BankTEL wrapped up its annual national user conference this month. Previously BankTEL held various regional user meetings across the country and from feedback, consolidated many regional conferences into one major event for clients to attend annually. We were pleased to welcome banks from all over the country to Denver, Colorado. The conference was held for a day and a half with the primary focus to help attendees better operate their financial institution and learn best practices from other financial institutions.
Conference Attendees Statistics:
• 60 Attendees
• 45 Financial Institutions
• 6 Core Systems
• 25 States
The main topic of this conference was to discuss the latest new product BankTEL released earlier this year, ASCEND. Users from across the country also were able to network and explore additional on-site training opportunities. A lot of time was spent around incorporating best practices into the operation of many banks. Users presented a number of different ways they help their institution automate better.
The goal of our user conference is to initiate better communication with you, our clients, about our product solutions and learn ways we can help you manage your operation more efficiently. It is our mission to continue delivering leading edge software solutions and services that will streamline your operation.
Soon we will release information about next year’s User Conference location and dates. We hope you are able to join us to learn more about BankTEL’s latest solutions and receive additional training. If there is ever anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
The BankTEL Team
At BankTEL, we value our customers. We constantly strive to provide easy to use, cutting edge software for financial institutions. As part of this ongoing effort, we have revolutionized our current product offerings.
We are in the process of finalizing BankTEL ASCEND, which will be the most advanced version of BankTEL yet. It is a major overhaul of the back-end technology, and it includes many updated functionalities that we know will make your processes even more efficient.
We are excited about this new development, and we look forward to sharing more information such as a timetable, migration info, etc. with you soon!
Updates coming soon.
Track Taxes with BankTEL’s AP System.
Within the BankTEL Accounts Payable system, you have the ability to track taxes on invoices. There are two ways to do this:
- Including Sales Tax – The AP system offers the ability to enter the percentage of sales tax already applied to the invoice. This allows the user to automatically allocate the sales tax out to multiple locations or centers that the invoice is being expensed to. Using the “apply sales tax” option will allow the system to automatically post the adjusted expense allocations to the core without any additional manual entry.
- Adding Use Tax – If an invoice needs to include tax, but does not already include it on the overall invoice amount, the BankTEL AP system allows users to automatically calculate the additional tax that must be applied to each location. Within AP, you can preset the appropriate sales tax percentage for City, State, and Other. When an invoice is then allocated to any branches with a pre-defined sales tax percentage, the system will automatically calculate the tax added to each location when the invoice is saved. This makes it much easier for the AP operator. They can key invoices without having to manually calculate additional tax on each invoice.
Use our easy report writer to help provide all information needed for local and state reporting. The report writer in AP allows the users to pull the additional use tax reports at any time. These reports may be filtered or subtotaled by account, branch, or cost center.
A Message From Boyce
As a software company we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our existing systems or develop new systems to improve the automation process. From the feedback a lot of you have given us, we have several new products either under development or on the drawing board.
One of those products will be a Vendor Portal. This cloud-based system is designed for your vendors to securely log in, submit invoices and research paid/pending invoices. These submitted invoices will then be electronically downloaded to the BankTEL Accounts Payable System. It will operate much like Branch Scanning but the invoices come directly from your Vendors saving time and effort. See the additional article on the Vendor Portal.
As we look toward new products to assist you in your daily processing, we also identify enhancements with our existing products to better serve you. One of the newest updates comes to the Expense Reports module. Employees now have the ability to identify branches and costs centers for individual expense items. If you would like more information on this please contact our support team.
We are about to embark on our first BankTEL Users Group meeting of 2015 in California in March. We invite anyone that has an interest in joining us in Napa Valley on March 12th and 13th to please fill out this registration form and return to us as soon as possible. Information on the additional meetings this year can be found below.
We hope that you have a successful 2015 and we look forward to serving you this year. As always if I can be of any services please let me know. We appreciate your business.
