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Five key treasury lessons from a tumultuous year

Caroline Stockmann, Chief Executive of ACT, and Karen Braithwaite, Global Head of Transaction Banking at Barclays, discuss the recent changes that are likely to become new realities for the modern treasurer.

Cash visibility

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen treasury teams doubling down on cash visibility, cash flow forecasting and working capital management. Yes, these fundamentals have always been at the heart of treasury activity but getting them right over the course of 2020 and 2021 has – frankly – enabled organisations to get through the pandemic and its chaotic slipstream.

Five key lessons

As we look to the future, we’ll need to bank some of the gains made – and keep up momentum on the trends that were already emerging. Here are five gains that if you’ve not implemented yet, you should really think about:

  1. Provide faster access to cash visibility. We’ve seen management teams and boards demanding more and faster access to data on organisations’ cash position – feeding into a renewed appreciation of the central role treasury plays and driving technology adoption.
  2. Increase adoption of treasury technology. We’ve seen a rapid take-up of banking and treasury technology, including greater adoption of online banking from corporate clients who hadn’t dealt with the banks digitally prior to the crisis. Among those already using online banking access, adoption rates of other digital solutions also grew significantly.
  3. Accelerate the move away from manual processes to inspire younger treasurers. Some treasury functions have accelerated their automation programme and shifted away from manual processes. This is all good news since a well-optimised treasury infrastructure frees treasurers up to devote their time to more strategic inputs including business partnering, providing them with more meaningful working environments and clearer career paths.
  4. Look to co-create treasury technology solutions. Banks, treasurers and FinTechs are increasingly working together to define challenges more precisely and to make solutions fit for purpose. There is recognition that each party has a specialism and perspective to contribute and that collaboration drives better solutions all round.
  5. Participate in the transparency and standardisation of ESG offerings. Now a permanent part of the business and finance landscape there is growing imperative to understand the quality of ESG finance offerings. Being able to establish that an issuance or credit offering is genuinely green or ESG-related is pivotal to their wider acceptance and take up and will have pricing implications in the future. As with any new feature of the finance landscape, standardisation and transparency will be key.

ACT Cash Management

The 2021 ACT Cash Management Conference, powered by Barclays, was a chance to celebrate what treasurers have achieved over the past year – and to look at future trends in cash management. You can watch all the session replays from the event, plus additional content here.

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Discover the latest insights and trends from the 2021 ACT Cash Management Conference, powered by Barclays.