Head of Transaction Banking Products, NatWest
Moving beyond the Covid catalyst
For many corporate treasurers, 2020 was a crash course in digital transformation. As companies adjusted to global lockdown and remote working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, digital operations quickly became essential.
This swift pivot away from manual processes and on-premise tech presented myriad challenges for treasury teams. At the fundamental end of the scale, some treasury teams struggled to gain visibility over cash and some could not make payments, since they had not embraced cloud treasury management systems (TMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions or rolled out online and mobile banking capabilities across their entire departments. Meanwhile, paper bank statements being sent to the office suddenly became obsolete – and inefficiencies in manual, paper-based processes, were clear to see.
While working with their business partners to ensure the digital basics were in place, many treasurers were also battling business model and supply chain challenges – as well as managing increased market risk. Organisations that had previously sold goods or services through retail outlets and third parties also realised that they needed to find new ways to connect with ‘locked down’ consumers via the internet. Treasurers in many sectors soon found themselves adjusting to direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales strategies, requiring the selection of consumer-friendly collection instruments, shifts in well-established cash flow patterns, and the management of additional foreign exchange (FX) risks from international consumers. Suddenly, treasury teams needed to embrace omnichannel collection solutions – preferably with automation and instant visibility built in.