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Until last year, Liz Claiborne treasury operations in the U.S. and Europe were heavily dependent on spreadsheets and disparate banking systems, says John Engeman, assistant treasurer of the $4.5 billion retailer. Europe essentially had its own treasury operation, and corporate treasury had limited visibility into what was happening there. That has all changed dramatically. With its first treasury workstation from Kyriba, Liz Claiborne treasury staffers can see almost everything from its treasury office in North Bergen, N.J. A European treasury center in the Netherlands still controls many treasury activities there, but U.S. corporate can see exactly what Europe is doing in real time, thanks to one shared system, which is about to be rolled out to Asia, Engeman reports. Welcome to treasury technology 2008, where a fragile economy has raised concerns over control and liquidity management and created a boomlet in automation, particularly through the use of application service provider (ASP)-hosted solutions. “There’s no holding back on spending that protects assets and gives increased visibility to cash, even in the face of a recession,” notes consultant Craig A. Jeffery, managing partner of Strategic Treasurer LLC, Atlanta. “Across the board, 2008 so far has been a strong year for spending on treasury technology.”

Liz Claiborne has validated the benefits: less time spent on manual keying, fewer clerical errors, a better real-time view of the global cash position, fewer idle balances, lower banking fees and more time available for value-added projects. “Our workload hasn’t diminished, but thanks to having balances and transactions fed directly into Kyriba, we now have more time to work on expanding how we use the workstation,” Engeman reports. “We keep coming up with new ideas to make it work better,” he adds. “We’re working with Kyriba to build a payment factory and upgrade our collection efforts in Europe. We’re pushing to marry different financial processes with Kyriba technology, and it’s paying off.”

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