We are pleased to announce the Vendor Portal as the newest member to BankTEL’s list of web based applications. The Vendor Portal is a web-facing application geared to compliment your BankTEL AP application by allowing vendors to effortlessly upload invoices for payment. This safe and reliable cloud based application allows a bank’s current and oncoming vendors to access the portal at any time and place to better service an invoice as needed. Once approved by the bank, the existing invoices can be uploaded into the Accounts Payable system to help automate the process even more than before.
A new vendor, once approved by the bank, may create their own profile and begin to upload as many invoices needed. Information such as due dates, price, comments, and even the image of the invoice itself can be uploaded into the portal for the bank’s review. The vendor may also view the status of their invoices to keep track if they have been paid.
Once the vendor’s invoices have been entered, notifications to the bank are made of the awaiting payments to be processed. A bank can enter the portal with as many users as needed to review the invoices and take action by importing those invoices into your Accounts Payable system when ready. The portal acts as an automated process by receiving invoices, saving key entries, reducing errors, and uploading data into your Accounts Payable system. Once the data is within the AP application, invoices can then be processed for payment.
If you would like to know more about the Vendor Portal, please contact us with any questions you may have.
This quarter’s product spotlight features the Expense Reports module. BankTEL’s expense report application is a tool that any financial institution may use to automate the expense reimbursement process for all employees and even for the Accounting department. Below is one of our customer’s renditions of the expense reports module that tells about the huge impact this module has had on their reimbursement process.
We spoke with Connie Caskey-Keith, Administrative Financial Assistant at Traditional Bank, about her experience with the Expense Reports module and how it has had an overall effect on the bank.
Traditional Bank started looking for a new Accounts Payable suite in the beginning of 2013. At the time, the bank’s whole accounting process was comprised of physical receipts and invoices being passed around from department to department, manual approvals, and filing cabinets stacked with invoices all throughout the accounting department. Manual paper was such a normalcy to them that they could not envision having a completely automated and paperless process, but the CFO and Accounting department knew something had to change.
After much discussion and review, Traditional Bank decided to add the whole BankTEL Accounting Suite, including the Expense Reports web application. In January 2014, the bank went full force with the Expense Reports module by pushing it out throughout the whole company. Connie explained that she has seen a tremendous change in how much more automated the bank has become when comparing their process before expense reports to the process now.
Traditional Bank currently has 215 employees overall, and 137 of those employees submit personal expense reports, while 45 employees (mostly upper management) submit credit card expenses.
Employee Reimbursement Process Before BankTEL
Personal expense reports were submitted manually through a system that the bank’s IT department created from scratch. The employees would go in, enter their expense items in the system, and the system would generate an email notification to the approver. However, the receipts had to be interoffice mailed to the approver separately. Then, after approval, the approver had to interoffice the receipts to Accounts Payable. After all receipts were received, the accounting department still had to enter each and every expense and even manually file away each receipt. This process was very time consuming for every person in the process. Credit card expenses were also a nightmare for the Accounts Payable department. Typically, when Accounts Payable received the credit card statement, the accounting clerk would go to the copier and make 45 separate copies of the statement. Each statement was mailed to each executive, manually signed off on, and then the statement with all the physical paper receipts were all mailed back to Accounts Payable in a yellow envelope. Of course, accounting would then manually enter every expense and file away the receipts.
Both of these manual processes made it almost impossible for someone to go back and research the audit trail on any expense report. During an audit, Connie explained how she would have to pull the statements from the file and physically hand the auditor the file that contained all the receipts. The files were alphabetized, so that made it easier to get to for Connie, but every year, she had to rotate out the oldest files and move those to storage.
Expense Reimbursement Process Now
Now, with the Expense Reports module, all of the manual filing, manual approvals, and duplicate entry are eliminated.
Traditional Bank’s employee reimbursement process has made a complete 180 from the way things were done before. For personal and credit card expense reports, employees simply open the web module and begin entering expenses for mileage, travel, meals/entertainment, and other. Even the receipts may be attached to the expense report before it is submitted for approval.
