Notice: April 12, 2016, A revision to X9.121 is now available.
X9.121-2015 Balance and Transaction Reporting Standard (BTRS) Version 3 provides banks and corporations with a modernized format that will enable corporations to manage their business accounts more effectively, particularly across banking relationships. This edition defines how each bank must construct the BTRS file in order to produce harmonized formats and transaction code assignments – leading to more accurate reporting and lower development costs. BTRS Version 3 delivers a fully revised Format Guide that illustrates the standard specification of each Record Type. Every field is specifically documented in order to better define the attributes, rules, placement and best practices. This edition also consolidates the BTRS Status, Summary and Detail codes into a separate spreadsheet format for better visibility and usage by programming resources; plus easy association to ISO 20022, CAMT (Cash Management) and SWIFT MT (Message Type) code sets. BTRS Version 3 has been syndicated with banks, vendors and corporations and addresses most of their challenges with the old BAI2 format communicated by the AFP membership. BTRS Version 3 should now be promoted as a standard for use by all banks and software vendors.
Introduction to Balance and Transaction Reporting Standard – X9.121
Market conditions and the need for greater visibility into cash flows have caused major corporations to focus increased attention on cash management. Banks have responded by offering services such as: electronic banking, information reporting, lockbox remittance processing, cash concentration, electronic transfers, and controlled disbursement which help companies improve cash flow and utilize idle funds.
Of equal importance are improvements in the delivery of information about a company’s balances and transactions. The corporate treasurer’s office must know the company’s cash position to control usable funds effectively. By closely monitoring cash position, the treasurer is better able to:
- analyze and project funding needs
- appropriate liquidity
- minimize idle cash balances
- perform account reconciliation
- maximize investment opportunities or reduce borrowings
Formerly, information needs were relatively simple. Data such as ledger balances, available balances, and float breakdowns were usually sufficient. However, in recent years the needs for more extensive reporting and greater transaction detail have dramatically increased. Banks have since responded with increasingly sophisticated reporting systems.
When a company uses the services of only a few banks, notifications and reporting received via electronic banking platforms usually meet the treasurer’s needs. But as the number of banking relationships increases, and as information requirements become more complex, the daily task of gathering information becomes more difficult and time-consuming.
In order to consolidate reporting, the corporate customers request each of their banks to report balance information to a central agent. The agent may be a bank, or it may be a third-party data aggregator. The corporate treasurer can then monitor banking relationships through a single data collection point. Many banks now offer data exchange to an increasing number of companies. And the products themselves have become more sophisticated, allowing treasurers to manipulate and respond to the information as it is presented.