Mobile payments, crypto-currencies, APIs: getting ready for revolutionary changes to your business.
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Are you leading or lagging? We live in exciting times where customers, mostly consumers, are driving change in how businesses deliver services and interact with them. For example, more than half of U.S. consumers, and even more so globally, utilize their mobile devices beyond social media to transact daily. In the B2B space, mobile adoption is also rising quite rapidly, changing how business owners and corporate practitioners manage their operations, supply-chain, and day-to-day cash. Then, there's the scary concept of digital currency or crypto-currency with Bitcoin leading the way. And, we can't leave out the growth of APIs that is changing how businesses connect directly to their banking providers beyond the current traditional ways.
There's no question mobile and digital payments are the next frontier in cash management, even as same-day ACH becomes a reality in the U.S. in 2016. Consider these trends:
The U.S. is behind in the mobile payment revolution; albeit being leader in developing such technologies. For example, much of the developing world (where banking infrastructures are very lacking) is far ahead in "mobile money" transfers; offering 21st century bartering and exchange of cash executed via cellular-to- cellular interaction. And we're not even talking about transactions on smartphones with sophisticated payment or retail apps.
With APIs treasury teams can further automate AP, information reporting and reconciliation in ways unimaginable. traditional batch payment/file processing could become obsolete.
Imagine being able to accept Bitcoin and treat it just like FX without hedging and holding it - this is actually feasible today. Of course, there's a huge debate on clearing house issues, regulation, cybersecurity and much more this article cannot cover. Nonetheless, the future is now!
Thus as a business, what's the right strategy for you to adopt? Should you be an early adopter or a late entrant? Both options have risks and rewards you need to weigh within the context of your overall business growth strategy, your branding and social engagement strategy, and finally, your risk mitigation strategy. With rapid change occurring so fast, I'd caution against late adoption, but balanced with careful evaluation of a BETA testing and roll out plan.
Where do you start? Start by looking at your vision, at your internal resources and processes, then evaluate your financial and trading partners' capacity. Finally, challenge your bank with respect to it's technological vision and readiness to support you.
What if you could test your ideas without excessive or damaging risks? What if you had access to resources to help you innovate and grow? What if your financial institution were willing to take on "little bets" with you and help you break the mold?
It's fair to say there are tremendous opportunities and challenges with the fast pace of change today. To be ready, you may need to address additional questions such as: "Where do the inefficiencies and risks in your treasury and accounting processes lie? What can you automate and what can you digitize? What can you do better, faster, cheaper, more securely?"
Many times, it's difficult to look at your own operations objectively. That's where we come in as treasury consultants. And when you work with Wells Fargo, we'll put you on the path to best-in-class performance by focusing on you.
Are you ready for the now-future? Please feel free to share your thoughts.
Originally published on October 20, 2015