In late March, I had the opportunity to attend the Euro Finance Global Treasury Americas event in San Francisco, where treasury leaders from global companies gather to share challenges and solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing their businesses and teams.
Keynote titles such as “Fighting the immediate impact of inflation on treasury,” and “Treasury strategies to beat the downturn,” encapsulated very well what was on the minds of attendees. Sessions at the event were centered around strategies to manage costs in light of inflation, driving efficiencies in costs, reviewing hedging strategies and strengthening liquidity buffers.
These are heavy topics. But also apparent was the flexibility and adaptability of the treasury team to confront the challenges presented by the current economy. In the many conversations I had with treasury executives, a shift in focus was apparent – there’s an increasing focus on cash flow, cash conversion cycles and contingency planning that’s making them pay more attention to the basics of payments and the benefits of streamlining payments processes.
Here are 3 takeaways from talking with attendees.
1. Recent banking events and developments have made treasurers hone in on banking relationships. That is in many cases good news for banks – where it’s creating opportunities. As evidence, one of our banking partners mentioned that one of their regional offices has already had 100+ new account applications in 2023 (through early March). That’s a 500% increase vs. all of 2022.
2. Treasurers’ focus is typically on investment and capital markets, but now they are paying much closer attention to gaining efficiencies in in accounts receivable processes – especially as it relates to international receivables. In some cases, companies are paying their suppliers in 30 days, but not getting paid for 70. Cash flow issues, difficulty getting money out of certain countries, e.g., Argentina, Nigeria, Brazil, Italy, are causing concern. And many are finding out that depending on a single entity in a country can be problematic. They also talked about the need for better visibility to cash flows from other countries.
3. There was also a lot of conversation about digital transformation, and specifically how treasury can accelerate that on the finance side of the business by upgrading their finance technologies. In a recent PNC Bank survey, treasury teams indicated that improving treasury operational efficiency (53%) was their primary goal. While some 58% of the companies PNC survey said they have not yet formalized a digital transformation plan, “accounts receivable and billing software projects led the way in terms of significant software projects planned for the next two years,” according to the report.
Flywire had many great conversations with innovative treasury leaders at the event, leaving us even more excited about what efficiencies payments innovation can bring to the business.