by Julia Persson, Head of Cash Management, Swedbank
According to a major BCG survey , treasurers are looking to banks for creative problem solving while things like ‘complex finance advisory’ and ‘frequent visits’ check in at the very bottom of the most wanted list. Looking at it from a traditional banker’s view one would almost feel inclined to reverse the list. Around the world CFOs and treasurers wish for more proactive behaviour and business understanding from their banking partners. It’s about time to start listening.
In recent years the treasury role has expanded and everybody agrees that it will keep on doing so. Today a treasurer has to understand and take an active part in the company’s strategic work as well as the day-to-day problems and challenges, not only of the treasury but of the company as a whole. According to the recent AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Report  almost 50% of all treasuries act as internal consultants to other departments. Equally we all agree that we as bankers have to stop selling increasingly commoditised products and start to develop insights into our clients’ realities as well as understanding company strategy and deliver tailor-made solutions.
But how far have we come? All too often it ends up in a set of good intentions and some nice sounding phrases; be a financial business partner, value added services, customer centric culture, a holistic view etc. We all hear and use these buzz words but what do we really mean? How do we actually approach this: is there some sort of hands-on solution to really tackle this objective of establishing a true win-win partnership between a bank and a treasury?