API integration brings measurable benefits in recon technology

API integration ushers in the next generation of reconciliation solutions

November 16, 2021 | ReconArt

Data reconciliation technology follows an evolution path increasingly defined by scalability, reduced human intervention, and connectivity. The main objectives to continually improve speed and efficiency can be met so long as reconciliation solutions are capable of handling large data streams at sync with multiple external systems without the intervention of human operators.

Custom-developed connection to the back-end of the ERP and a file-based integration with third-party systems no longer suffice for growing, global, fast-paced business managing process change on daily basis within a complex application landscape. For them, integration of their reconciliation platform via API addresses the necessity to position reconciliations right at the centre of the digital transformation roadmap.

In more complex environments the business processes often resides in multiple systems. API connectivity makes the orchestration of those processes feasible from a single location across all those systems. For example, a single location can trigger data generation and transfer within one systems, and then initiate the ingestion of data, the reconciliation and the transfer of the resulting output within another system.

What is API?

Integration via API (application programming interface) establishes a connection between two web-based applications enabling them to communicate on request / response basis or asynchronously. In the course of that communication, commands and data flows are exchanged, accommodating the synchronisation between the systems without human interference or constant oversight. Ecommerce sites are a typical example with online shopping card, product inventory database, and payment gateway sharing data hands-off in near real time.

API is a technical component serving as a universal connector between disparate data sources. The API integration requires laborious and expensive development work. But bridging systems which regularly and intensively interact pays off in dramatic improvements of the efficiency metrics for end users.

ReconArt API benefits

ReconArt has developed standard API integration with our reconciliation platform to introduce an additional automation layer and optimise the existing reconciliation and financial close processes. It calls off time consuming and error prone manual processing and guarantees seamless and effective operations of critical enterprise infrastructure. Complexity and volumes are addressed. Growth and change projects are unobstructed. Information security is strengthened. Reporting is easier and more reliable.

Use cases & client requirements

As with many product evolution projects, ReconArt has been inspired by customer feedback and industry knowledge gathered for more than a decade. Some customers of ours are more conservative and do not take up frequent process modifications. However, enterprises in the cross-border money remittance, travel, or e-commerce industries operate in a dynamic, global network of counterparts and intermediaries. Data reconciliation is a core business process for them. They are the strongest proponents of full automation of the reconciliation lifecycle because their competitive position depend on its effectiveness.

In order to respond to specific challenges for this segment of clients, ReconArt has developed a set of tools for secure upload and on-the-spot verification of data files feeding the reconciliation accounts. This process upgrade is meant to fully replace manual processing. The recon teams cannot afford to waste time downloading thousands email attachments, converting files into the appropriate format, checking for inconsistencies, and pushing data manually into the recon platform. Tracing and correcting errors involved a lot of back and forth within and outside the client’s organisation. This used to be a frequently encountered scenario for remittance and travel customers. The main objective of the automation here is to complete these operations smoothly for a fraction of the time needed before and eliminate potential security vulnerabilities.

Now data inputs, however formidable, are channeled through a data hub integrated with the reconciliation platform. This process optimisation solves a number of problems: data reaches the destination accounts instantly, its consistency is verified. If needed, transformation and enrichment rules can be applied to prepare it for the matching phase. Both the sender and the receiver are notified when the upload is completed successfully or alternatively, an upload failure has to be examined.

ReconArt API features

ReconArt API supports all functions required for input of data into ReconArt and output of data from the application within business processes that flow through our platform. Inbound & outbound integration with ERPs, workflow software, enterprise-wide schedulers, data lakes and warehouses are now facilitated with token-based authentication at place.

End-to-end automation of reconciliation means reducing human intervention to the bare minimum in each step of the process. These process steps are often performed on daily basis and the API integration activates automated operation in the import, export, and scheduler module within ReconArt:

  1. Imports: automatic file ingestion enabled. Scheduled processes like data transfers are triggered, and afterwards confirmation plus associated statistical information are received upon successful completion of the operation (alternatively, transfer error notification is issued). Another key feature is the verification of uploaded data which cuts the loop of repetitive manual upload failures caused by formatting problems, duplicate data, or incompatible file structure.
  2. Matching: the actual comparison of line items to identify equivalent transactions and follow up on the unmatched transaction. The exceptions categorisation can be automated with a comprehensive inventory list of typical / expected causes of mismatch, which is maintained outside the reconciliation platform and mirrored within it. Of course, manual flagging of outstanding items is feasible, but this is part of the accelerated investigation and prioritisation of exceptions.
  3. Exports: list of matched/unmatched items or account balances are generated by preselected criteria are exported automatically out of the system. Customers utilise this feature extensively as the up-to-date and verified reconciliation output is tapped in other business systems and functions (compliance, analytics, statutory reporting).
  4. Supporting tables used in the course of reconciliation: exchange rates tables, lookup tables (used as a reference upon data enrichment, for example) can be updated automatically via the API with input from regularly updated external sources.
  5. Aggregated statistical data related to the reconciliation processes can be retrieved automatically, as well as security logs, audit trail excerpts, and other system information for the purposes of data analysis or integration of the security logs in enterprise log processing solutions.

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