Traditional bank uses the notification system built-in to expense reports as well. That way, once an expense report is submitted, the assigned approver for that employee is automatically notified and can login into the module to review the whole report along with all the receipts that the employee attached. Connie mentioned that she loves how the system keeps track of all the emails sent throughout the process and all the approvals, comments, and edits along the way.
By the time the accounting department receives the expense report, all that the accounting clerk has to do is click to review the details of the report. Every expense that the employees submitted and every receipt attached flows smoothly into Accounts Payable for final review after the appropriate approvals have been completed.
Connie said that the turn-around time for expense reimbursements is much quicker. Everyone is paid much faster. Also, people can view their expense report throughout the process and even after payment. Even approvers can see invoices that apply to accounts in their budget.
According to Connie, one of her favorite things about this new automated system is that the process does not rely on one person to get done. If the Accounts Payable person has to be out, the bank can still pay expenses.
BankTEL extends our thanks to Connie and the whole team at Traditional Bank, who worked with our implementation and support team to get this module up and running for the bank. Our team, at BankTEL, is truly happy to see such a huge turn towards automation and efficiency by using the Expense Reports module. We enjoy seeing our customers happy, and we also hope that the relationships between us, Traditional Bank, and all of our customers, continue to thrive.
“I am enjoying the transition and additions we made within Accounts Payable by adding the expense report module along with other modules. When I use something daily, I want it to be helpful to me by saving time, and provide flexibility and manageability. The credit card expense reporting is saving me massive time monthly. I have to say it is my favorite of the expense reporting module because of the flexibility offered within this module and no more receipts are arriving in my office in an envelope. I don’t miss any of our old processes and I am still learning all the capabilities after installing over a year ago. I think all of our upgrades have been phenomenal. No more paper shuffling, no more flying receipts arriving in interoffice envelopes, and that puts a smile on my face.”
Traditional Bank, Mount Sterling, KY
User Group Meetings 2015
Registration is now open for all BankTEL User Group meetings scheduled for 2015. At this time, we are negotiating with hotels at each location for reduced room rates. We would like to know how many attendees we should anticipate for each event. Please send your registration form in as soon as possible.
The four locations have been selected for 2015 and they are:
Napa Valley, CA Friday, March 13th
New York, NY Friday, June 5th
Louisville, KY Friday, September 25th
Clearwater Beach, FL Friday, November 20th
The fee for each attendee is $250 and financial institutions may send as many people as they would like. Prior to each event, BankTEL will host a Thursday night reception for all attendees. The reduced hotel rooms rates will be available for three days prior and three days post event, so plan on making a long weekend out of the trip.
If you have any questions, or would like to submit your registration, feel free to send Chad Thomas an email.
BankTEL listed on Deloitte 500
BankTEL Systems ranked 483rd on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. BankTEL grew 143.8 percent during this period.
BankTEL’s chief executive officer, Boyce Adams, Sr., credits innovative software and exceptional service and support with the company’s near 144% revenue growth. He said, “We are honored to be recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing technology companies. Over our 22 years in business, we have seen steady revenue growth and have added clients both in the US and internationally. Our corporate philosophy remains focused on developing software that uses automation to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for financial institutions.”
“The companies ranked on the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 continue to set the bar for their industry higher each year,” said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader. “There are so many exciting products and smart thought leaders driving this list. We congratulate the Fast 500 companies and look forward to seeing them continue their momentum into 2015.”
“For 20 years, the Deloitte Fast 500 rankings have honored the innovation that is part of these companies’ DNA,” added Jim Atwell, national managing partner of the emerging growth company practice, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “We’re glad to be serving these high-growth companies, and helping the technology sector recognize the great strides and transformation these companies are making in their respective areas.”
Overall, 2014 Technology Fast 500™ companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 135 percent to 123,678 percent from 2009 to 2013, with an average growth of 1,640 percent.
About Deloitte’s 2014 Technology Fast 500™
Technology Fast 500, conducted by Deloitte LLP, provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2009 to 2013.
In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company’s operating revenues. Companies must have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years and be headquartered within North America.
While always an important consideration, products that streamline banking operations are now more vital to increasing bottom lines. With the coming changes in the capital requirements proposed by international regulators, strong bottom lines will be more critical than ever.
