Achieving real-time treasury with banking APIs

Instant access to information means automation, efficiency—and the end of the ‘treasury swivel’

The swivel. 

If you work in a finance function, you’re familiar with it. It’s the endless movement between multiple screens and applications, “swiveling” back and forth to gather information, manually re-enter data, and complete your daily work. 

Finally, the end of the swivel is in sight. Companies of all sizes are automating these routine activities with powerful APIs. They’re accelerating access to information, vastly improving efficiency, and making real-time treasury a reality. 

Making real-time treasury possible 

Just what is real-time treasury? It’s more than a corporate buzzword; it’s the next horizon for finance. Instead of relying on batch processing and next-day timeframes, real-time treasury delivers data as it happens, directly into company systems. It arms stakeholders with the insights needed for strategic decision-making in real time and simplifies the workload for frontline staff. 

APIs are central to achieving real-time treasury. These machine-to-machine interfaces relay information with lightning-fast speeds and with “always on” connectivity. Unlike batch processing that happens at set timeframes, or portals and file transfers that require user intervention, APIs move information automatically. 

APIs are not new, but they are seeing mainstream adoption. (Wells Fargo introduced our first APIs and our developer gateway in 2016; we now offer more than 40 proven APIs.) 

One of the reasons behind the groundswell—particularly at mid-market companies—is the ease of use that APIs offer. With their “plug and play” functionality, APIs require far less time, effort, and IT resources to implement compared to custom development. They’re equally seamless for users, who find the data they need at their fingertips, without cumbersome swiveling between platforms and portals. 

Creating value for staff, customers, and suppliers 

APIs bring numerous advantages. Employing these system-to-system connections to your bank can help companies: 

  • Do business more easily. APIs reduce the number of steps and systems it takes to accomplish your goals. Employees can work more productively or redeploy their time to higher value activities compared to downloading files and entering data. 
  • Operate in real-time. Instead of waiting minutes, hours, or even days to obtain transaction data, APIs enable instant, “always on” access to critical information. You can spend more time making decisions and less time hunting for data. 
  • Maximize your investment. Using pre-developed and proven functionality can eliminate weeks and even months from your development cycle. APIs work with most systems that treasury already uses, helping you improve ROI and reduce development costs. 
  • Reduce your risk. APIs deliver up-to-the-minute information, making it possible to settle payments instantly, reconcile transactions daily, and spot fraud attempts quickly. In addition, leveraging APIs from regulated financial institutions safeguards your all-important data by ensuring you integrate with secure and compliant endpoints. 
  • Enhance your customer experience. APIs can help you meet—and exceed—the high expectations that customers, suppliers, and employees bring to their daily activities. The flexibility of APIs and numerous pre-developed options let you identify use cases and create the ideal workflow that meets your needs. 

API use cases meet broad range of finance needs 

Leading banks offer a range of prebuilt APIs designed to facilitate everything from immediate balance inquiries to transacting faster payments to reconciling in real-time. Ongoing customer feedback and collaboration mean new automation options come to market regularly. 

Some of the most popular treasury management APIs include: 

  • Instant visibility into available cash balances 
  • Consolidated multi-bank reporting to streamline cash forecasting 
  • Automated posting to your general ledger or client accounts 
  • Issuing and receiving a variety of faster payments, including Same Day ACH, RTPs, and FedNow 

Innovative financial institutions also offer APIs that support broader financial activities. These include solutions for working capital management in the capital markets, and ways for organizations with inventory financing to manage approvals and invoices related to their commercial lines of credit. All benefit from the swift and automated exchange of information. 

More options, more automation for treasury

The evolution of APIs doesn’t end there. Leading banks are working with ERP providers to develop even smarter API functionality that will deliver the data treasury management needs directly into your system-of-record—without extensive IT resources. These “embedded banking” solutions will maximize convenience and simplify implementation. 

APIs offer impressive opportunity for businesses to streamline their banking activities and move real-time treasury from vision to reality. Best of all, they signal an end to the “treasury swivel” and a new way to automate, optimize, and use your team’s talents effectively.