Interview with Craig A. Jeffery

Jeffery: The biggest change in the technology landscape for midsize firms is the greater availability of hosted applications. This level of elevated performance and reduced price allows midsize firms to achieve visibility, control and functionality once available only to large multinationals. While exciting for the middle market, it should be approached with a degree of caution. Under the new rules, firms must now choose their technology based on complexity and not size. Ease of use versus power and flexibility compete, but the gap between the two has shrunk. Before selecting a system, you must know what you will ask of it. A general rule of thumb: More ad hoc requests require leaning towards newer systems; more reports to various non-treasury staff would suggest a more mature system capable of automated reporting and distribution. Transaction services are still best handled by banks, where capabilities continue to increase for exception handling, problem resolution and reporting–and given the need for greater visibility and control, some banks are gaining traction by providing better liquidity reporting across a number of financial institutions.

But if there is one priority that seems paramount, it is enhancing control in the financial supply chain and ultimately improving working capital management. Much of the acquisition activity and alliances in tech were with that end in mind, with some of the most obvious mileage being logged in the accounts payable and accounts receivable space.

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