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Treasury, Fintech & Self-Driving Vehicles

  • By Tom Hunt, CTP
  • Published: 8/29/2017

I was driving into work the other day and was listening to a show on the Wharton Business School Channel on SiriusXM about startups and the journey from obtaining funding to developing and testing products. It got me thinking about how disruption can change how treasury and finance operates as a whole.

The focus of this particular show was Starsky Robotics, a developer of self-driving trucks based out of San Francisco. Like most typical startups in the Silicon Valley area, its story was very similar to most—great idea, needed funding, needed good employees, etc. What struck me as the most interesting aspect of the show was not the autonomous trucking idea, but rather the social experiment the owner described.

As an autonomous trucking company, Starsky is drawing a very diverse pool of talent. They have robotic PhDs conversing with over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers on their payroll as part of their product development process. These two populations typically don’t interact with one another, let alone work together—but Starsky’s unique business model brought them both together.

Similarly, a technology disruptor like fintech could impact human interaction in treasury and finance going forward. With fintech making quicker work of mundane tasks, shortening closing cycles, identifying data anomalies and crunching data, financial professionals may begin interacting differently with their direct reports.

Think about it this way—if you use Uber, would you have ever met your Uber driver in another setting? Through the power of fintech disruption, I have met some wonderful drivers, listened to some wonderful stories and had more stars to fill than just the five they allow us for feedback.   

With fintech disruption will come personnel disruption in treasury. Treasury teams will begin communicating differently, and interacting with different people than they previously have. I could foresee a scenario where treasury teams begin hiring people with purely tech backgrounds as they seek to adapt to this ever-evolving fintech world.

This kind of disruption is the essence of AFP MindShift, a series of sessions, events and exhibitors at AFP 2017 that challenge the status quo, with a particular focus on technology. As we seek to incorporate technology into treasury and finance in new ways, we must think differently about how we work with our colleagues.

One MindShift session in particular, Fintech & Millennials: The Perfect Storm, delves into how millennials are accelerating the adoption of fintech in a corporate setting. As millennials continue to advance to senior-level positions in the workforce, and fintech continues to permeate the business world, corporate treasury and finance departments have no choice but to adapt. This session is a great place to start.

So get ready, because change is coming. The confluence of fintech’s rise and the millennials earning leadership roles will be the catalyst of major change in treasury and finance.

Learn more about the AFP MindShift line-up at AFP 2017 this October in San Diego.

Tom Hunt, CTP, is director of treasury services for AFP.
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