by Richard Martin, Head of Payments and Cash Management, Barclays Commercial
The Treasury function in any corporate has always been important in making sure that the business has sufficient liquidity to meet its obligations, whilst managing payments, receipts and financial risks effectively.
With the ever increasing pace of change to regulation, compliance and technology in the financial sector, Treasury has increasingly become a strategic business partner across all areas of the business, adding value to the operating divisions of the company: for example, working with the sales department to establish good financial contract terms so that any trade discounts offered and the payment method agreed are beneficial to the business. Current market conditions also reinforce the need for corporates to ensure that their financial position is managed as efficiently as possible, with no excess working capital tied up in the business - the old adage ‘cash is king’ is certainly as relevant today as it has always been.
Treasury departments need to cover the complete financial environment; from capital structure and long term investments to liquidity and working capital management. If Treasury can drive improvements in the Purchase-To-Pay and Order-To Cash cycles, there can be a direct effect on the overall debt and investment requirements and thus on the capital structure required in the business.
The question then is: if the Treasury function is becoming more of a business partner, how can the department manage its time to ensure that day to day administration, processing and transaction execution is completed using the minimum of resource?