Finding the key to unlock value from your financial supply chain

ING’s new light-touch online tool called Valuefinders is a new model of client advisory that takes as little as an hour to deliver results.

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According to Bart Jan Engelen, co-founder of Valuefinders at ING Wholesale Banking, corporates have always been on the lookout for opportunities to create value. “Banks are there to support this ambition,” he says. “However, clients feel that banks often take a product-focused approach rather than addressing their challenges holistically. This kind of thinking is no longer acceptable. Clients have – rightly – become more demanding and as a result forward-thinking banks are becoming more client-centric.”

ING’s response to this challenge has been more radical than most. It has created Valuefinders, a scenario model focused on the financial supply chain, which takes a unique approach to value creation. “Rather than seeing it as a way to push products, ING has given us the flexibility to develop something genuinely new,” says Marloes van Elsen, co-founder of Valuefinders. “We’ve created a bank agnostic tool that democratises advice – it’s a new model of client advisory.”

Valuefinders works by performing an in-depth analysis of hidden costs, risks and untapped opportunities using an online scenario model. It enables users to benchmark their performance against publically available data, pinpointing how monetary value can be released from the financial supply chain. As a result, it is not just beneficial to treasury but can also reveal opportunities to improve procurement and sales processes, for example.

The analysis is flexible to enable users to input whatever key performance indicators – such as days sales outstanding, days payables outstanding, bank infrastructure, or straight through processing levels – matter most to them. “In as little as one hour, users have results that highlight opportunities to unlock value, although the more data you put in, the more thorough and valuable the results are,” says Marloes.

Users can either input data themselves using the online tool or the Valuefinders team can conduct a workshop to help clients through the process. ‘To date, we’ve used the model with 10 corporates and the results have been impressive,” says Bart Jan. “We’ve revealed potential improvements of 2%-3% from changes to purchase-to-pay processes and in the order-to-cash process there should be opportunities to reduce costs by 1%-2% by moving from cash to cards, for example.”

Valuefinders is targeting a wide variety of corporates – small and large, domestic and international – and is still developing the product and its business strategy. “As yet, Valuefinders has no commercial goal although feedback from the clients we have approached to date indicates that there is a clear preference for it to remain a bank agnostic tool,” says Bart Jan. ”Ultimately, its value could be in the data it aggregates but at the moment we’re simply seeking to improve client advisory.”

Valuefinders will continue to change, according to Marloes. “For example, once enough clients have used the model, then we’ll be able to provide more client-specific benchmarks related to their sector or geographical scope rather than drawing on a generic dataset with average and best-in-class performance,” she says. Valuefinders is also considering partnering with other solution providers to offer clients a suite of options to reduce costs, mitigate risk, negotiate better terms and conditions and unlock value following analysis.

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