June 2018

Treasury consultant Robert Novaria explains how solid corporate results come to those able to generate the capability to deliver them – and that takes collaboration

After having dedicated more than 30 years in the corporate world to various finance, credit and treasury leadership roles, I was challenged by a fellow partner at the Treasury Alliance Group (TAG) to codify the mind of the treasurer for a banking client.

Insights gained over my years as a treasurer framed questions such as: what issues are always top of mind? How do decisions get made? What factors are critical in choosing business partners? What does it take to become a trusted adviser? My efforts became the basis for a key part of a global training programme, as well as a public webinar on the role of the treasurer. I bring up this piece of history because, as I think about the challenges that treasurers face, I see a common thread between this past training effort and what it takes to fashion workable solutions – strong, collaborative relationships. The evidence is found in the types of outcomes that are delivered.

Liquidity management

Effective liquidity management ensures that the right amount of cash is in the right place at the right time, in the right currency. To do this, treasurers need an eye into the future. Most rely on timely cash flow forecasts to assist in making this happen. But what facilitates reliable and sufficiently accurate cash forecasts? Evidence suggests that it’s more than the systems, applications and spreadsheets being used. Ownership of cash forecasts by the businesses and other functions is essential, as are active networks facilitating communication among participating parties. Treasurers who build a corporate culture that embraces an ongoing focus on cash flows will witness participants sharing reliable data and providing notice of shifts in plans and any unexpected events. These insights truly impact results.

Cyber security

It’s no secret that treasury is a top target for fraudsters because of its authority to make payments and move large amounts of cash quickly. Banks and IT departments work hard to ensure that security measures are in place, but unfortunately, gaps still exist. Technological savvy alone is not enough to prevent fraud. Recent research indicates that corporates are particularly vulnerable to social engineering programmes that target junior staff, as well as weak security programmes undertaken by third parties and their subcontractors. Vigilance is required to uncover the weakest links in security programmes and to strengthen them. By collaborating with their internal and external relationships, treasurers will help with the ongoing efforts to fully understand the status of the people and processes impacting treasury on a 24/7 basis. The elimination of weak links ensures that control measures are effectively scrutinising the entire landscape. Loss prevention is good business.

Regulatory compliance

Broad and consequential regulations have emerged as reactions to terrorism and the financial crisis, adding considerable risk and complexity to the overall achievement of ongoing compliance. The current regulatory line-up is onerous, including FBAR, IFRS 9 & 16, BEPS, GDPR and more. This tees up two broad challenges for companies: who within and outside an organisation should be vested with compliance responsibilities, and what sort of business processes and systems need to be created and/or acquired to ensure compliance processes are comprehensive and efficient.

Compliance efforts for regulations – whether in regards to financial, tax or reporting – usually require input from businesses, functions, customers, suppliers, banks and vendors. This is no small effort. It often takes an army. The experience, comfort and success that treasurers have in working collaboratively are valuable assets. When effectively leveraged, they ensure timely and efficient compliance.

Treasury is a people business

Strategic insight, sound business processes, technological savvy and useful analytics contribute to delivering solid corporate results. However, strong collaborative relationships provide the glue that powerfully connects these together, generating the capability required to consistently deliver value-adding contributions. You can take that to the bank.

 

Robert Novaria is a partner at the Treasury Alliance Group with more than 30 years of corporate experience as a treasurer, credit director, finance manager and controller at BP America and Amoco Corporation. He currently leverages these experiences as a consultant and trainer, as well as a chairperson, moderator and speaker at treasury conferences worldwide

Rob Novaria

Partner, Treasury Alliance Group

Rob Novaria

You might be interested in

This website uses cookies in order to improve user experience. If you close this box or continue browsing, we will assume you agree with this. For more information about the cookies we use or to find out how you can disable cookies, click here.