Covid-19 is this decade’s ‘black swan’ – a one in a million, highly unpredictable event with far reaching and severe consequences. The uncertainty the pandemic has brought with it has shaken the financial and corporate world to its core. As industries scramble to prepare for new, unexpected challenges, we consider how the corporate treasury function can – and should – operate in an ever-changing environment.
The question companies across Europe are facing is what restrictions and rules might look like as the region enters winter, where case numbers are expected, or have already begun, to rise. Corporate treasurers are having to ask themselves again how much access – if any – can they expect to have to their normal working environment, what unexpected restrictions might they need to try and plan for and how can they ensure that their systems and technology are ready for whatever the next few months might bring? As the situation drags on, tolerance for technology issues caused by remote working is waning and corporate treasuries will want to ensure that they can access the data they need, when they need it, reliably and easily, in order to support business activity.
This data must be available quickly. With the situation incredibly fluid, corporates need to be agile in their reactions to emerging events, which requires real-time visibility of all their data. Cash and liquidity management is more important than ever, and corporate treasuries need to be confident that the information on their positions is available at their fingertips. This means that seamless, real time connectivity is vital – the stakes are too high and the landscape too dynamic to rely on workarounds anymore.
Moreover, making decisions in this challenging environment means having 100% certainty in your data. Not only do corporate treasurers need this data for their own decision making and forecasting, the latter being extremely difficult in the current environment, they also need to make key information quickly available to stakeholders across the business who are grappling with strategic decision making. Unfortunately, many corporates are still lacking the connectivity that allows them to do this and are facing a scramble to gain data visibility at an already difficult time.
We have discussed the difficulties of extreme uncertainty for the corporate treasury function, but it’s also possible that the environment may lead to changes which are beneficial in the long run. For example the unprecedented nature of the situation and the increasing importance of cash and liquidity is already leading to more engagement between CFOs and corporate treasurers, with some in the industry feeling that it may be easier for treasurers to transition their function into a more strategic role. We’ve also seen the acceleration of digital transformation, driven not only by remote working requirements, but also by a desire for greater granularity and real time visibility. For treasurers who have been championing the importance of these for the past few years, the fact that all eyes are now on their function may provide a golden opportunity to engage senior management and other key stakeholders in understanding just how important these factors are for a powerful and effective treasury.
With so much uncertainty in the outside world, corporate treasuries need to arm themselves with optimum data and visibility in order to give themselves the best chance of operating effectively through the tough times to come. The key lies in having real time access to the information you need, when you need it, and the connectivity required to work with this data across the multiple different formats and message standards found in the treasury and payments space. Corporate treasuries which are struggling with these areas should be asking themselves as a matter of urgency – how can I see what is happening with my cash and liquidity across my organization? Because if there is one thing that is certain about the months to come, it’s that we should be doing everything we can to prepare for the unexpected.
To hear how we can help you obtain clear visibility and management of your cash and liquidity data, contact our team below.