LAUNCHED! threeplusone®’s new website

LAUNCHED! threeplusone®’s new website

threeplusone® is excited to announce that our new website is completed and launched!  We partnered with the Steven James Media Group to redesign and retool our existing site, and we can’t be happier with the results.  With more emphasis on our flagship liquidity analysis and data service cashvest®, more use-friendly navigation, expanded options, access to our rfpPrep® portal, and updated graphics & video, we believe the new site will enhance the experience for everyone in the threeplusone® orbit – the public, peers, partners, and personnel alike. 

The new website corresponds with the start of an exciting new phase for threeplusone®.  The ever-shifting fiscal landscape, new mandatory guidelines by FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) – which will surely be followed by GASB mandates in the not too distant future – the growing demands  for accountability on public entities across the entire nation, and the  mounting pressures on higher education institutions have made the demand for our services more vitally needed than at any time since our inception. 

Cashvest® continues to grow in popularity because it alleviates the pain points so many in the public sector and higher Ed finance offices are feeling acutely these days.  Our algorithms produce data-based analysis and time-horizon evaluations that serve as a great tool for an entity and their financial providers to maximize the value of all cash that three+one® identifies as a revenue-generating asset.  When applied over the many accounts that public entities and higher ed institutions regularly manage, significant untapped value is often discovered in dormant cash holdings. 

Our new website also has a page  dedicated to rfpPrep®, the first electronic banking RFP (Request for Proposal) ever developed and implemented.  The site will take users to the portal through which they access the service that is entirely online.  Designed to specifically allow public sector municipalities and higher ed finance departments to more easily compare and comprehend banking services,  rfpPrep® guarantees an error-free and fair-bidding process.  It removes the notorious paper burden of an RFP filing from your shoulders.   The service can reduce the traditional – and tedious – RFP process time by up to 75 percent!

We welcome you to the cashvest® by threeplusone® new website – and to the next step in the evolution of liquidity analysis and data services for public entities and higher education institutions!

Cost or Revenue?

Cost or Revenue?

As a finance office prepares its annual budget, here’s a question that’s often circulating around the purchase of newly proposed services: “Are they needed or just additional costs?”  What one may consider as a cost may, in fact, provide a significant source of revenue—while another source of revenue may actually turn out to be a cost.

In the ever-changing world of banking, new technologies can often lead to efficiencies.  However, they may end up being listed as new items on your bank analysis statement.  While they may appear as costs, benefits such as fraud protection, electronic banking, and merchant services may actually lead to additional sources of revenue like rebates or a higher bank earnings-credit rate (ECR).

When adding a new position to your staff, many consider this position as an expense.  Instead, what should be considered is one’s time and how the new position will help you leverage it more effectively.  A cost can be converted into a revenue opportunity if one’s focus is used to create strategies and efforts that drive revenue and ease stress, while complementing those performing other office duties. 

I often hear public officials voice frustration over fewer resources due to cost cuts, not giving themselves the opportunity to perform other functions that could lead to fresh sources of revenue.  If greater focus is trained on generating new sources of revenue, then additional income can lead to more staff, technology investment, and other needed resources for the office. 

At three+one®, the liquidity analysis and data services we provide around all cash should not be considered costs but rather an avenue to new revenue by transforming a dormant asset—cash—and making sure all of it is generating interest earnings. 

Our proprietary service cashvest® will help you find revenue that is virtually hiding in plain sight.  Utilizing this strategy has enabled public entities to add hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to their bottom lines.  What’s more?  If cashvest® by three+one® doesn’t help you discover untapped interest revenue on your cash, the service won’t cost you anything!

The takeaway here is that three+one’s®  innovative services can be the difference that leads to a positive outcome in your annual budget.  That said, these services should be included in your annual budget as a revenue item.

The Power of Cash

The Power of Cash

Imagine the power that cash holds in today’s marketplace. With short-term rates still hovering above 2.0%, the income generated on idle cash can have a major impact on one’s entity and those they serve 

As we enter the budget season mid-year or at year end, the challenge of stretching tax dollars often leads to less resources or decisions of where to cut, especially when tax caps can easily be outweighed by insurance premium increases, pension obligations, cost of living increases, or other essential services. 

Too many times the frame of mind in forming a budget comes down to cost controls, rather than revenue-producing opportunities. While this may be understandable at one level, it is not a mind-set that will move your entity forward.  At best, you will be in constant ‘treading water’ mode.  

A great example is the value of one’s cash. So many see the need to have idle cash available for ‘just in case’ circumstances rather than viewing cash as an asset to generate additional income and opportunities. 

