Treasury Strategy & Transformation
Published  15 MIN READ

Uncertainty Principle

The Art and Science of Treasury in Troubled Times

Every conference has a theme, but when times are somewhat changeable, often with very little notice, pinning down that theme is a challenge. With that in mind, the organisers of this year’s ACT Annual Conference, held in Liverpool on May 21-22, opted to boost treasury’s role in saving the day, going for Tomorrow’s Treasurer: Thriving in Uncertainty.

The idea that treasurers are rising to the challenges of operating in an economic maelstrom was clearly one that resonated with the 1,162 attendees at this year’s ACT annual conference. Many sessions enjoyed a healthy turnout, especially the keynotes that sought to unwind the barrage of complications facing businesses today. But here, urgent themes such as rising costs, the ongoing polycrisis, and imminent funding challenges, were necessarily tempered by words of wisdom and support from a British athletics legend.

Price of business

Raging uncertainty is obviously a tricky customer for anyone who tries to forecast, let alone use that data to build out strategies and resilience to effectively manage their risks. Nonetheless, in her opening keynote, The World in 2024, journalist Katrine Kielos-Marçal proffered four fundamental views of commercial life through the shifting prices of time, energy, of being human, and of peace.

Aware of the challenges of forecasting even in the best of times, she pre-empted her presentation with a disclaimer, citing economist J. K. Galbraith’s entertaining observation that “the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”.