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Working capital receives an electronic boost

Over two-thirds of corporates are experiencing improvements in their working capital processes because of the introduction of electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) systems.

More encouraging for the banks trying to push these services to treasury departments is news that 37% of corporates are experiencing improvements in their process efficiency beyond their expected levels of success, while 32% report a beneficial impact on customer service levels.

There is, however, a flip-side. Only one third of the survey respondents - sponsored by Citigroup - actually use the EIPP systems. A fifth had considered an electronic solution but had rejected the notion while almost 50% of the respondents were satisfied with the paper-based processes in place.

Citigroup, however, is more than satisfied with the results. "We are pleased to see that the results of this survey confirm our efforts around the world. We see EIPP use growing among clients, especially in north America and Europe," says Maria Mandler, global head of EIPP services at Citigroup's global transaction services.

The main reason for implementation, according to the survey, is the streamlining of accounts payable and receivable. A reduction in DSO and costs are secondary factors. "In fact, clients are creatively using EIPP with invoice discounting and financing to decrease DSO, and EIPP with netting is becoming a powerful global liquidity management tool," adds Mandler.

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