As we enter a new decade, treasurers must learn how to juggle their traditional responsibilities alongside the new reality of disrupted business models and game-changing technologies, says Steve Elms, EMEA Region Sales Head, Corporate and Public Sector, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi. Proactive engagement with treasury stakeholders – existing and new – will be paramount, together with sustainable business practices and a healthy dose of creative thinking.
TMI: How has the treasury outlook shifted over the past year and what eventualities should treasurers prepare for over the coming 12 months?
Steve Elms (SE): What’s markedly different from last year is the growing need to balance the demands of ‘traditional’ treasury against the requirements of the ‘new’ digital business ecosystem. I’m not just talking about evolving treasury technology and the growing value of data – these themes are important, but there are wider issues that treasurers need to have on their radar too.
For example, digital business models are disrupting supply chains, cutting out distributors and enabling business-to-business (B2B) organisations to sell directly to the end customer. As a result, financial flows are changing and treasurers have a critical role to play in enabling all types of customers – business and consumer – to pay the organisation as easily as possible.
The nature of business is also shifting as a result of the increasing awareness and focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors across a range of stakeholders. Treasurers are not immune to this change. On the contrary, they are increasing expectations and driving change by exploring green and sustainable financial instruments and embodying sustainable values in their day-to-day running of the department.