Treasury Leaders SummitTreasury Innovator Award finalist: BeScord

Treasury Innovator Award finalist: BeScord

At last week's Treasury Leaders Summit, we spoke to each of the Treasury Innovator Award finalists about their history, the thinking behind their proposition, and their plans for the future.

BeScord is a relatively new company with a specific purpose and focus. It is built on a deep knowledge of treasury and banking achieved through many years of consulting within the corporate treasury space, and the deep technical skills of building analytics platform and SaaS solutions. Its focus is on the corporate treasurer and cash manager, and provides analytics tools for improving business operation and bank relationships. Its BeScord Banking solution standardizes/normalizes complex data and provides direct access to business flows and behaviors. This information is then used to help treasuries discuss and negotiate with their banks.

How did the idea behind your service originate?

It was a response to the many discussions with corporate treasurers about the fact very few companies have a good overview of their banking costs. Once I ask the treasurer, ‘what is your bank cost?’, then they have little possibilities to answer this due the complexity of the billing banks do. Looking at these costs from an ad-hoc consulting perspective; it is not efficient and rather costly to do these investigations of bank costs, thus the idea behind creating a strong analytic tool, which looks at two areas:

  • External focus: What are your banks billing your company and is this correct/according to pricelists and agreements? Here the focus is on correcting wrong historical billings and look at which items are high value – to single out where the majority of the cost occurs and prepare the corporate for a negotiation on these costs with their bank.
  • Internal focus: How does your organization use your banks? What can you do to improve the way you use banks? Do you have historical behavior/bad data causing bank fees which can be avoided? True long-term value can be related to having the correct banking partners and use their services correctly.

What is your customer base?

Our customer base consists of larger international corporates, which often has more than one bank, three countries and 10,000 payment transactions. The reason for this distinction is that we need a certain complexity to add value. Most treasurers are able to do their own spreadsheet analysis, if they operate a simpler set up. However, once the number of banks, countries and transactions expand, then spreadsheet analysis will not be able to follow. In other words, the more complex the set up, the larger the gains, as we do analysis on all transactions from ERPs and on the bank billing information selected by the corporate.

What differentiates you from competitors?

We have a strong hold in three areas:

  • The fact that we have detailed data from customer ERP systems (payments in/out, master data, invoice information and more) and do our analysis on all these ERP data, and not only on the bank statement information (e.g. MT940/CAMT etc.). This allows us to have deeper analysis and much strong capabilities to discuss which behaviors we see performed by e.g. a payment factory or local entities, compared to analyzing +/- on bank accounts. We have built ready-to-use ERP connectors for the major ERP systems in order to ensure the installation does not turn into an IT project, and this is valued by treasurers.
  • Second, we compare the cost billed with the calculated cost based on ERP and pricelist. This gives us an advantage, as we can do comparisons in three ways: (actual price vs pricelist price), (billed transaction volume vs ERP transaction/account volume) and finally (billed total cost vs calculated total cost).

How does your product make treasurers’ lives easier?

The way our solution makes lives easier for treasurers is simple. It can be explained in two ways:

  • When the CFO asks the treasurer if he/she has control of the banking costs. Like any other areas there are requirements to save bank costs, and this means analysis has to be done. However, treasury do not have a lot of resources to do this analysis due to daily business, so they need standardized reporting to identify where cost can be saved and be able to show that the treasurer is in control of the banking costs.
  • When treasurers have the feeling that something is not right in terms of the cost paid to the banks. He/she can’t explain what it is but wants to find the issue and do something about it. Here, we show exactly where bank costs are generated, what are the cost drivers and where he/she should direct their efforts. In a way we level the playing field in the discussions with the banks, as they will be well prepared for pricing discussion/where the bank needs to correct their billing.
    Further, we also see the case where a treasurer takes on a new position in a new company and wants to look at banking costs. Then, we can do the analytics required to fast-forward the actions he/she can take.

What are your plans for the future?

Our priority is in two areas:

  • Growth – expanding to more countries and onboarding customers.
  • Providing more value, thus improving the platform capabilities and making the treasurers’ work even easier, as well as providing the much sought-after benchmarking ability. All treasurers wish to have a simple way to compare their pricing against a valid anonymous benchmarking platform, to see if they are treated fairly by their banks.

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