Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi
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May 2008

Previous editions

Editorial

Adding value in difficult times

In these difficult banking and economic times, many treasurers are realising this is the moment to shine in their organisation. They feel there has never been a better moment to demonstrate how they can help their organisation through these challenging times. Other treasurers may prefer to keep a lower profile but may then find the CEO and CFO have different expectations. The wisest treasurers are already demonstrating the value they can add in today’s challenging climate.

At the recent EuroFinance conference in Miami, CFOs were asked to talk about what they were looking for in their treasurers and were quick to point out that they expected a lot. Expertise, analysis and communication were all high on the list of the skills required.

One of the main tasks in the present environment was seen to be acting as an ambassador, representing the company to the financial community and working with the CFO to retain or obtain credit lines. Analysing and explaining the company’s strengths and addressing any perceived weaknesses. Having an awareness of different funding techniques and the options open to the company. Understanding how these different options would affect shareholder value.

Next, treasury is seen as a source of expertise. Treasury can explain and interpret what is going on in the banking and financial markets to senior management – evaluating and explaining the potential impact on the company. The treasurer is expected to have both the foresight and the insight into where the company is going and then to be able to communicate to senior management the challenges the company may face.

Treasury must be able to communicate down as well as up and re-enforce senior management’s vision to the rest of the company. This is seen as an essential skill as treasury reaches out across the organisation. Treasury needs to rationalise what is going on – at the very least, rationalising payment terms and conditions and looking at how cash can be generated under the working capital programmes so many companies have instigated since the beginning of the credit squeeze.

Finally, with the US getting closer to adopting IFRS accounting standards, an ability to understand accounting changes and the consequential impact on the P&L and the balance sheet (not just the post tax effect) was seen as an essential skill set. This is something international treasurers should be picking up on, particularly if they report anything in the US under GAAP.

Has there been a better time for treasury professionals to demonstrate their worth to senior management?

Many treasury professionals who have demonstrated their worth have been nominated or have nominated themselves for the Treasury Today Adam Smith Awards 2008. Nominations are now closed.

The awards will be presented to the winners (and their partner banks or system suppliers where appropriate) at a celebratory awards lunch on 19th June at the Four Seasons Hotel in London’s Canary Wharf.

We hope to see you there. If you wish to attend this lunch or to host a table at this prestigious event, please email lisa.bigley@treasurytoday.com for more details or call us on +44 13 0462 9018.