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Golden insights from ACT’s cash management conference

The Association of Corporate Treasurers has been running its annual Cash management Conference for 10 years now. Inevitably there is repetition because they have to cover the basics each time, but there are always some golden insights as to what is happening. The Cash Management Conference on 25 February was no exception. 

Need for spare capacity in the corporate treasury department 

The coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, was first encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It is, possibly, going to become a pandemic, and is certainly affecting many aspects of life and business worldwide. Banks and businesses, particularly in Asia, are reorganising with bank department staff trying to protect themselves by staff working at home, not having staff meetings, etc. to try and stop any infection spreading. Corporate treasury departments are also affected, e.g. in a panel discussing the New Imperatives in Strategic Cash Management, one corporate treasurer with responsibilities for cash and treasury management in Asia said his biggest Imperative was to keep operating with so many absences from his corporate treasury department. 

In a discussion afterwards, he said the biggest problem in corporate treasury departments today is that there is no slack, no redundancy in departments any more. When there is a crisis like a coronavirus or any other new demand, the corporate treasury department struggles to cope.

Jill Harrison, Head of Treasury at Spectris, said one of the things she would do differently in implementing their TMS was to recruit additional staff for the implementation period.

Lack of resources in the corporate treasury department is going to cause many problems, starving corporate treasury departments of resources is not clever – the costs of errors and losses are huge. But senior management seems to be ignoring the problem.

Lack of API standards body

The panel discussion on PSD2 and open banking – challenges and opportunities with some of the leading players from UK’s Payment Systems Regulator, UK Finance, The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) and AccessPay revealed that there is no single body setting API standards in Europe, let along worldwide. Apparently there is a long way to go.

Cost of new payment systems development holding banks innovation back

Banks have currently got a lot on their plates in payment systems over the next two years. In his presentation Martin Runow, Managing Director, Global Head of Payments and Corporate Banking, Barclays listed the huge new development banks have to implement in the next two years:

  • Open Banking
  • ISO20022
  • Fintech services.

Several speakers and other attendees all agreed that this will cut back the discretionary payment systems development that the banks will be able to carry out in the near future.      

Tech talks

Giving a Fintech 10 minutes precisely to present their concept/service, focuses minds dramatically. Two presentations stood out:

  • Simplifying cross border payments and receivables – Jan Lorenc, TransferWise, see:

Both well worth a look.

Cash flow forecasting 

Inevitably at a cash management conference, cash flow forecasting was covered in several different ways. Again two presentations stood out:

  • Nicolas Christiaen, CEO, Cashforce highly technical presentation on AI-powered cash flow forecasting solution to provide better insights showed a seven-step process to a much better understanding of your cashflows and forecasts, see:
  • Latha Visvendran, Group Treasurer, Chemring Group on Optimising multi-currency cash flows with lower and automated processes, showed how to use available resources and systems to put together consolidated cash forecasting and management accounting processes to gain group-wide cash visibility and recreate its cash position.

CTMfile take: Overall a conference well worth attending. Looking forward to more golden insights next year.


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