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Why Treasurers Will Go Beyond Transformation

  • By Craig Martin
  • Published: 11/7/2016
This article original appeared on LinkedIn.

Everybody talks about treasury transformation and finance transformation. But what’s beyond transformation? What is corporate treasury going to look like five years from now?

I think treasury will go beyond transformation; we will see treasury transcending. In other words, treasurers will transcend their everyday roles.

I had this epiphany while speaking with corporate treasurers recently. You see, I talk to treasurers every day, all day. Back in March I had just completed a series of roundtables around the country, where I spoke with dozens of them. That’s where this idea came from.

For example, one person I met is vice-president and treasurer, but has the official title of chief risk officer as well. In fact, a lot of treasurers oversee enterprise risk management but they don’t actually have the title of CRO. Another person I was talking to out of Pittsburgh, he’s the treasurer and has all those typical responsibilities, but he’s got IR, investor relations. He’s got risk insurance. He has real estate.

Several treasurers I spoke to now have M&A and business development. I remember years ago the former treasurer of Levi’s said he was just given the position as the head of business development, which was incredibly unusual for a treasurer back then, but not so much anymore.

The role of the treasurer has changed dramatically, certainly since the financial crisis, but I would say even over the last two or three years it’s changed a lot.

As another said, “Okay, so I’m treasurer and chief risk officer and they’re talking to me about investor relations and M&A and business development. Am I just the treasurer anymore? Should the title be Chief Treasury Officer?”

I think that’s a fascinating thought. And that inspired the “Treasury Transcending” whitepaper, which AFP produced in cooperation with Zanders. It delves into a lot of topics, like how the role of the treasurer can increase from just the tactical, operational part to being strategic again. And it makes the point that when treasury transcends it will go beyond being strategic, to being a contributor to the business.

Top Treasury Transcending Takeaways Tools to Tally:

  • Achieving that status as trusted advisor to the business will be more realistic as the role transcends treasury and expands to include collaborations with other departments.
  • The payments landscape is changing drastically, and it presents a huge opportunity for treasurers.
  • Regulatory overload is not going away anytime soon. Treasurers must allocate resources accordingly.
  • Treasurers will need to be more tech savvy in the future, as the digitalization of their company takes hold.
  • Keep abreast of megatrends like fintech, blockchain and others that appear.
  • Data analytics & risk intelligence will significantly empower treasurers to add value and more business insight.

Like I said, I think it’s a fascinating topic – like all things treasury-related. But even if treasury doesn’t transcend, you can be sure it will never be boring in these coming years.

Craig Martin is director, treasury practice and executive programs for AFP.

Find research, insights and strategies on how treasury is coping with today’s influences as well as tomorrow’s in the AFP whitepaper, in collaboration with Zanders, Defining the Future of Corporate Treasury.

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