The digital treasurer of the future

Tech disruption is inevitable. Treasurers should embrace change to improve efficiency and turn themselves into key business advisers

New technology is flooding the financial landscape and threatening to disrupt everything from markets as a whole to everyday financial processes. This should be taken as a positive, especially if you’re a treasurer.

Treasuries stand to see huge benefits if they embrace the new technologies available to them. And they should begin by asking fundamental questions such as:

1) How can digital technology better support my company’s business?
2) How can treasury leverage technology to become more efficient in the functions and services it performs?
3) What skills and capabilities do we need to develop to achieve these objectives?

Becoming a digital adviser

The key to building a digital treasury is evaluating the areas that would most benefit from improvement today and then carving out the time to do something about it. You don’t need a grand strategy. A simple ‘digital roadmap’, setting out some key objectives and milestones, can be a useful way of anchoring day to day activities to long-term objectives.

There is a core set of technologies that should be on every treasurer’s roadmap. These include: big data analytics, for more sophisticated capital forecasts; behavioural-based analytics for forecasting and scenario analysis; and increased levels of robotic automation.

But the more interesting question may be how the same technologies can be used to extend the treasurer’s remit to providing additional services or deeper analytical insights to the business.

Technology is not only reshaping the day-to-day operations of treasuries and the way they interact with financial markets, but, more importantly, it is changing the very core of how businesses interact with their customers, suppliers and markets. The ability to help the business navigate these changes will be critical to the future of the treasurer, turning the role into one that is core to developing new models, rather than being a peripheral player or governance function.

Building the right team

Embracing new technologies doesn’t mean transforming existing staff into ‘digital ninjas’ overnight, but it does mean investing in their development or bringing in new staff with different skill sets to complement the finance-heavy nature of most existing treasury teams. Should your next hire be a finance graduate or a data scientist? A finance expert or a process design expert?

Experimentation is great way of acquiring new skills sets and knowledge. Companies don’t necessarily need to make a huge investment to learn about tools such as robotic process automation, data analytics and visualisation, or artificial intelligence. The important thing is to start the journey and keep building on key capabilities and skillsets. With much of this technology rapidly maturing, now is a good time to start.

For more on the future of digital treasuries, read our whitepaper The Digital Treasurer of the Future