Four years on
Over the four years Treasury Today has been in existence, we have seen significant changes in the business environment. We launched at the height of the dot.com boom. The frenetic activity that accompanied the dot.com hype disappeared quickly as the balloon deflated. However, the underlying message remains – the efficient use of electronic means of communication offers treasurers real opportunities to add value to their companies.
The wider business environment is more difficult now as well. Four years ago, many companies had an outward-looking focus – they may have been preparing for an IPO or identifying their next takeover target.
Today, the focus is much more introspective. Doing more with less is the directive that many boards send down to their managers and employees. In many companies, this has translated into a focus on working capital management.
Interestingly, it is the improvements in technology that allow companies to get much better control on all aspects of working capital. The technology offers treasurers, and other managers, access to much better information. This ranges from intra-day account balances to real-time records of work-in-progress on the factory floor.
The focus on working capital also reflects another trend that has been emerging over the last four years, the increasing influence of the finance function across the whole organisation. As technology allows information from disparate parts of the organisation to be concentrated, personnel with the right skills to use it are required.
This process is only just beginning.