Over the past few years, many finance organizations have embarked on digital transformation programs aimed at significantly improving their performance and their ability to support the business. While many finance functions have been historically slower to evolve their processes and adopt new practices, they are now faced with a heightened level of urgency to become more digital and connected, driven by pressuring expectations from boards and shareholders alike.
The urgency is coming from many factors. These include the need to adapt to fast-changing markets and customer behaviors and pressure to grow at a fast rate – both organically and through M&As – while optimizing costs and delivering more value to shareholders. Finance needs to provide comprehensive and accurate financial insights to their management, external auditors, and regulators, more often, more quickly, and more reliably.
Treasury is no exception. While in the past, treasury organizations were unwillingly confined to specific tasks, they are now expected to provide strategic guidance to the board and be an integral part of their company’s running operations.
Let’s go through a few trends illustrating this change.
- In many industries, companies are changing their business models to engage directly with their end customers. Their ability to process and manage digital payments is therefore becoming key.
- To support their growth in a tough market, companies need more cash available. Treasurers are now looking across the boundaries of their organization to ensure that sound working-capital management practices are in place.
- Treasury operations should be accelerated, simplified, and more efficient. New tools in bank connectivity and communication, along with intelligent automation technologies in the order-to-cash process, are going a long way towards achieving a nimbler operating model.
- The ability to get the right insights in real time has never been more important. How can you manage your business without easy access to your updated cash position? How do you perform liquidity planning if your data is scattered throughout the enterprise? Wouldn’t you diminish risk and save valuable resources by managing all your foreign exchange risk, with the help of external data sources, in a single tool?
Ultimately, the more finance organizations can centralize, simplify, and automate their operations, the more efficient they become. This virtuous circle can only be achieved with centralization and easy access to data and the adoption of tightly connected tools. It requires finance to work hand-in-hand with IT to consolidate, harmonize, and govern the data and may involve new skills for the finance teams to acquire.
The companies going through this process, however tedious it can be, will surely reap the rewards and be more ready to tackle the ever-competitive and uncertain environment.
If you want to learn more about the burning trends in treasury and risk topics, listen to other companies’ stories and how they have achieved their goals, or network with peers and treasury partners, make sure to join us at the SAP International Treasury Conference on July 3-5, 2019 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. More info and agenda here.