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Case Study: The Value of Communication at Tiffany & Co.

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 3/15/2016
The following article was excerpted from the CTC Guide, Global Interconnectivity: Communications in a Global Treasury. DOWNLOAD

globalcommA geographically diverse company with operations across approximately 30 countries, Tiffany & Co. is constantly adding new locations in new regions. Therefore, effective communication is essential.

“The foundational step is to standardize processes and then regularly socialize practices. The result is that everyone is informed as to what they need to do, what they are not allowed to do, and also who to go to for advice and approvals,” explained Mike Connolly, CTP, vice president, treasurer at Tiffany and a former AFP Chairman. “Our policies, procedures and delineation of authorities are all designed to make it clear who is responsible and accountable for each activity. For the basics, ‘keep simple things simple’. Then, when something unanticipated develops, energies are more available and the communication path is already familiar.”

As the treasurer for a multinational corporation, Connolly is acutely aware that it is very easy for communications to be misinterpreted through language and cultural differences. “As we correspond with our international colleagues about treasury, we never take for granted that everyone understands our message. As with any organization, defining internal terminologies and abbreviations is vital to attaining a common understanding,” he explained.

The company’s video conferencing platform is a key tool in achieving this understanding. Connolly believes that having a constructive, two-way discussion on complex matters is critical to the success of any initiative. “We have to listen carefully to our colleagues to make sure they understand us and, just as importantly, their points are heard by us. In a video conference, we see their reactions and can encourage participation and discussion,” he said. Another benefit of a virtual meeting place is that it strengthens relationships for the treasury team in the U.S. with their colleagues around the world.

For Connolly, this building of relationships is important as it leads to deeper communication on treasury matters. “As we become more familiar with each other, we can have collaborative discourse on the objectives of treasury, risk and cash management,” he said. “For example, we get into how to identify and control currency exposures, or we can address a possible liquidity need before it becomes a problem. The valuable outcome is that we have real-time impactful dialogue on local issues and, together, we develop the strategies to manage them.”

For more information on this topic download the latest CTC Guide in a Series on Global Interconnectivity, Communications in a Global Treasury.

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