Treasury Strategy & Transformation
Published  5 MIN READ
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Head2Head: Agility and Flexibility in a Changing Landscape

Agility and Flexibility in a Changing Treasury Landscape 

by Bruce Meuli and Jonathon Traer-Clark, Global Business Solutions executives, Global Transaction Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

In this new TMI series, leading global business solutions experts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bruce Meuli and Jonathon Traer-Clark, discuss their perspectives on how the role of corporate treasury is changing, with growing influence both across the business and at an executive level. As they explain, treasury has a wealth of expertise and knowledge that can generate significant value for the organisation, but at the same time, need to maintain a growing range of skills to meet changing expectations and requirements.

Bruce MeuliBM The industry often starts with the concept of the treasurer as an individual. I think a better approach is to view treasury as a team or a functional unit, recognising that the various roles within treasury have been shaped by a whole host of factors. The traditional treasury function has evolved significantly over the last 10 or 20 years in response to changing internal and external demands. This means you need to look at treasury through a broader lens, rather than in isolation from other parts of the business.

Jonathon Traer-ClarkJTC I agree and for me, treasury breaks down into (a) the operational side and (b) the ability to provide strategic advice to the wider business. The trend in large organisations has been to centralise operations in a shared service centre, which immediately impacts on treasury’s role. A treasurer may design a cash management process with a set of policies and governance parameters, but as they don’t oversee it day to day, they actually become more of a customer of that service than an operations manager. Once these operations have been automated, at least some of the team can act in a more advisory capacity. I truly believe treasurers can act as strategic consultants but it’s a very different role to the one they’re used to. For instance, what are you judged on? If you are managing operations, you can be judged on standard industry performance indicators such as cash concentration efficiency, but if your role is to add business value, you have to find new measures.