Atreasury management system (TMS) enables treasurers to improve productivity, visibility and controls
across the entire treasury operation. However,
in order to deliver promised value, treasury
technology must be well implemented.
If a TMS is implemented poorly it not only
means an inefficient use of the organization’s
resources it also likely means that the system
will not provide the desired benefits.
The following best practices can help ensure
the project is a complete success.
Before you buy a TMS
Preparation is essential to a successful
implementation – and this begins before the
system has even been purchased. Completing
a thorough business case before buying
treasury software documents the value and
ROI to be delivered by each system capability,
which translates to the priorities the treasury
team can build an implementation project
Without an effective business case to
clearly illustrate the potential value to the
organization, implementation project planning
tends to focus on processes that are the most
manual, overemphasizing the value delivered
by productivity alone.
Aligning implementation priorities with
organizational value ensures that the right
objectives are emphasized at the outset of the
project – and provides a benchmark for post-implementation evaluation.
Once a system has been selected, a more
detailed plan is needed, establishing what
is required from the vendor and how the
implementation will progress in-house. This
should include three different components:
Statement of work. A robust scope of work
(SOW) should be completed pre-sale and
clearly articulate what is to be delivered in
terms of modules, features, and capabilities.
A SOW should be very detailed so the
treasury team has documentation of
exactly what they purchased. If it is not in
the SOW, it shouldn’t be in the project.
Blueprint. While a SOW details what will be
delivered, the blueprint – completed as part
of the project kick-off following purchase –
prescribes how the features and capabilities
will be implemented. The blueprint is the
most important document and drives the
entire implementation. It also gives the
opportunity to revalidate existing
processes and confirm the treasury team’s
Project plan. The final significant
document, the project plan, describes
when the project will be implemented,
organizing capabilities and tasks into
milestones. In addition to assigning
functionality to dates, the project plan’s
other role is to ensure availability to
complete the project. By agreeing upon
responsibilities, the TMS vendor and
treasury team together can ensure that the
project is optimally staffed on both sides.
Choosing the right implementation strategy
is critical to project success. At the opposite
ends of the spectrum, treasurers can opt for
a turnkey implementation – or they can pursue
more of a self-implementation with the vendor
teaching and giving homework. In practice,
most treasurers opt for a hybrid approach
falling somewhere between these two options.
When making a decision about the
implementation approach, it can be tempting
to focus solely on cost. Cost is important, but
it should not be the only deciding variable. This
again emphasizes the importance of a proper
business case which should alleviate some of
the cost pressures.
When deciding on the right implementation
strategy, the team’s availability to complete
their responsibilities and preferred learning
styles of the team members are key variables.
This knowledge will determine for the TMS
provider the right balance of teaching vs.
taking on configuration responsibilities is
right for the various team members for each
The ultimate objective, of course, is to
efficiently set up the system and ensure that
a) both power and light users know how to use
the TMS and b) capabilities deliver promised
value. The path to get there will be different
for organizations based on their resources,
abilities, and compelling events (such as a
system replacement or regulatory deadline).
Replicating vs. Transforming
A key decision point when implementing a
TMS is whether to automate/replicate existing
processes and workflows or to initiate new
ways of doing things. Implementation of
new treasury technology is an opportunity
to improve treasury processes and design
more efficient workflows. In many cases,
existing processes were setup because of the
technology and its limitations. Often – but
not always – new technology eliminates the
constraints the treasury team was under and
offers better opportunities.
To support this decision making, the treasury
team must share not only what they do but
why they do it. This enables the vendor’s
implementation team to identify where
the TMS offers improved workflows, better
controls, or more insightful analysis. Change
for the sake of change is unnecessary, of
course, but missing out on transformation of
inefficient processes because “that’s the way
we’ve always done it” is a lost opportunity for
the team and for the organization.
The Project Team
The vendor will have an implementation team
working on the project – but it’s also crucial
for the project sponsor (CFO or Treasurer) to
formally assign a project team. That project
team should include the following roles:
Project manager. Coordinates resources
and oversees the project plan. The project
manager has a direct escalation path to the
project sponsor (CFO or treasurer) so that
bureaucracy does not impede project
Power users. If you expect to use a TMS for
most of every day, you are a power user.
Power users are learning how to use the
system and completing the configurations.
In some cases, power users will train lighter
users of the TMS.
System administrators. Admins may be in
treasury, within the CIO’s team, or a hybrid
of the two. Admins will be empowered to
setup the TMS, becoming experts in system
controls, audit reporting, and (hopefully not
too often) password reset procedures.
Subject matter expert (SME). Subject
experts may be in treasury, but in many
cases will be outside the treasury team. An
SME may be a part-time user of the system
(e.g. payment initiation within shared
services), a consumer of TMS reporting (e.g.
in the collections team), or an owner of key
data (such as ERP data that is needed for
Successful project planning means that
each of these roles are properly defined with
responsibilities and accountabilities well
understood and agreed upon. This not only
ensures the project team is aligned, but also
reinforces the proper escalation path to clear
Overall, this collection of best practices will
lead to a successful system implementation
and a TMS that meets all of your team’s
expectations for years to come.
Best Practices in
VP Strategy, Kyriba
Top Project Risks
Resourcing – Unexpected delays
are often caused by not factoring in
unavailability (e.g. vacations and sick
days) and the risk of personnel changes.
Personnel commitments should be
reasonable given that the treasury team
all have day jobs.
Blackout periods – Many organizations
have IT freezes at year-end, which can
impact TMS-to-ERP integration, in
addition to blackout periods for banks.
Testing – The most underestimated task is
testing, especially for system integrations
such as transmitting payments to banks.
Often banks offer ‘testing windows’,
which means that if a test fails the first
time, the next opportunity may not be for
a week or two.
Dependence on internal teams – A TMS
often requires some inter-departmental
tasks and treasury needs to take into
account that those teams have their own
priorities and projects.