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Are the banks getting any better at providing and correctly assigning AFP Service Codes on account analysis statements?

Scott Gunn's Profile

I.E., is it worth it to invest in bank account analysis software.

Answers

Topic Expert
Dan Gill
Title: Director, Corporate Systems
Company: The Weiland Financial Group
(Director, Corporate Systems, The Weiland Financial Group) |

What a fabulous question! The AFP Codes are a great way to perform an apples to apples comparison for services between banks. The codes also allow for the comparison of actual bank services to the various service pricing benchmark tools available. Since banks often name their services in a unique fashion, it has always been difficult to compare services across banks.
The AFP Service Codes can and will fix that problem, if we understand the challenge holistically. There are nearly 2,500 AFP services defined by the codes, and by their very nature, they offer various flavors of each service. For instance, there are more than 20 codes that can be used to describe various flavors of deposited checks.
We will continue to have a problem as long as we view AFP Code mapping as a problem for the banks to solve, because they cannot. If we think about the decision of what AFP Code a bank is going to assign to one of their servies, we will see that there is no way that two banks making a decision of what code to use for each of their services will make the same decision on which code they should use. Without the coding of any other banks at their disposal, they have no idea if they are effectively mapping their codes to match the codes used by other banks.

When I do a service study for a large corporation, one of the very first things I do is map every service at every bank myself with the exclusive focus on making sure that I label all of the apples as apples for each bank. By doing this, and using the bank's assigned code as a suggestion at best, I ensure that all of the services my company uses at all of my various banks are coded in a way that makes them useful. This method is extremely effective and will yeild awesome results.

The key to the problem with banks having AFP Code mappings that don't match each other is to realize that it is a problem that can only be fixed by the corporate treasury group when all of their banks are sitting there side by side. Effective mapping of AFP Codes is a bit of an art form, but when the data is laid out, it can be done in a relatively short period of time, and once done, it will serve you for years to come.

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