It is the age-old story for financial services: a traditional ‘work-horse’ business process within an organization seen as a cost centre so does not reap the technology investment that is necessary to support its development and increase its efficiency until
it’s too late. And the corporate treasury function has been no exception.
Until recently, treasury departments had not enjoyed a comfortable relationship with their supporting technology infrastructures. At the 2009 ACT Conference in Manchester in April however, indications were that this is likely to change.
The heightened awareness of risk management at a company level and CFO level means that the Treasurers ability to manage a company’s cash and exposures to financial markets have become increasingly important. These are now issues that are increasingly accepted
at the highest levels as very important for corporate profitability or even essential for corporate survival.
With risk management in mind, Treasurers are also looking to enhance their cash visibility and cash pool management capabilities to achieve increased efficiency in the control of cash around the organisation, pay-down external debt through using identified
surplus cash and improve the yield performance on their net cash position.
The global requirement of the treasury function also throws up complication. Operational differences and variations in the priorities and terminology between US domestic cash management, for example, compared with European practice shows that if not properly
understood, it can often lead to confusion and error when European corporate treasurers are working with their American subsidiaries.
The financial turbulence we are currently experiencing has certainly shifted focus towards investment in treasury technology. Organisations increasingly need to provide a secure and uniform platform for the management of bank balance and transaction statements,
deal confirmation management including matching, and payments export. Without an effective Treasury Management System, a Treasurer will struggle to derive a reasonably accurate and timely picture of risk and liquidity and therefore will not be able to contribute
adequately to the core cash and risk management business.
Organisations now require enterprise treasury management systems that can locate and manage cash with a high level of efficiency as well as the ability to measure and manage counterparty exposures, so that risk can be contained according to policy and most
importantly, the CFO’s demanding questions can be answered quickly and accurately.