Developing Talent to Achieve Treasury Transformation

  • By AFP Staff
  • Published: 3/25/2024
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While treasury transformation projects are usually designed to improve operational efficiency, with a heavy reliance on technology to achieve the objectives, it is critical to manage and develop the treasury team.

The 2023 AFP Treasury Benchmarking Survey on Treasury Transformation, conducted in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions, found that a majority of companies will look to some form of skills acquisition to get the treasury team ready to meet the needs of a transformation project.

Looking for insights on treasury transformation in the Middle East and Africa? Read the whitepaper “Treasury Transformation: Insights from the Middle East and Africa (MEA),” underwritten by Standard Chartered.

Looking for insights on treasury transformation in the Asia-Pacific? Read the whitepaper “Treasury Transformation: Insights from Asia-Pacific (APAC),” underwritten by Standard Chartered.

The treasury team will need to understand how any new technology operates. New workflows are often required; these will need to be mapped in a way that reflects the company structure before being set up in the technology.

The team also needs to understand the technology’s output so that its analysis can be acted upon in an appropriate manner. For example, the team will want to understand the accuracy of a new cash forecasting system. If the project does include new technology or processes, the treasurer and HR will want to identify the people who will use the new system and develop training to support them.

The following points need to be addressed when upskilling talent, especially with respect to the use of new or upgraded technology:

  • Input data quality. The same proviso with any technology solution applies — a system’s output is only as good as the quality of the data input. Team members need training to understand how the technology works and what is required from a data entry and data quality standpoint.
  • How the technology uses the data. If the system doesn’t reflect the underlying business and cash flows, then the output won’t either. Any flaws in data analysis may result in the company managing the wrong exposures. Treasurers need to understand how the technology manipulates data and should always conduct a variance analysis on any unexpected outcomes to make sure the system is working as expected. 
  • Future personnel plans. As one practitioner commented, “The treasurer and HR need to develop a long-term plan to improve the skills of their employees to make sure they maximize the benefits of the project. Existing team members may have the opportunity to become more strategic decision-makers (e.g., when hedging or investing short-term cash), but they need the skills and training to be able to do so. A balance is needed between investing in systems and investing in talent.”

The treasurer and HR will also need to spend some time discussing the project with colleagues who will be concerned about potential job replacement and other personal issues; AFP’s survey suggests that at least three-quarters of staff will be at least “somewhat concerned” about the impact of the project on them, with a small minority of them “significantly concerned.”

Talent development comes down to a mindset of being open to change as a company, a department and individual team members. Executive leadership and the treasurer will need to set an example and provide support to team members to acquire new skills and gain experience.

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