September 15, 2008. This is the day treasury transformed from being important to strategic. What was later called the credit crisis was fueled by a massive constriction of liquidity like we had never seen. Suddenly, boards were demanding from their CEOs the answer to a simple question: how much cash do we have? These CEOs turned to their CFOs, who then turned to their treasury teams to provide the critical answer.
Bob Stark's blog
Bob Stark, vice president of strategy
Bob has 18 years’ experience in treasury technology, working for many of the best known technology providers in the industry. As VP of Strategy at Kyriba, Bob is responsible for global product strategy and market development, and works with clients, partners, and industry influencers to ensure Kyriba is at the forefront of treasury technology. Bob has provided treasury management strategy to some of the world’s largest companies, and is a frequent speaker and author on treasury, risk management, and the cloud. If it’s worth knowing about in the treasury, you can assume he knows it.
The White House recently announced its initial tax plan, teasing the financial community with a short series of bullet points. Although there is much work to do to formalize the plan, including passing it through a gauntlet of approvals and negotiations in Congress, President Donald Trump’s plan is effectively music to the ears of CEOs, CFOs and corporate treasurers.
Here are the highlights for corporate treasury:
1) Reduction of the corporate tax rate to 15%
2) One-time tax on overseas earnings
Fraud and Compliance have begun replacing Cash Forecasting and Liquidity Management as the top priorities for Corporate Treasurers. While Risk Management has always been a priority for Treasurers, managing risk typically meant implementing a good hedging policy or ensuring sufficient liquidity to meet cash obligations.
Global finance professionals are challenged by time consuming and error prone manual data entry, and implementing financial controls with enhanced security against fraud and cybercrime. With increasing danger of loss from fraud and difficulty of tracking data across multiple tools and spreadsheets, leadership is asking treasury for a solution to better manage and protect their organization. The problem is that many organizations are using spreadsheets as their primary treasury management tool in spite of their lack of security, controls, and auditability.
The start of January is most definitely the time for bold (or not so bold) predictions for the upcoming year. In the past weeks we have seen predictions suggesting that advanced business intelligence will be the number one priority for CFOs in 2017, predictable analytics will effectively replace hedge fund managers, and that blockchain is ready to emerge as the next coming of the internet for finance – in 2017. None of these things are going to happen – in 2017, or maybe at all.
Fraud and cybercrime have been a concern for corporate treasurers for several years, and this past year showed us that there is a new risk to consider: connectivity. The stories of banks being hacked and losing millions through unauthorized payments shook the industry, since protecting payment connectivity workflows was low on the priorities list for treasury.
While unfortunate for those involved, there are valuable lessons to be learned for the rest of us in treasury: