Why powerful online portals are tailor-made for the public sector
The role of a public sector finance professional has evolved dramatically in recent years. With the advent of the cloud, laptops and remote access, physical spreadsheets and T-2 data hard lines now seem as “old school” as adding machines, typewriters and Palm Pilots. Access to financial information is now immediately accessible and mobile 24/7.
In fact, there is now so much access to data that a new challenge has emerged: organizing and understanding all of that information, which can often be spread across a number of platforms and systems.
Centralized, single-platform online account portals – like U.S. Bank SinglePoint for treasury and cash management and U.S. Bank Pivot for global corporate trust and custody – can help administrators organize their accounts for easy access. They also increase the visibility to key data and analytics that allows for 24/7 decision-making.
Public entities face the complex challenge of balancing cash flow, holdings and payments of debt obligations. Rather than using one system for debt schedules and another for holdings information, a single portal gives administrators visibility across the entire portfolio.
Not all cash is operational, but access and visibility to the money that is not invested long-term is crucial when it’s time to make moves. A portal gives administrators the visibility and ability to invest available cash, send the funds elsewhere or do nothing. The increased visibility includes on-demand reports on holdings, transactions and intra-day activity and can be used to readily reconcile accounts.
Managing debt schedules can be complex and time-consuming, especially for entities with dozens of different bond issues that they may be paying debt service for on a given date. Tracking debt service schedules while monitoring cost of issuance moneys, disbursements from trust accounts and balance reserves becomes much easier with all the numbers available on one dashboard. Moreover, the same numbers can be used to budget for future debt service.
Increased visibility also improves the ability to monitor and manage portfolio allocations. Access to portfolio balances, pie charts, debt schedules and analytics allows administrators to quickly compare real-time balances with the financial advisor’s recommended allocations.
That kind of access is a far cry from the days of calling a banker for the information or the still common scenario of running reports from one system for updated debt payment schedules and others for portfolio allocations. And the ability to run on-demand reports at any given time not only simplifies decision-making, but it also improves the ability to respond to questions from stakeholders and access data for audits.
Likewise, the increased access and visibility of an online cash-management portal can take some of the stress out of treasury management for public sector finance professionals.
Real-time access to account balances creates true visibility to the flow of money into and out of accounts. With Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable integrated, the portal becomes a hub to monitor exceptions and manage all account activity.
Historical reporting enables diagnostic and predictive analysis. Compare previous day and current day activity to reconcile differences, while analyzing multi-day reports to reveal trends. For example, the last 5-10 business days of data can help project forward to the next 5-10 business days.
Increased visibility allows for immediate action on exceptions and easy reconciliation. Customized dashboards can include data streams, like checks paid, ACH returns and notifications of change. It can also surface important transactions like wire transfers for review and approval.
Besides the increased visibility, account portals also provide the increased efficiency of mobile access, giving administrators data access whether they are at their desks, in the middle of a meeting or traveling on business.
U.S. Bank offers tailored solutions for the public sector that let you stress less so you can serve more. Our knowledgeable team can provide guidance to help you navigate the payments landscape and expertise to help you achieve your long-term goals. For more information about our corporate and municipal services, contact us or visit our website.