by Brice Zimmermann, Head, Treasury Control & Reporting and Peter Zumkeller, Manager, Finance Transformation Programme, Novartis
In 2010, Novartis embarked on a major finance transformation programme to position treasury and the wider finance function as best-in-class for the pharmaceutical industry. During the Cash Management University hosted by BNP Paribas, Brice Zimmermann and Peter Zumkeller of Novartis, shared their experiences of finance transformation.
Treasury is a corporate unit within Group Finance at Novartis, located in Basel, and divided between International Treasury, Capital Markets, and Control & Reporting. Treasury’s objective is to manage risk on behalf of the group and ensure that operating units are appropriately funded to meet their strategic and operational objectives.
Novartis aims to be best-in-class across all of its activities, including Finance. To support this objective, we launched a finance transformation programme to optimise process efficiency, enhance the quality of business intelligence and decision-making, foster the best skills in the profession, and improve transparency and control. We identified a variety of ways in which this vision could be achieved in treasury, including the following:
- Achieve full control and visibility over financial risk at a group level
- Achieve full control and visibility over group liquidity
- Centralise cash using cash pooling wherever possible
- Rationalise cash management banks to enhance efficiency, avoid fragmentation and create economies of scale
- Streamline payments processes and infrastructure
- Introduce centres of competence within financial service centres
Ultimately, the objectives were: to standardise, simplify and automate treasury activities wherever possible.