Basel III Morphs into Basel IV
The Basel Committee on Bank Supervision (BCBS), which reached accords with the world’s banks, has been plagued by spotty or incomplete implementation. Basel I, first drafted in 1988, established minimum acceptable levels of bank capital to minimize asset and credit risk.
Basel II, appearing in 2004, revised and updated the structure of Basel I, refocusing and limiting capitalization to stated balance sheet assets only. Many believe this modification contributed to the subprime financial crisis, leading to the recent worldwide recession.
Adopted to defeat recessionary effects, Basel III focused on issues different from those addressed in Basel I and II. Many U.S. banks chose not to implement all provisions of Basel II, with the support of the Fed and the FDIC. However, many European banks already took advantage of Basel II’s modifications to establish large portfolios of sovereign debt, contributing to a global financial crisis. Additional regulatory capital restrictions, indicating a major change in Basel III has led observers and ban executives to refer to the coming regulations as Basel IV. Credit union executives face additional issues because of the difficulty in raising additional capital major and community banks do not face when they can sell more stock.
Streamlining Operations to Better Manage Costs
Top financial institution partners, such as BankTEL Systems, offer accounting, financial and vendor management software to control costs and streamline operations. For example, with over 1,400 financial institution clients in all 50 states, BankTEL offers proven financial accounting and cash management software that improves bank efficiency and often makes positive contributions to net profits.
While strong bottom lines are vital to credit unions’ ability to increase capital, banks need healthy profits to encourage investment to enhance their capital positions. The challenges to increase revenue for financial institutions are often daunting in the current business environment.
Streamlining operational efficiency is best accomplished using state-of-the-art technology, which generates a healthier bottom line. Bank executives should match their policies and procedures with cutting-edge technology to maximize the benefits of more efficient operations.
Automating financial institution internal processes cuts operating costs that previously may have proved troubling, particularly if the institution functions in a market area that discourages revenue increases In overly competitive markets, instituting new revenue-generating fees can be impossible for banks hoping to
enhance their brands and/or increase core deposits.
Typically, using integrated accounting software and other automated processes reduces costs significantly,
translating to higher net income. Since growing retained earnings increase capital, strong net profits boost
bank and credit union capital percentages.
Does Basel IV Go Too Far?
Some banking industry experts, such as the managing principal of MRV Associates, believe the prospective changes of Basel IV may go too far, provoking financial institutions to strongly “push back.” Key provisions troubling bank executives, boards and industry observers involve the BCBS demanding that banks be more transparent in disclosing how they determine riskweighted policies. This forces institutions to clearly disclose how much risk they assume—and why.
Current Basel III rules offer banks wide discretion in credit and operational risk assessment policies. Banks have no obligation to disclose the criteria used in credit risk decisions. Banks want to keep this control and appear ready to fight for that right. Decision-making bank executives must decide how strong a fight they want to generate. Since the BCBS appears to be committed to regulation reform, particularly as it addresses capital level calculations, this could become a long, bitter battle. Are bank executives and boards equally committed to waging such a battle? Does more transparency encourage higher capital? Do liquidity minimums play a role in increasing or decreasing capital, depending on risk assessment policies? At this time, it is impossible to know how the bank-BCBS war will be waged. Stay tuned for further developments.
CU Insight: http://www.cuinsight.com/;
Increased competition, new technology that is keeping customers out of the branch and increasing costs across the banking industry has increased the demand on sales professionals to do their jobs well in order for the bank to make a profit. Today’s bankers can do well by keeping some sales tactics in mind as they try to sell more products to their customers. Without these fundamentals, your branch’s sales numbers will suffer.
Target the Right Prospects
The first step in successful sales is targeting the right prospects. Whether sales professionals working in the bank or calling officers who are soliciting targets in another way, bankers need the tools to target the right prospects.
It helps no one when your sales professionals spend their valuable time calling or reaching out to prospects, filling out applications and running credit checks for offers that are simply not going to go through. Why does this happen? It happens because all too often management expects their sales professionals to find their own prospects, or the bankers are given a list of prospects to contact that has not been screened. This wastes everyone’s time.
