In such a rapidly evolving business environment, treasurers must ensure that they are not only meeting the needs of their organisations today but also preparing for the future. This involves questioning the status quo and upgrading everything from systems to treasury talent.
Although many treasurers’ minds will currently be occupied by the fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic, treasury never stands still. As such, while it is critical to focus on immediate challenges – from liquidity issues to increased cyber risk – it is also vital to think about ways to make treasury more robust in the future.
Reassess treasury models
One of the first steps on this future-proofing journey is to determine the appropriate organisational model for treasury for the years ahead. Over the past decade, treasurers have typically sought to centralise their activities to improve visibility over cash and data, and increase both financial and operational control at a group level. And as emerging business risks such as cybercrime increase, the benefits of centralised processes and controls remain as important as ever.
Nevertheless, the means by which treasury departments achieve centralisation is changing, particularly as innovative technologies are becoming more widely available. As reported in the 2019-2020 Journeys to Treasury report produced by BNP Paribas, the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (EACT), PwC and SAP, some treasury functions are therefore opting for a ‘virtual’ centralisation model. This works by enabling treasurers to gain visibility over cash and financial risks while local business entities stay close to customers in order to serve them in the most efficient way. Technologies helping to drive this change include cloud computing and application programming interfaces (APIs).