Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

DIY treasury: filling the technology gap

Treasury technology not up to the job? Nothing on the market that suits your requirements? Then why not make the kit you need, and set up shop yourself – after all, the person who understands your needs best is you.

That is the approach that Kim Chase, after 15 years in treasury and cash management at corporates in the US and Europe, took, founding and heading up Whitewater Analytics.

“I have been heavily involved in forecast collections from remote subsidiaries,” she told Treasury Today. “They entered FX forecasts into excel and emailed them to the centre every month. We copied and pasted them, creating the consolidated forecast.”

Clearly this is prone to re-keying errors and gives awkward freedoms to the subsidiaries – if they add an extra column, for example, it can create errors and anomalies in the consolidated records. Similarly, it is far from efficient in terms of time.

“I knew other companies were doing the same thing and thought ‘There must be a better way’.”

So Chase and a business partner with similar treasury experience got together with financial IT experts and created Whitewater Analytics. The web browser-based system allows subsidiaries to enter data in a format pre-set by the central treasury. This is immediately visible in the headquarters’ system, eliminating the need for re-keying.

“Our system is built by treasury people and is very practical,” she explains. “It has fewer bells and whistles – it shows FX exposures, which is what treasury managers need, but not the complex side like VaR modelling which is not often required.”

As a SaaS offering with little complexity, the costs to users are kept low – “Our clients should expect full RoI within the first year,” Chase says. Of course, if two treasurers can establish a low-cost system, so can you – “I expect more new players to enter the market – there is a need for niche products,” she says.

That view is echoed elsewhere in the market – as Richard Childes, Director at OpenLink, told Treasury Today, “There are suggestions that with a few hundred thousand dollars and two bright staff, it would be possible to create a new treasury system in six months.”