIPCO currently employs around 50 staff members.

     

    What you can expect:

    We attach particular importance to teamwork because we believe that an excellent working environment is the key to excellent work. We are proud of our employees as every one of them is the basis for the satisfaction of our clients and the success of TIP. We encourage further education and training and we are willing to give professional newcomers and lateral entrants a chance to discover the world at the interface of treasury and technology.

     

    We are looking for:

    Back Office MitarbeiterIn

    Please, note: Our job ads are in German as you need to speak our corporate language fluently.
    Find more TIPCO jobs at karriere.at.

  • December 10, 2018
    TIPCO

    We look for recruitment – Jobs in the IT industry

    TIPCO career

    What we do:

    At TIPCO, we are experts in Treasury digitalisation. Our web-based Treasury Information Platform TIP leverages data from various source systems, supplements these with information provided by local subsidiaries and offers a comprehensive toolbox for data analysis and reporting. By combining IT-skills with many years of treasury expertise, we have made TIP the solution of choice for some of the leading companies in Europe across various industries. More than 120 clients trust in TIP and in our ability to provide market-leading treasury innovation.

     

    What you can expect:

    We attach particular importance to teamwork because we believe that an excellent working environment is the key to excellent work. We are proud of our employees as every one of them is the basis for the satisfaction of our clients and the success of TIP. We encourage further education and training and we are willing to give professional newcomers and lateral entrants a chance to discover the world at the interface of treasury and technology.

     

    We are looking for:

    Customer Suppport EngineerJunior Solution Engineer

    Please, note: Our job ads are in German as you need to speak our corporate language fluently.
    Find more TIPCO jobs at karriere.at.

  • November 28, 2018
    Events

    Webinar Cash Flow Forecasting

    Making your cash flow forecasting as automated and smart as it gets.

    This webinar shows you how cash flow forecasting can learn from your historical data, rely on existing data in your systems and combine both to deliver dependable cash flow forecasts. We will also show you how user friendliness and immediate responses on the quality of cash flow forecasts can also win over your subsidiaries. This not only improves the quality of forecasting but also your contacts with subsidiaries.

    The webinar has already taken place. On request we will send you the download link, please visit our Free Your Data site.

    SPEAKER
    Gerald Dorrer (Senior Project Manager)
    Hubert Rappold (Managing Director)

     

    Cash Flow Forecasting Article

    Free Your Data webinars

     

     

  • November 27, 2018
    Articles

    Cash Flow Forecasting
    More than just safeguarding liquidity

    Liquiditätsplanung Artikel

    Buuton_Webinaranmeldung_CFF_EN

    “We don’t need cash flow forecasting” – statements like this are frequently heard at companies with significant cash reserves. They mainly highlight concerns about major internal expenses given that capturing the relevant data can tie up significant resources. Modern cash flow forecasting, however, is about far more than just safeguarding against insolvency.

    Top companies such as Lufthansa, Siemens and HOCHTIEF have for years been relying on the treasury information platform TIP to manage their cash flow forecasting. Corporates of this size generally already use a ‘classic TMS’, but this is rarely able to meet the local requirements of their subsidiaries. Yet, this is exactly what a good forecasting tool should do: it needs to be easy-to-use even at the local level in order to gather and compile important monthly forecasting data from all regions without the need to resort to Excel. TIP allows both major global players and mid-sized enterprises to easily prepare forecasts which provide them with a revealing data landscape. This article explains how you can also optimise your forecasting with TIP.

    Forecasts are only as good as the data on which they are based.

    Many of the data needed for cash flow forecasting already exist in the various systems you use. ERP systems are a particularly efficient data source. For example, this is where you’ll find all of your receivables and payables, including the associated due dates and terms of payment. You can also source the total amount of regular salary payments from your ERP system. With this information at hand, you can already cover a major share of the overall volume of payments. This is exactly the key strength of TIP: As a result of direct links to all other systems, you can import and include these data in your forecasts at the press of a button.

    System Landscape with TIP
    Predicting the future by analysing the past.

    Another helpful tool is predictive analytics. This procedure allows you to derive an amazingly accurate forecast from your historical data. A good case in point is a company subject to major seasonal volatility in terms of revenues and expenses. Assuming there is a revenue target for the coming year, the treasurer can use the statistical methods to rapidly and precisely predict how annual revenues will be spread across the individual months ahead. Other companies even analyse their social media data with predictive analytics in order to identify trends which have an impact on their cash flows.

    Predictive Analytics Scheme

    Forecasting liquidity requires flexibility.

