Insight & Analysis

Maintaining an innovative mindset

Published: Jun 2024

The treasury team at Swiss healthcare company Roche invited Treasury Today to their head office for a day of discussions of all things treasury. In this third article in the series, they explain how they bring entrepreneurship and creative thinking to their organisation to ensure they are taking their treasury to the next level.

Lit up light bulb hovering over a book
Stephan Bohner, Head of Financing & Markets, Roche

Stephan Bohner

Head of Financing and Markets
Franca Aeby, Treasury Manager Front Office, Roche

Franca Aeby

Treasury Manager Front Office

The management guru Peter Drucker is credited with the maxim, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. This may be the case when it comes to treasury’s key performance indicators (KPIs) that assess whether the function is as effective as it could be. However, as Stephan Bohner, Head of Financing and Markets at Roche, points out, treasury has more to do than meet its KPIs and should venture into the domain of the unmeasurable. “What we aim for as treasury team is to do more than just the job that you would expect from a treasury service,” he says. “Ask yourself what is the impact that we can make beyond our great contribution to smooth business operations.”

In a day of discussions with the editorial team at Treasury Today, the treasury team at Roche shared their thoughts on how treasury professionals can maintain an innovative mindset and bring entrepreneurship to their roles, while also meeting their KPIs.

Bohner notes that KPIs are important for capturing whether a treasury function is efficient. However, he says, “We believe that treasury is more than that; it needs to take a broader view and enable the business.” The bigger picture, Bohner explains, is related to entrepreneurship and how the treasury team can have a greater impact in enabling the company to grow and excel. This, however, is more difficult to measure in the same way as traditional KPIs. “Entrepreneurship in some ways is in conflict with KPIs because when it comes to measuring creativity and influence, it is difficult to capture,” Bohner says.

Part of pushing the envelope and ensuring that the treasury is best-in-class is to constantly refresh and assess the banking and technology solutions that are in place. Bohner comments that there has been an evolution in how the company engages with its core banking partners. While in the past, there may have been a traditional request for proposal (RFP) process, these days the engagement is quite different. “It is more about collaboration and co-creation these days,” says Bohner. “It’s not about replacing one generic service with another – it’s more about the new technologies and innovation that we are interested in and that’s not something that we can get off-the-shelf from our providers,” he says. “This is something that needs to be developed and worked on, so we need to engage with our banking partners. We have to make them aware of what our needs are and work out whether they can create something new – that’s not something that can be worked out from an RFP process,” Bohner says.

Banks are typically willing to engage in this process because they can develop a solution they know will definitely be used by their clients. “Sometimes, it’s not always clear what the client need actually is. So it’s important for the banks that they have a client with whom they can work on this,” Bohner says.

Franca Aeby, Treasury Manager Front Office at Roche, elaborates on this point and says it is important to have an innovative mindset to take treasury to the next level. “We are willing to invest our resources in this kind of collaboration with our banking partners. It’s not a question of us sending an email saying ‘Hey, this is what we need’,” she says. The company chooses to spend time informing the direction of the banking solution. “It’s not just about what we need today but what we will need in the future – that helps a lot and that’s what brings the partnership to the next level,” she says.

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