One to Watch Highly Commended: Wolters Kluwer

Published: Jul 2013

Paul Taylor, Bank America Merrill Lynch collecting on behalf of James Muir

Photo of Paul Taylor, Bank America Merrill Lynch collecting on behalf of James Muir and Joy Macknight.

This custom-user built (CUB) treasury tool was designed by Wolters Kluwer’s Treasury Team in consultation with its bank. The tool enables it to obtain greater control over a wide range of treasury processes while increasing automation levels and allowing more detailed reporting and transactional visibility.

James Muir

Finance Manager, Treasury Operations, Riverwoods, Illinois, US

Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer enables legal, tax, finance, and healthcare professionals to be more effective and efficient. We provide information, software, and services that deliver vital insights, intelligent tools, and the guidance of subject-matter experts.

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Treasury professionals know the value of having a treasury workstation (TWS). However, there are many who struggle with the customisation (or lack thereof) of their current TWS. Many others do not have the budget or IT staff needed to implement an off-the-shelf or a consultant-led customised workstation. The responsibility of Wolters Kluwer’s treasury department (as a shared service centre (SSC)) includes finding the most effective and efficient ways to manage company and employee subscriptions to banks, accounts and services.

In addition, treasury is required to provide instant and up-to-date liquidity reporting, as well as prevent the unauthorised access of bank websites (by comparing user lists to the company’s HR system), fee analysis, cash forecasting, audit compliance, data transactional research, and treasury policy compliance – all without increasing the department’s personnel requirements, creating additional processes or incurring additional costs.

James Muir, Finance Manager, Treasury Operations explains, “given our unique business structure and the ever-increasing demands on our limited treasury departmental resources, we decided to automate as many of our day-to-day functions as possible. As a result, we came up with the idea of creating a custom built treasury dashboard which would be centralised and shared.”

The new dashboard needed to have an emphasis on complete automation, while retaining the flexibility needed for future expansion. As such the following requirements were identified:

  • Utilise a readily available, relatively inexpensive, easily customisable and expandable product (ie Microsoft Office, SQL Server).

  • Create an accurate and efficient data collecting and reporting environment without incurring consulting fees or annual maintenance costs, as well as eliminating delays that can be caused by requesting vendors to process changes.

  • Construct a single treasury portal (one stop shop) that would achieve all desired treasury and finance functions within a unified shared database structure.

  • Automate the preparation of liquidity reports, bank services reports, user bank access reports, bank fee analysis and other treasury mandated reports, all within a controlled secure multi-user environment.

  • Consolidate information reporting, analysis, and distribution, thereby accelerating the delivery of pertinent information for actions by treasury, finance, senior management, authorised personnel at operating companies and internal auditors.

  • Reduce the cycle time involved in preparing daily and quarterly treasury reports through automation, thereby allowing the treasury team to shift resources to other essential treasury, finance and risk management needs.

  • Create a stable and consistent pool of treasury data which is readily available for forecasting requirements and historical analysis.

  • Controlled access to database (to specific use only), which would increase security protocols for users receiving and viewing data.

  • Contain the cost of obtaining bank information from the bank, (data downloads shared throughout the organisation).

In order to fulfil our requirements Wolters Kluwer created a new treasury portal called the Custom-User Built (CUB) Treasury dashboard. The CUB is based on a Microsoft Access front-end and a SQL server back-end platform.

Muir concludes, “with the help of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we were able to incorporate the back-end data feeds using their products CashPro and CashPro Scheduler. Bank of America Merrill Lynch further assisted us by explaining the various BAI elements so that each could be mapped and categorised correctly within CUB. Contrary to what many treasurers might imagine, you do not need to involve extensive IT, have specialised training or use large sums of capital and resources in order to build a widely used treasury dashboard. You just have to have an action plan and the tenacity to do it.”

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