Insight & Analysis

Working Capital Forum prepares to share essential insights in a gruelling year

Published: Nov 2022

Rising interest rates, inflation and the impact of war in Europe on supply chains makes working capital more important than ever. Key themes at the Working Capital Forum in December include navigating procurement, payments and supply chain shocks to safeguard working capital.

We’re facing harder economic times, and the real killer isn’t companies struggling with profitability – it’s a lack of cash. Corporations need to guard their cash more closely than ever and freeing cash tied up in working capital is a priority, says Mike Hewitt, CEO, Adaugeo Media, the events group hosting next month’s Working Capital Forum in Amsterdam.

In a packed agenda, a one-day conference on 1st December will focus on all things supply chain finance and working capital. Leaders in treasury, procurement, and payments will share experiences via main stage keynote sessions, panel debates, and networking sessions, with first-hand anecdotes from companies including Danfoss, Telia, Coca-Cola, Pepco, Henkel and Vattenfall.

A key conference theme will be inventory. Many companies have reacted to the supply chain shocks of recent years by moving from a ‘just-in-time’ approach to inventory to a ‘just-in-case’ one, where greater stock levels are held to guard against unforeseen events. Yet inventory has a cost – more cash is tied up in working capital, and that needs to be funded.

When it comes to supply chains, treasurers and procurement chiefs need to consider the liquidity needs of their smaller suppliers if they are to have continuity of supply in challenging markets. Delegates will hear how supplier finance programmes are helping in this area, offering finance at better rates than most suppliers can access on the open market. For example, panel sessions include discussions on how deep tier SCF can strengthen supply chains, and the rewards of reaching down the chain to fund the suppliers of your suppliers.

Macro outlook

The day will begin with an outlook on rising interest rates, inflation, disrupted supply chains and war in Europe, exploring the impact on global trade and working capital. “Rising interest rates and waning investor appetites signal the end of an era in which access to cash was cheap and easy,” says Hewitt. “The cost of capital now needs to be factored into every business decision, from the terms offered to customers to the levels of inventory being held.”

Other sessions will focus on the treasury implications of the new disclosure and regulatory landscape emerging around supplier finance. New guidance on the disclosure of SCF schemes may bring transparency to what has sometimes been seen as an unregulated minefield for corporates and investors – but promises challenges too. Delegates will also get the inside scoop on the biggest scandal to hit SCF and its long-term implications – the collapse of Greensill.

At the heart of every conference discussion is an abiding theme that working capital isn’t just about finance. The most successful companies have nurtured a working capital culture. This stretches throughout their business and embeds working capital metrics into KPIs across the leadership team to ensure enough liquidity and cash on hand for business health and vitality.

Working Capital Forum Europe will take place in Amsterdam on 1st December. Complimentary invitations are available for Treasury Today readers who are corporate treasurers.

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