The Treasurer's Role in Digital Transformations
Many SAP experts or IT consultants have a good technical understanding of how to implement a TMS or ERP system. In discussions with customers or users, however, a consultant is often faced with the challenge of understanding how customers actually want to use their system for treasury solutions.
A good consultant not only needs to constantly develop their technical expertise, but also must be just as close to the customer. You need to get a good understanding of how treasury and finance departments work and where the operational goals and current technical challenges lie.
That is why this article focuses on the treasurer and their ability to play a key role in the digital transformation of a company. SAP's wide range of possibilities creates the prerequisites for this in many places. In the past, corporate treasury was often seen as an area of accounting; today it is clear that treasury is an independent unit. ConVista mostly develops solutions in the SAP environment, whereby treasury applications in particular often represent the leap to the new SAP S/4HANA. Alternatives such as Central Finance, or the use of a Treasury Work Station, or an S/4HANA Sidecar approach, extend the range of possibilities offered by SAP.
It is certainly difficult to predict which new technologies will come onto the market in the next ten years. The respective operating business, investment behavior and the regulatory environment will certainly have a significant influence on this. What is certain is that the pace of change is increasing exponentially and that some emerging trends will shape the course of the next few years. Of all the new technological advances currently taking place, artificial intelligence (AI) and supercomputing are the two most "disruptive" and exciting ones.
According to most experts, AI will develop at its own pace, but at the same time, it will promote the development of many other complementary, vertical technologies. These will - depending on the speed, accuracy and capability of artificial intelligence - also learn to improve. Richard Tang, founder and CEO of ISP Zen Internet believes that we are moving beyond "artificial" intelligence to something that resembles "real" intelligence, which will then represent the next level of artificial intelligence.
So can the Treasurer take a leading role in the digital transformation?
Clear answer: Yes! In the context of today's digital transformation and technology, the finance department, the CFO and especially the Treasurer must have a strategic vision and drive this transformation.
Once you have an idea of how treasury should function, you will find that people and processes are still two of the most important factors in the system. However, sometimes even technology implementation specialists make it too easy for themselves by simply following the premise: "We are here to set up a system." Usually, the primary concern is to understand what a system can do to make it work properly. This means knowing how the processes are designed enabling users to make the best use of the system. The treasurer is in a position to take a pioneering role in digital transformation: They have a decisive influence on automation, the processing of real-time data, the performance of related analyses and AI-supported decision-making, which they integrate into their daily work.
Many companies that want to set up a new system are just trying to adapt the system to their current processes. However, this is not usually the best way to go. Instead, the whole picture should be considered: "Why are we doing this?" Because today, if something is done inefficiently or even wrongly and then integrated into a system in order to continue doing it "sub-optimally", only a bad process will be automated at best.
A better recipe is to go down the path of Smart Treasury. This could be described as a concept that David Cano, director of AFI, describes in his article in ASSET "How I can turn my company into a superstar". At ConVista we follow the following basic principles to achieve Smart Treasury:
- Process automation to avoid manual processes and media disruptions
- Comprehensive transparency and integrity of information, accessible anytime and anywhere
- Connectivity and collaboration. Automate operational treasury processes and foster collaboration across departments
- Improve reporting and user support with analytics solutions such as SAP Analytics Cloud
In order to show you the potential of how a Smart Treasury can be achieved, we offer you our ConVista Treasury Assessment. Within the scope of this assessment, we analyze the current processes of the treasury department ("As Is"). We do this in order to help our customers to develop a model that is adapted to the current trends, where new technologies can support them. During these workshops, treasury functions are examined both at the level of processes and from a technological perspective.
Feel free to contact us for a workshop appointment and join us in analyzing the potentials and "hidden treasuries" of your treasury organization on the way to a "Smart Treasury".