Accenture’s multi-year Treasury Transformation project (TTP) was triggered by two major business imperatives. First was the rapidly deteriorating economic stability in major economies that increased Accenture’s financial risk profile. The second was, and remains, Accenture’s continued growth trajectory, particularly in new, non-traditional geographies.
Onkar Liddar, Managing Director Global Liquidity and Banking, explains, “these factors necessitated a scalable, flexible and robust treasury infrastructure to manage cash, currency risk and credit finance in new and existing markets.”
Given Accenture’s size and geographic spread, the volume of payments and inter-company invoices is very large. The workload required to process cash transactions and bank account reconciliation manually created considerable resourcing issues and prevented treasury expertise from being channelled into specialist, value-added tasks.
The TTP framework included the following key elements:
By implementing a single bank-neutral platform for bank communication, Accenture would be able to switch or add to its cash management banks more readily, and standardise processes and controls across banks. Furthermore, by leveraging ISO 20022 standards, it would be able to standardise communication and integration across banks and regions.
Implement SAP Treasury
Expanding its ERP platform to include the treasury module would enable treasury to be more consistent with the wider finance function and facilitate the flow of information for accurate cash positioning and forecasting, exposure management, etc. SAP Treasury would be integrated with SWIFT to bring bank accounts into the system daily in a consistent format for automated bank account reconciliation. Treasury payments would be standardised across all banks using MT101.
Expand its cash management banking panel
Implementing a more flexible, bank-neutral technology infrastructure would enable Accenture to extend its cash management panel of banks from three to six.
A more efficient infrastructure would enable it to rationalise its regional treasury centres (RTCs) from three to two.
Introduce multilateral netting for inter-company flows
Using SAP Treasury functionality, Accenture sought to automate the settlement of intercompany invoices on a net basis, minimising the number of cash flows. This would also include an automated withholding tax solution.
A significant reduction in external bank account transfers each month as a result of net intercompany invoice settlement through cashless automated transactions.
Savings of 70% in manual reconciliation time.
Reduced treasury operating budget through consolidation of RTCs.
Decreased P&L volatility by reducing the settlement time for inter-company flows.
Implemented global treasury tool in existing ERP system, creating greater consistency, control and visibility and achieving real-time postings of all cash-related transactions.
Developed new skills and expertise in treasury that have applicability beyond the transformation project.
Scott Ahlstrom, Corporate Treasurer, concludes on the key to success, “strong project governance and focus on measurable results allowed Accenture to exceed treasury benchmarks and gain long-term operational efficiencies.”