How to move money in the 21st century

  • Payment complexity increases as businesses become more global and add new payment methods.
  • Financial operations (FinOps) is an emerging software category with a significant opportunity to streamline, automate, and optimize business financial management.
  • Large companies, such as Airbnb and Uber, employ extensive teams to manage their real-time financial health.
  • Payment operation breakdowns, like the Citibank $900 million miswire, highlight the risks and consequences of antiquated systems.
  • The core challenges in payments include managing payouts (sending money outside the business) and pay-ins (bringing money into the business), both of which are largely manual processes today.
  • Adding new payment methods or executing bank transfers can be time-consuming and complex, often requiring significant engineering resources or manual work.
  • Transactions are often reconciled manually, leading to stale data and no single source of truth, which affects revenue from failed payments and declines.
  • There is a large opportunity to build new payments infrastructure that delivers real-time financial health insights, automates workflows, and provides organizational intelligence.
  • Different regions have unique requirements for payment methods, fraud prevention, and banking regulations, suggesting the need for tailored financial operations software solutions.
  • Building successful FinOps software requires building trust, reducing onboarding friction, and offering reliable and simple integration with existing systems.

If money is the lifeblood of business, the inflows and outflows of revenue and expenses are like the heartbeat of a company. And while tracking and managing these financial operations are critical to keeping a business healthy, the tools that exist today are incredibly antiquated. Meanwhile, payment complexity is increasing as businesses become more global and seek to add new payment methods every day.

To keep up, many of the largest companies have invested in homegrown solutions and rely on an army of engineers and operations specialists. Companies like Airbnb and Uber have teams of more than 200 simply to keep track of their real-time financial health, both cash on hand as well as payables/receivables.

Worse yet, breakdowns in these payment operations can have massive consequences. Last year, Matt Levine famously wrote about the payments debacle where Citibank wired $900 million to a hedge fund—by mistake. The cause? A set of email approvals and legacy software that didn’t catch the error. And this isn’t an isolated instance—companies spend millions of dollars per year on audits and many more on fines and lost revenue for not tracking payments correctly.

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