    The treasury information platform TIP allows you to freely define the structure of your forecasting – and to do so in just a few minutes. Regardless of whether you need standard forecasts of operational and non-operational payments and financial cash flows or whether your company mainly engages in project-related business, you should be able to freely define your forecasting structure down to the last detail. Alternatively, you can use the on-board templates as a starting point and modify these whenever necessary.

     

    Easily modify your forecasting structure by means of drag & drop

    TIP also allows you to define any forecasting horizon you want. Banks often require companies facing a critical cash flow situation to provide them with short-term, day-by-day, cash flow forecasts. TIP makes this possible in addition to long-term forecasts spanning several years on a month-by-month basis. It is also possible to combine daily, weekly and monthly forecasting periods. For example, your forecast could include the next seven days on a daily basis, the following 12 weeks on a weekly basis and the remaining nine months of the year on a monthly basis. You can specify how the weekly and monthly values are automatically distributed by TIP. This means that you are free to define how previous figures with a low degree of granularity appear at the weekly or daily level after the next data rollover.

     

    Forecast on a daily basis

    A forecast of the current week on a daily basis followed by weekly forecasts

    Flexibility is also required when it comes to displaying the data. TIP offers several features which enable you to investigate the causes of significant differences between the current and earlier forecasts. For example, switch between the various levels of granularity (in terms of the structure and the timeline) or compare forecasts at different points in time. A single click is also all it takes to compare forecast and actual figures. Thanks to these flexible display options, expensive analysis tools are no longer necessary; all you need to do is take a quick look at your cash flow forecasting module.

     

    Drill Down

    Drill down from the monthly level to weekly and even daily forecasts

    Compare forecasts

    Compare with actual figures and calculate the deviation directly in the system

    More than just safeguarding liquidity

    The primary purpose of forecasting of course remains ensuring sufficient liquidity. Based on your current cash reserves the cash flows associated with the various future time periods are aggregated to provide you with the forecasted volume of cash available at the end of every period. This makes it possible to quickly spot cash bottlenecks.

    TIP also offers you the option of managing your credit lines and taking these into account in your forecasts based on the defined due dates. This allows you to immediately recognise when credit lines need to be drawn down or increased. This is just one of the many aspects which make it clear how you can be supported by a well-designed system.

    Currency-differentiated forecasting is yet another major advantage offered by TIP. It allows you to capture all cash flows in the original transaction currency. The advantage here is that as soon as you have prepared the forecast, you not only get an overview of the development of liquidity, but also of your FX risk exposures. And because you can also manage your FX hedges in TIP, all it takes is a few clicks to calculate your open FX exposures based on a comparison of your FX payments and existing hedges. If required, TIP can even generate hedge proposals for you based on the unhedged exposure; proposals which are then automatically forwarded to your trading system in a workflow-based process once these have been confirmed and approved.

    FX Risk Management with TIP

    Conclusion

    Technological progress has made preparing a cash flow forecast easier today than ever before. Even if no liquidity bottlenecks are currently likely at your company, due to the ongoing reduction in the expenses involved, it nonetheless makes sense to avoid unnecessary risks and to exploit the advantages that comprehensive cash flow forecasting offers.

     

  • November 14, 2018
    Events

    DACT Treasury Fair 2018
    Visit our Excel Cube Workshop with Charles Barlow

    DACT 2018 TIPCO Workshop Excel Cube

    Already for the fourth time TIPCO will be part of the DACT Treasury Fair this year. We are proud to announce that we will be in company of one of our long-standing clients Charles Barlow (Formerly of Coats Group plc) who will present the Excel Cube Workshop “the Holy Grail of Treasury Reporting” for us at the fair (09.00 – 09.45 am).

    Designing flexible, tailor-made reports in just a few minutes without having to manually prepare data is a dream of many treasurers. Visit our Excel Cube Workshop with Charles and discover how the Cube provides you with the easiest and quickest ad-hoc-reporting and is the key to saving you valuable time and increasing the quality of your data. 

    What else? We will be pleased to welcome you on our booth and look forward to show you the flexible and above all digital features of the Treasury Information Platform TIP. Regardless of whether you have already deployed a TMS or still prepare your data manually with Excel, TIP will improve and streamline your treasury processes.

    Discover our smart solutions in the areas of cash visibility, request management, cash flow forecasting, risk management, guarantees, derivatives, bank relations and state of the art reporting.

    DACT Treasury Fair:

    16 November 2018
    Hotel NH Conference Center in Leeuwenhorst

    We are looking forward to your visit!

Grasp the opportunity and discuss your needs with us.








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