Zanders Annual Treasury & Risk Seminar, Zürich
Zanders recently hosted a half-day event, the annual Treasury and Risk Seminar in Zürich, tailored to corporate treasury professionals in the Swiss treasury community. More than 45 participants from multinationals enjoyed insightful presentations, engaged in lively discussions and contributed to a successful seminar.
Liam Ó Caoimh, director at Zanders, opened proceedings by highlighting the regulatory, economic and political events on the road ahead for 2018. New IFRS 9 standards, Brexit negotiations, the changing interest rate environment and tax reforms in the US and Switzerland are a few of the events relevant to corporate treasury in 2018. And meanwhile the corporate treasurer is busy with day-to-day treasury business.
Jeff McConaghy shared insights about his first 100 days as corporate treasurer for Ferring Pharmaceuticals. During his first month, Jeff focused on listening to team members to understand their pain points. This laid the foundation for defining the treasury vision, which he shared with his team during the second month. Jeff explained their use of a ‘kill list’ documenting the removal of non-value adding processes, which successfully freed up time within the treasury team. By the end of the first 100 days, the new treasury vision and goals for the next 200 days were communicated to the CFO.
A panel discussion then covered another important topic: Where is treasury on the CFO’s agenda? Saltanat Weiss, treasury director at Dow Chemicals, and Martin Mahn, head of group treasury & tax at Partners Group, discussed and compared their experiences. A key point from the discussion was that financial downturn or a cyclical business environment will always put treasury on the CFO’s agenda. The trend in recent years towards increased centralization, standardization and automation was also mentioned as a regular top priority for CFOs in regards to optimization of treasury departments.
Arn Knol, director at Zanders, gave an introduction to the Zanders TMS Database and the current state of treasury technologies. The Zanders TMS Database captures 1000+ international companies and their TMS and ERP systems. The companies are from all industries and with headquarters all over the world. The audience was presented with the TMS distribution across Swiss corporates, which was similarly reflected by the attendees. Knol also shared insights to the recent consolidations in the TMS market and the shift by the bank connectivity vendors to also include additional services such as sanction screening.
The technology section of the afternoon concluded with an introduction to SAP S/4 Hana and its application for corporate treasury by Christian Mnich, lead solution owner for treasury management applications at SAP. Christian also shared examples of how SAP is using new technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable new solutions for corporate treasuries. This led to a concluding discussion on how corporate treasury is fast becoming the ‘digital command center’ of an organization.
Overall, the seminar was a great success, made exciting and insightful by the lively contribution of all.