By 2025, the role of the treasurer will be nearly unrecognizable from that of today.
The role is rapidly expanding, the required skills are changing, and the combination of data access and new technology are beginning to transform the function entirely.
Because of the scale of change and its impact on corporate strategy and growth, we believe leaders in the finance function, including CFOs, will need to understand the trends driving a treasury transformation.
The Journeys to Treasury report is a unique collaboration between BNP Paribas, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), software giant SAP and the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (EACT). It offers insight gathered from workshops and discussions with corporate treasurers including those at global companies.
In this executive summary, we explore four of the most important trends affecting the role of the treasurer: real-time payments, currency risk management, and technological innovation.
Payments and collection: are you ready for real-time?
- Real-time payment networks have arrived in North America, Europe, and Africa and they are expected to be rolling out across the Asia Pacific region in 2020, and across Latin America in 2021. This offers significant advantages for treasurers in managing liquidity and cash movements internationally.
- Treasurers are well-positioned to lead in defining payment and collection strategies. With payments and collections often managed in different parts of the organization with fragmented ownership of strategy, processes and controls, treasurers can play a critical role in evaluating the costs, risks and opportunities of accepting different payment methods and drive new competitive business models.
Foreign exchange risk management: navigating an uncertain world
- In the last quarter of 2018, there was $15.6 billion in negative impact on earnings due to currency moves as reported by 1,200 North American and European multinationals, according to the FireApps Currency Impact Report™, Q3, 2018. In the case of North American companies, the negative impact was nearly 12 times higher than the previous quarter.
- Treasurers need enough flexibility to manage risk dynamically to reflect market conditions, as opposed to being purely transactional. Finance departments should be prepared to analyze different scenarios, measure the potential impact, and recommend strategic business decisions.
New technologies and the importance of data-driven thinking
- There are more technology platforms for treasury management than ever before. It’s exciting to have so many choices, but it can also be overwhelming, particularly with technologies such as machine learning on the rise. New solutions are often aimed at specific problems or deliver specific services, but they may also add to the risk of fragmentation and increase operational overhead.
- Treasurers should adopt data-driven thinking to be more strategic. With data-driven thinking, strategic decisions are made based on data analysis and interpretation. Business leaders with access to the right data, in the right format at the right time are positioned well to succeed. Storing, collecting, and consolidating data is the first step. This must be combined with the ability to use analytic tools to benchmark, improve understanding of liquidity trends and customer behavior, and to improve targeted marketing efforts.
The future of treasury
- The role of the treasurer is expanding with new responsibilities that take advantage of their operational and strategic skill sets, access to liquidity and risk data, and the strength of their internal and external networks.
- Building a culture of collaboration and insight-sharing is being enabled by digitization and use of technology to free up time from routine tasks. Treasurers who embrace communication and knowledge sharing, as well as technology are working more efficiently, solving challenges more effectively and seizing new opportunities.
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