Corporates in the Americas, like their counterparts globally, are challenged to optimise liquidity, improve working capital and manage risk to succeed in today’s turbulent economic times. The weakening of the US financial services sector has created a multitude of uncertainties in the Americas and globally, says David Conroy, Americas Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management Corporates, Global Transaction Banking, Deutsche Bank.
What are some of the key trends that will impact Americas-based corporate treasurers?
Corporate treasurers in the Americas and in the world at large are experiencing today a “balance sheet recession”. The drying up credit supply has slowed the growth of many corporates in the Americas, but there is still an extraordinary amount of opportunity in this region. At the same time, increased opportunities for top line revenue growth are now in emerging markets such as Brazil, a region that is growing at tremendous rates with this country representing more than one-third of the market size for South America. Economic turmoil has led corporates across all industry sectors to alter their cash management strategy.
“Back to basics” has become a fundamental theme. More than ever, treasurers are seeking to re-focus on their core role of maintaining day-to-day liquidity and ensuring that the company is prepared to conduct business. Also, this has resulted in greater emphasis on squeezing efficiencies out of the financial supply chain and increased centralisation as well as automation of the treasury function. An additional outcome has been that the treasurer’s role has taken on larger importance in many organisations. The treasury unit will continue to rise in strategic value to the organisation. CFOs will work even closer with the treasurer, procurement, sales and logistics staff, as issues, that were once looked upon as mundane, are now valued for their importance to the company’s overall financial health.