by Jan Slootweg, Group Treasurer, Nutreco Holding N.V.
Although Nutreco’s business units operate on a largely autonomous basis, treasury is one of the business activities that has been centralised into a centre of excellence. Group Treasury acts as an in-house bank to the local businesses, providing funding services, investing surplus cash, hedging FX exposures and managing all external banking activities. Since the introduction of IFRS, Group Treasury also deals with hedge accounting, which, together with the need to improve connectivity with business units, proved one of the primary drivers when deciding to select a new treasury management system (TMS).
We had successfully used an older TMS for a number of years, but it was relatively inflexible, so as our business needs had evolved, we could not achieve the enhancement and automation to our processes that we were seeking. For example, communication with business units was a manual process, which we wanted to automate using web-based connectivity. IFRS was another driver, as had we retained this system, we would have quite some challenges to support hedge accounting. On top of that, we believe that future development and support of the TMS is important in selecting a system solution. Our TMS was then acquired by another vendor, and we were concerned about its future support status.
As a result of these factors, we decided to evaluate alternative TMS options with a view to replacing our existing system. We were fortunate that we conducted the selection and implementation process prior to the financial crisis, so we had sufficient time to dedicate to the project. With hindsight, this proved very fortunate, as once the crisis struck, our treasury agenda changed significantly and we would not have had the resources available to complete the project.