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Treasury Technology

Treasury Can Take Charge of Digitalization

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January 09, 2018

Treasury needs to drive the process of embracing the digital innovations that are fast and furiously approaching

E-commerceTreasurers lately are seeing how easily machine learning and chatbots can be incorporated into their treasury toolkits. They’re also beginning to appreciate what this means for team skill development and treasury roles going forward. This was one takeaway from a recent member presentation at NeuGroup’s Asia Treasurers’ Peer Group or AsiaTPG.

Members also heard a presentation on the growth of third-party payment systems. This demonstrated that treasury should have a proactive role in introducing these solutions for consumer-facing businesses and smaller enterprises, and should be prepared for non-bank account management that comes with such fintech infrastructure.

One member’s journey of digital transformation underscored the options available to treasury departments open to leveraging the power of apps and other digital tools to improve speed and efficiency. This company is using Azure, a Microsoft cloud services system. The member’s presentation showed that moving to Azure IaaS (infrastructure as a service) reduced its infrastructure costs by 20% year over year. The company also highlighted the benefits of using machine learning and chatbots; a credit and collections chatbot helped this member reduce ad hoc requests about customer orders and credit status. Response times fell to seconds from minutes and labor was cut by 1,800 hours per month.

Another digital trend heard at the meeting was that technology can hasten financial inclusion. Many countries promoting financial inclusion will bypass traditional payment and banking products as they leapfrog to digital wallets and fintech/virtual banks. Members discussed the need to embrace online third-party payment systems like WeChat Pay that are changing the global payments landscape. Another system, Alipay, is commonly described as a “super app” that now commands more than half of China’s third-party mobile payment market share. This showed the breadth of the product and the need for treasury to learn how it and other online third-party payment systems work and offer opportunities to better connect with customers in the digital age.

So whether it’s developing apps to improve cash-flow forecasting and FX exposure analysis or using online third-party payment systems, treasury needs to drive the process of embracing the digital innovations that are fast and furiously approaching. There is no time to wait and see. These presentations also helped members better understand the power of robotic process automation (RPA) and algorithms. It may never again be necessary for a treasury to grow to more than 100 FTEs, even to support a $500B or $1T business.

Treasury constantly is trying to add value and one way it can burnish its strategic role within the organization is by keeping abreast of digital and fintech developments like those mentioned above. Here they can assess which ones make sense vet which technology to present to senior management. It can also then make a strong case for using internal resources or tapping external sources to benefit from advancements that are transforming business models and how treasury does business.

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