The truth, however, is that this is not necessary. Data on prospects is readily available, and the latest analytic programming can make it easy for bankers to receive a targeted list of prospects. Consider, for example, a bank looking to increase its business checking account numbers. By using analytics to identify the customers who are using DDAs instead of business accounts, and targeting those specific customers, the sales team will have a much higher rate of success.
Offer Engagement Services to Harvest Easy Sales
Another tactic that banks can use is targeting existing customers with engagement services connected to the accounts they already have and use. For example, a customer with a debit card and checking account can be enrolled in online bill pay or an automatic savings transfer agreement. Customers with credit products can upgrade to privacy protection.
Why is this so effective as a sales tactic? These customers already use, and hopefully like, your bank. As a result, they are more likely to accept the additional service. They are familiar with your bank and enjoy banking there.
Offer the Right Products
Your bank has many different products you wish to sell, but not all of these are a benefit to your customer. Banks need to teach their sales teams how to provide appropriate products to the specific prospect they are talking to.
How can you do this? Again, it requires data collection and analysis of that data. Your bank must know the demographic of its typical customer, and target those customers with the products that make sense for them.
Data can be collected in several ways, but customer service representatives are one of the greatest tools you have to collect this data. Customer service representatives need to make notes in a customer’s account when they hear information that could lead to a future sale. For example, when chatting with a customer who mentions children, a note can be made to offer a college savings plan at a later interaction. The more personal and targeted the product offering is, the more likely it will be that the offer is accepted.
Another way to do this is to create packages that target the demographic you see most frequently at your branch. In order to make these packages work, bankers must be trained how to match customers with a package offering.
Sales in today’s banking industry are not easy to come by, but with the right strategies, they are not impossible to make. Target the right people with the right products, and don’t forget engagement services, and your bank will be able to reach your sales goals more effectively, even in a competitive market.
While many of the Accounting and Finance Department’s duties remain debatable as to whether they represent cost or revenue centers in the banking industry and others. Mention expense report tasks to a bank executive and witness a painful expression.tt
Although, you could argue that expense reports offer a) a legitimate tax deduction and b) an indirect contribution to the bottom line, generated by direct increases to loan portfolios or fees, most executives would agree the Accounting Department expends non revenue producing time and money processing expense reports and authorizing reimbursements.
There is little debate that examining expense reports, authorizing and ensuring timely reimbursements, and verifying said reimbursements is time consuming when done manually. Stateof theart software, such as available from BankTEL, eliminates much of the time and wasted money having talented accounting staff complete this task manually.
Submitting, tracking and evaluating expense reports using cutting-edge software accelerates the process and goes further. After submission, approved reports transfer directly into Accounts Payable, to ensure timely reimbursement.
There is an added advantage for banks’ using outstanding expense report software. Banks enjoy compliance and internal policy adherence benefits. One result is assured: Your accounting staff and executives will spend less productive time analyzing expense reports, less time matching employee receipts, authorizing reimbursements, and ensuring timely payments.
While up-to-date-software is not the solution to every bank issue, expense report apps that work answer many questions, controlling costs and increasing money saving efficiency. There is little, if any, debate about the value of expense report software pros and cons. The pros are many; the cons few or possibly, nonexistent.
Expense Report Software Benefits Translate to Bottom Line Increases
While expense report software may not be a direct revenue generator, like higher loan interest rates or other income increasing strategies, top software often contributes positively to a bank’s bottom line. By controlling wasteful costs, the resulting effect is an increasing bank profit picture.
The larger the bank, with more employees, the greater the benefit of expense report software. However, the percentage increase of benefits to the bottom line often is higher with smaller community banks. In all situations, the bank is the beneficiary of the cost savings when using state-of-the-art software to manage employee expense reports.
By recording receipts as they are submitted, the possibility of losing or misplacing expense receipts is eliminated. Among the benefits, evaluating legitimacy of claimed expenses is a predominant feature. There should be no further troubling questions when claimed allowable expenses lack third party evidence.
