The Ever-Expanding Role of a Corporate Treasurer

It’s not an easy time to be a corporate treasurer. It was always a role that included a lot of risks and careful cash management — and it has only become more difficult. An expanded list of responsibilities, coupled with the proliferation of data means that treasurers have to be both tactical and forward-looking.  


Growing pains and globalization


Perhaps the single biggest factor in the expanding scope of corporate treasury responsibility is growth, in all its forms. The larger the enterprise, the more likely it is to be operating and expanding into global markets. A study by Strategic Treasurer discovered that 37 percent of corporations now operate across at least 11 countries and generate payments in six or more currencies. 


They also found that 45 percent of corporations are now generating at least 10,000 global payments every month, in 100 or more corporate bank accounts. When you add the foreign exchange concerns and volatility in those global markets, it adds up a lot for treasurers to stay on top of.


Expanded scope of strategic and tactical concerns 


The economic crash of 2008 introduced new regulatory requirements to virtually all types of transactions in all markets. Most were created to regulate the banks and increase transparency, like the publicly available trade details required by Dodd-Frank, or the credit monitoring that is required by Basel III. But these and others have the effect of transferring effort that was once the responsibility of banks, to the corporate treasury department.   


The “big data” trend is having an outsized impact as well. Corporations now have access to massive amounts of data that offers insights into their operational and financial performance. As a result, the role of treasury has become more strategic, as leaders discover new ways to parse this data looking for efficiencies and opportunities. It’s no longer a simple matter of analyzing past business performance — it’s increasingly a forward-looking business function that aims to predict things like market volatility and other trends. A McKinsey poll of CFOs determined that 46% of financial Chiefs spend a portion of their non-finance time on strategic leadership. 


Meanwhile, fraud prevention and security challenges like phishing are an ever-present threat. That same McKinsey poll indicated that 38% of CFOs are responsible for their IT. Some even oversee cybersecurity and digitization, both of which are on-going concerns, especially in an era when the demand for open banking continues to grow. It’s no wonder then that 88% of corporate treasurers in a JP Morgan survey said that their role has grown in strategic importance over the past five years. 


New and evolving technology and trends


Staying on top of technology trends like cloud software, open banking, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, big data, automation and artificial intelligence also fall under the corporate treasurer’s purview. 


Rapid innovation in fintech and treasury management software is creating an environment where treasurers need to be aware of how to future-proof their digital transformations or augment their existing tech stack. But owning all of these responsibilities has a lot of upside potential too. A change like automating accounts payable and receivable (AP/AR) could save corporations loads of time and money without the need for costly custom development (or any paper). As demands from senior management and the board continue to grow and change, corporate treasurers should strive to come up with methods to support broader strategies and growth agendas. Banks can also improve their offerings to clients in a cost-efficient and scalable manner by partnering with FinTech firms. 


Many of the more forward thinking and digital focused banks are already doing this, and can provide your organization with a deeper selection of products and services that will enable treasurers to increase transparency where it’s needed, analyze data to discover opportunities, and to eliminate any remaining error-prone manual processes and security holes- all without any costly or time consuming development work. When a fintech like FISPAN partners with your commercial bank, you gain immediate access to a comprehensive set of capabilities that is integrated directly into your treasury management workflow and can scale with your business into the future.

By taking advantage of embedded banking products, you can easily generate forward momentum in the shift to becoming more digital and strategic. If you’d like to find out whether your bank offers embedded treasury management products, get in touch with us here.

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