At three+one® we can help a public entity find new sources of revenue through all levels of cash. In 2019, three+one®’s flagship service cashVest® will provide proprietary liquidity analysis and data that will result in over $100 million of new revenue to communities that will lead to:

  • Closing a budget gap
  • Preventing additional tax increases
  • Providing additional teachers, police, firefighters & EMTs 
  • Technology upgrades
  • New community services 
  • After-school programs
  • Student field trips 
  • Arts & Cultural community events 
  • New musical instruments 
  • Enhanced sports Programs 
  • Continuing Education & Online Learning

Obviously, the list can go on.  Simply put, the power of cash can have a wonderful impact on one’s budget today and in the future. The time is now to have a conversation with the team at three+one® about our cashVest® liquidity analysis service. The result could make all the difference between stagnation and growth in your 2019 and 2020 budgets. 

Preparing For The Future…

Preparing For The Future…

Last month when Garrett Macdonald, Vice President of three+one®, presented at the New York GFOA Annual Conference, he asked a large sample of Public Officials the following question: “How long have you served in your current position”.  The responses were surprising to the audience.

The largest group of responders were those who have served 15 to 20 years in such positions, at 30%, while the second largest group of 26% were those who have served between 1 to 5 years.

The findings tell us that a very significant group of public finance professionals are relatively new to their position, while a smaller middle group will be tasked – and taxed – with both continued mentorship of the younger professionals and replacing the veterans who make up the biggest group.

As I blogged last year, over 50% of those who serve as financial officials today are over the age of 55.  With this being the case, the need to build bench strength for future leadership in one’s finance office is essential in order to carry on consistency and institutional knowledge.

What can one do to prepare for a smooth transition to those whom we serve in a financial leadership position?

1) It is never too early to start building bench strength within your team.  Provide a pathway of learning, essential tools, and institutional knowledge as new talent comes into your office.

2) Allow new talent to share and adopt new ideas and technology in your office as you all prepare for the future. Keep in mind that a majority of today’s taxpayers use technology to communicate and pay their bills. It is imperative to understand the future of how financial transactions will be conducted.  It will be far different in the future than how they are done today.

3) Have your new talent develop a relationship with your financial providers. Consistency of relationship and expectations provide a pathway for a smooth transition.

4) Never stop teaching, and allow your staff to pursue continuing education, including direct links to Higher Ed institutions and certificate programs.

5) Plan on developing and purchasing greater technology. Individuals entering the finance world are extremely tech savvy and will expect to have the resources to perform their jobs. They will tend to be extremely productive with the right technology and software packages.

The chasm between those public officers with many years of experience and those that are new to the positions needs to be recognized. With the proper training and resources, the pathway to continued success will occur both now and in the future.

A Plateau in Rates – Now What?

A Plateau in Rates – Now What?

Let’s face it, markets are fickle.   Just when you were getting used to earning four to five times the interest earnings you were accustomed to, you start seeing CD, T-Bill, ECR, MMDA, and LGIP rates flatten, or possibly even decline over previous months for the first time in over a year.

What’s happening?

A Plateau in Rates - Now What?

The short answer is: short-term rates are rising because they are more closely linked to Fed actions. With the current high-end Fed Funds target rate at 2.50%, it’s no surprise why the 1-month T-Bill rate is currently at 2.47%.  Long-term rates are flattening because investors aren’t sure when the Fed’s next move will be, which is also a good indication of why the 1-year T-Bill is currently at 2.48%.  Again, investors aren’t sure what the Fed’s next move is.

So, what do you do?  Understand that interest rates will always be on the move.  For those entities that locked-in higher rates by investing using time-horizon data, you were able to ensure your taxpayers earned anywhere between 2.60%-2.70% for monies stress tested and available for 6+ months.

The good news is that in today’s market, it’s never too late to take advantage of opportunities in the yield curve.  Here are three ways you can earn and save more for your taxpayers despite a flattened yield curve:

1.) Identify how much you’re earning on ALL money. Don’t solely focus on the strategic liquidity you have for specific time horizons but also the operating dollars being used to satisfy payroll, A/P, etc.  It’s a fallacy that only time deposits can help close the gap for the taxpayers.  If you’re like most of the entities with whom I work, you’re also looking at earning on demand deposits, too.

2.) After analyzing each bank account and identifying where your longer-term opportunity lies, save yourself the time and trouble of rolling 30-day CDs every 30-days.  If the data suggests you have time-horizon capability, use that strategic liquidity to your taxpayers’ advantage.  We do not advocate public finance officials play the markets’ games.  Err on the side of being as proactive and safe as possible.  Keep in mind, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s FedWatch tool has a 47.8% probability of at least one rate cut by 1/29/2020.  Now is the time to be proactive.

3.)You cannot underestimate the power of technology.  Before you make up your mind that all technology is bad, consider this – with your competing priorities and time constraints, can you affordto save time and achieve better results with technology? Utilize the right bank technologies for you (the right technologies for you).  Adopt AND adapt to new technological investment opportunities in the marketplace.  If your investment strategy hasn’t changed in a decade, then I would seek an objective party to provide perspective for you.