Financial Transmission Network, Inc. (called FTNI) is an integrated receivables company located in West Omaha. The company shares unassuming space with a bank and insurance agents. Inside their office, however, is a totally different culture and theme.
The company is not exactly a start-up anymore, as it has been around since 2008. But, it still feels innovative internally. There are startup accoutrements like a ping pong table and lots of t-shirts underneath facial hair. The company sits in that strange crosshairs where the Silicon Prairie creates real underlying enterprise value. With clients throughout the U.S., Canada and even into India, FTNI processes millions of transactions totaling billions of dollars for over 300+ banks and credit card processors on a monthly basis.
FTNI is a real business doing extremely difficult things in traditional industries that do not change readily. However, the payments ecosystem is changing. And FTNI is leading the push towards a fully integrated receivables world.
We sat down with Head of Sales and Marketing, Zac Robinson, to discuss the ways that FTNI is helping to shift the “boring” enterprise issue of receivables. “Building seamlessly integrated enterprise platforms that streamline every aspect of accounts receivables and payment processing may not be the sexiest application out there today, but it might be the most important.” said Robinson.
Robinson described the challenge facing many enterprises that serve customers directly or receive payments on behalf of customers. These companies still have processes that rely heavily on humans. For example, Robinson described the normal human-centric process surrounding payments made by check. A receivables employee often needs to receive a check and verify its origin (who wrote it) and which account/invoice the payment is to be reconciled against.
This process often involves a person—or team of people—looking at hundreds or even thousands of checks a day to confirm that they were written for the correct amount and can correctly be posted against the correct open invoice(s). With the help of today’s available technologies, many of these historically manual, tedious, error-prone processes can be automated, allowing employee’s time to be spent on higher-value functions.
Integrated receivables do three things using a single, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. First, the system takes in payments from any payment method. FTNI’s system is agnostic – in that it accepts, checks, ACH, credit cards, and other new payment methods that continue to evolve (think Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.).
Second, the system processes these payments through the client’s existing banking and merchant processing relationships. This is important since these relationships—especially merchant processing relationships—can tend to change quite frequently for enterprises. This process may seem simple for those who are processing lower volumes of payments each day, but some of their large insurance, distribution, and banking clients process hundreds and even thousands of transactions a day.
Third, the platform is compatible with any back-office ERP, accounting, or CRM system. FTNI is agnostic to the type of engine being used by its clients. FTNI uses its software and the company’s deep industry expertise to make the cash application and posting process more efficient. Specifically, the software can identify and associate in the system likely invoices or statements that a payment should be tied to, and automatically deliver the required details to clients’ back-office systems.
Thus, when FTNI helps accelerate payment processing for clients, such as the American Red Cross, the money becomes available to help disaster survivors and responders much faster.
The company’s ETran platform is cloud-based and delivered as a modular Software-as-a-Service solution that also has integrated security and compliance. It is hosted by Armor and represents significant security protection. It is PCI and HIPAA compliant – making finance, insurance, and healthcare fast growing opportunities for the company. One challenge that these opportunities present, however, is that these are relatively large sales but slow to close. However, their customers almost instantly receive value for the transaction.
One client described their experience: “Implementing ETran started with approximately $250,000 in savings in our up-front infrastructure costs and (saved us) 3,500 hours of our development effort.”
The company continues to grow, with twenty- full-time employees in Omaha, including most of the operations, IT, and customer support personnel. And, they look forward to the day when integrated receivables is a household buzz word. Until then, they will continue to bring efficiency, cost savings, and significant cash availability improvement to their customers.