Building a standardised and simplified treasury
by Darsh Johal, Head of Global Cash Management, Shell Treasury Centreand Peter Langshaw, EMEA Head for Power, Energy, Chemicals & Mining, Client Sales Management, Treasury & Trade Solutions, Global Transactions Services, Citi
Standardised and simplified operations are essential for any corporate treasury that wants to improve its operational efficiency and help contribute to the organisation’s wider strategic goals.
The Corporate View: Shell
There is unprecedented pressure on corporate treasuries today to improve their operational efficiency and optimise liquidity. Many treasurers are therefore focusing on standardising and simplifying their operations to achieve these goals. Shell Treasury is one of them. Its operations strategy is linked to its overall finance strategy, which was set in 2006 when Peter Voser, Shell’s Chief Financial Officer, launched his vision for World Class Finance 2010. The main objective of this strategy is to achieve top quartile performance across the entire finance organisation. The vision is underpinned by the Finance Functional Plan, which aims to bring the various elements of the company’s finance organisation into one, including finance in the business, functional finance activities (controllers, tax and treasury) and finance operations (shared service centres, process standardisation and continuous improvement).
There are three core elements of World Class Finance 2010:
- Focus on process standardisation;
- Competences and skills: ensuring the right people with the right skills are in the right places;
- Achieve greater automation and straight-through processing through better systems integration.
Looking first at process standardisation, for example, Shell identified a number of finance processes on which to focus globally, including Requisition-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, Travel and Entertainment Expenses and Cash Management. A Process Executive (PE) was appointed for each process, with the objective of standardising each process across the Group. Although each of the company’s key businesses has its own process standardisation programme, the global programme ensures that best practices are embedded into each one.
The PEs are supported by Process Owners (POs) who work together via a Process Executive Council to ensure that processes are truly integrated and work end-to-end. The process standardisation programme is supported by a global ERP roll-out based on SAP, with the objective that most of the processes will be performed by SSCs in the Finance Operations division.