A Treasury Technology Roadmap at Virgin Atlantic
by Paul Tydeman, Virgin Atlantic
One of the ways in which Virgin Atlantic's Treasury wants to distinguish itself is the level of automation we are able to achieve.
The Treasury department at Virgin Atlantic has similarities with many other treasuries: we take care of foreign exchange and interest rate risk; we guide and shape cash management strategy and manage the group’s liquidity. Although Treasury is a centralised function, various Virgin entities, such as Virgin Holidays and our Cargo division, each have different ERP systems and our business units and overseas offices hold separate accounts. Cash management is very important for us as a relatively cash-rich business. This includes both ensuring sufficient levels of liquidity and also enhancing the value of the cash we hold to meet our business requirements and achieve our strategic goals: to deliver the highest quality of service in a cost effective and innovative way.
Although we are similar to other treasuries, one of the ways in which Virgin Atlantic’s Treasury wants to distinguish itself is the level of automation we are able to achieve, through efficient use of technology, connectivity between systems and ultimately, the highest levels of straight through processing. By concentrating on automation and providing high quality processing and decision-making, the small team in Treasury can fulfil a wider variety of functions and play a more strategic role within the company. This article discusses the benefits, the barriers we have experienced when implementing our technology vision and how we in treasury envisage the future.
Virgin Atlantic’s Technology Vision
When looking at our treasury technology strategy, we have incorporated all of the various transaction components which Treasury handles, including liquidity management, cash forecasting, cash positioning and reconciliation, deal capture, settlement and payment. We believe that by implementing a strategy to automate activities across all of these functions, rather than simply focusing on one or two areas, we can drive greater operational efficiency by eliminating the time-consuming and error-prone methods of data entry and processing. Furthermore, Virgin Atlantic is still a relatively young company and is characterized by dynamism and innovation. By implementing a robust technology infrastructure, we can support business growth and expanded responsibilities without increasing our cost base.