Cost Reduction Not Driving Force Behind Payment Factories, Finds Research
Research has found that the single most important objective corporates expect to achieve when setting up a payment factory is boosting visibility and control over cash, as noted by 79% of interviewees. This was followed by reducing risk and increasing internal controls. Less than half of the respondents named headcount savings, and only 39% named reduced bank fees, as a key objective.
The research by Logica, conducted by EuroFinance, is based on interviews and roundtable discussions with senior finance executives from 30 major European corporations that are considering, implementing or already operate a payments factory – a shared service centre (SSC) centralising all payments and collections.
Consolidation of banking relationships was not seen as a significant driver behind adoption, with only 21% suggesting this as a key reason for considering payments centralisation. However, the research suggests that banks cannot be complacent, as 82% of organisations who have implemented a payments factory have already reduced the number of bank partners.
Garry Young, director of corporate services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) at Logica, said: “Organisations consolidating their banking relationships present a growth opportunity for banks. Those financial institutions who want to capitalise and capture more business need to ensure that they have the right strategies and tools in place to offer corporates the services they need. In Europe, ensuring that SEPA [single euro payments area] services such as mandate management are available is key to this. Globally, what we’ve seen is that organisations really want to boost the visibility and control they have over cash, and are looking to banks to offer them services which support this. Financial institutions which recognise these drivers will prosper.”
The research also uncovered a number of the key challenges faced by those building the business case for implementing a payments factory. Resistance to change at a local level was identified as a key stumbling block, with many regions believing that a global solution would not suit their specific drivers. Many treasurers noted that they struggle to find the time to develop their business case. Capturing the more qualitative benefits, such as reduced risk and increased visibility of cash, in real financial terms was also noted as a significant challenge. Some noted that this resulted in the true value of a payments factory being understated.
Young said: “Many of the finance personnel interviewed by EuroFinance recognised the advantage of consolidation and centralisation of their disparate legacy payments systems. Clearly, costs and savings will always be a factor in any payments transformation initiative, but the key takeaway is that the benefits corporates really seek from a payments factory are greater visibility and control over their cash along with reduced risk.”