Mouse Clicks Instead of Time Consuming Investigation
Digitizing receipts and expense reports eliminate the need for tedious manual investigation to validate expense report data. The efficiency of mouse clicks in lieu of tedious manual evaluation and/or matching physical receipts to submitted expense amounts is unquestioned.
Analyzing even routine expense reports takes time. Eliminating most of this expensive time, while ensuring the legitimacy of report contents, improves the accuracy of expense reports. Saving time with mouse clicks instead of tedious manual investigation delivers significant benefits to financial institution management. Keystrokes and mouse clicks accelerate the process of examining, verifying and authorizing expense reports. Many apps also create the accounting records necessary to properly document the accuracy and disposition of expense reports. Replacing time consuming accounting entry creation with a few mouse clicks is an invaluable aid to cost control and time saving action, indirectly impacting banks’ bottom lines.
As all experienced bank executives are painfully aware, despite common headlines decrying banks’ obscene profits, financial institutions typically face serious challenges to increase revenue. Shrinking bottom lines can be positively impacted by lowering expenses. Using top expense report software accomplishes the goal of reducing expenses, which gives bank bottom lines their needed boost.
When the public thinks of the modern bank, they likely think of a stable organization committed to providing ongoing financial services for years on end, without a struggle. Yet banks face risks today as much as they always have, and perhaps more so in the current financial market. Banking professionals must learn to identify and then protect themselves from common risks if they are going to succeed. Here are the four biggest risks for today’s banks, and steps you can take to protect yourself from them.
1. Credit Risk
Credit risk is, perhaps, the most obvious of the risks. Banks must do their best to determine the likelihood that a customer will pay back what is loaned to them. In light of the recent lending crisis, the modern bank is looking more closely at credit risk before lending to consumers.
Your bank will have to determine how much of a credit risk you are willing to take on a particular consumer. This is a question that you will have to answer for your individual situation. Each bank will have specific terms and conditions that it is willing to operate under, but you will need to determine what those are, and then stick with them as you bring on new credit customers.
2. Operational Risk
Operational risk is the risk that comes from within. These are the decisions you, as a bank, make internally that mess up yourself, and those employee decisions made on a day-to-day basis that can create problems for your organization. Inadequate internal controls and employee accountability can lead to serious risks for your bank.
How can you avoid this? The answer is easy to state, but hard to implement. Adding more internal rules and accountability may be the answer, but, unfortunately, the bending of internal rules is far too common in the banking industry. Fostering a sense of unity among your team members can be a helpful place to start. When everyone has a vested interest in seeing your bank succeed, the temptation to bend rules is lessened. Also, adding monitoring programs to help identify risky behavior and put a stop to it can help limit this type of risk.
3. Market Risk
Banks are at the whims of the markets. When the markets do not behave properly, banks lose money on their assets. Managing market risk is essential for today’s banks, especially with the volatile nature of the current markets.
Managing market risk is not something new to the modern bank, it’s just newly pressing because of recent market years. The best strategy, for managing market risk, is one of diversification. Ensuring that assets are held in a wide range of investment options will help limit this type of risk.
4. Liquidity Risk
If the market suddenly changed, would your bank be able to stay afloat? Have you spread yourself too thin? This risk is known as liquidity risk. This is the risk that you will not be able to stay buoyant if your funds suddenly ran out. This is more important now in the post-financial market crisis environment. Funding is no longer readily available and cheap, so you need to have a plan.
Unfortunately, liquidity risk is always going to be a vulnerability of the modern banking model. As you strive to transform your short-term deposits into long-term assets, you are always going to be at risk
So if it’s inevitable, how can you manage liquidity risk? The key to managing liquidity risk is to create mismatches between asset and liability maturity, and then to ensure that those mismatches keep enough funds flowing in the bank to both increase assets and meet obligations when customers ask for their money.
Each of these risks is interdependent, which can make managing them more challenging. A solid risk management plan is essential to keep the modern bank fully operational.