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AFP 2019 Pinnacle Award: Baird, Expedia Group & Hyundai Capital America

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 8/20/2019

Baird, Expedia Group and Hyundai Capital America are finalists for the AFP 2019 Pinnacle Award. Sponsored by MUFG, the Pinnacle Award was established in 1997 to recognize excellence in treasury and finance.

Finalists were selected by a jury of treasury and finance professional peers. Decisions were based on innovative solutions that progress the efficiency and effectiveness of their organization’s treasury and financial operations.

“The teams at Baird, Expedia Group and Hyundai Capital America exemplify innovation with solutions that not only advance their organization but the treasury and finance profession as a whole,” said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP. “AFP is proud to recognize the 2019 Pinnacle Award finalists.”

MUFG will make a $10,000 donation to a charity of the winner’s choice. Ranjana Clark, Head of Transaction Banking Americas and Bay Area President for MUFG will host the award ceremony before the opening keynote on Sunday, October 20 at AFP 2019. 

“MUFG is pleased to sponsor the Pinnacle Award to recognize the innovation and achievements of treasury and finance professionals, and their impact within the industry,” said Ms. Clark. “MUFG shares the AFP’s commitment to education and honoring excellence in treasury and finance that these Pinnacle Award finalists demonstrate.”


Baird’s submission focused on intelligent automation. To overcome the labor-intensive process of the settlement cycle for $208B in client accounts, Baird combined a multitenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) treasury management system (TMS), application programming interface (API) technology and the principles of robotic process automation (RPA). APIs were key as they allowed the TMS to speak with the front and back office systems to validate the record. In addition, Baird now has an API web server that is being used for applications across the company to support the business.

Expedia Group’s submission demonstrates the benefits of developing a quality benchmarking system. Expedia Group created a transformation layer to cleanse and transform data for subsequent loading into Power BI, which served as the melting pot of intelligence of all data sources. The output from Power BI translated to a powerful dashboard for the team to validate past decisions and uncover areas of opportunity. This new process allows Expedia Group to evaluate the economic benefits of the decisions it is making, and as a result, the organization has seen a sharp increase in productivity, business insights and improved bottom-line metrics.

Hyundai Capital America’s (HCA) submission highlights its decision to implement a new capital structure that could be agile and competitive in support of subscription ownership. HCA dramatically reduced its leverage and projected a strengthened financial profile, thereby reducing borrowing costs. The rating agency implied rating for HCA’s capital adequacy improved by four full notches. The transformed funding flexibility has enabled the front-end of HCA’s business to pursue new and innovative products.

The AFP Pinnacle Award annually recognizes leading finance groups for innovation, collaboration and results. Register for AFP 2019 by September 20 for additional savings.

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