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Business without borders: treasury in the digital age

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Crossing borders together

We are living through a period of unprecedented change driven, primarily, by the continual advancement of technology. The biggest impact has undoubtedly come from the proliferation of internet access, which has given rise to the hyper-connected world that we live in today. For businesses, this has created a tremendous opportunity to tap into a bigger consumer base and find new and substantial pockets of growth by selling goods online. Today, with the power of the internet, any business can be a global business.

This fact has made the business landscape more competitive than ever. It is no longer enough to have quality goods and competitive prices. To win in today’s world, businesses must operate globally but in a local way, offering a seamless user experience customised for their local market. They must also act with speed, providing near real-time delivery of goods and services.

To facilitate these market demands, regulators are responding by upgrading infrastructures to support real-time commerce. This is perhaps most evident in the payments space where ‘instant payments’ systems are becoming ubiquitous. These payment systems are creating a host of opportunities for banks and fintech players (facilitated by open banking regulation such as PSD2). They are revolutionising payment processes for corporates and their customers. It is a revolution that might signal the end of the road for bulk and batch processing.

In many ways, the journey is just beginning. Developments such as open banking and Faster Payments may be seen as merely laying the foundations for the second wave of digitisation. This is where technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of Things, APIs and Artificial Intelligence will completely redefine how businesses operate, creating many new growth opportunities.

We at Barclays are excited by the potential of these technologies and the way they can revolutionise banking services and the role of banks in providing access to finance. We are leading the way, innovating internally, supporting fintechs and working with the entire financial community, as an enabler, aggregator and partner. We are building ground-breaking solutions that will help support our clients as they continue to evolve in this brave new world.

The opportunities created by technology are bountiful but it would be remiss to overlook the ongoing geopolitical flux. The recent backlash against globalisation, which arguably manifested itself in Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump, has made it harder for some businesses to enter certain markets. There are also ever-present risks, such as cyber threats, that corporates should never take lightly. Elsewhere, regulation will continue to both support and prohibit corporate activity.

When all is considered, there is a lot for corporate treasury professionals to take in as they help guide their organisations through all these changes. Throughout the pages of this supplement, our experts provide insight into these topics, highlighting the impact on your business and offering potential solutions.

At Barclays, we pride ourselves on over 325 years of supporting our clients with their banking needs, across cash, trade, lending and foreign exchange, in both good and bad times. It is our aim to continue to be a thoughtful and reliable partner, thinking ‘beyond the technology’ and working with our clients and partners to help us all redefine the way we do business.

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