Can the treasurer be the linking pin between different departments within organizations?
For cash related topics he or she has to be the linking pin to understand the cash flows within the company and to be in control. When you understand how all departments work and how the financial information is produced by controllers, you can help them and give advice on how to lower trapped cash.
To me the cash flow forecast is the basic of all treasury related items. When setting up the forecast (direct/indirect), it gives you the possibility to dive deep in the risk of FX and take actions to lower them or even better, to develop a guideline on how to handle FX risks in the future. The same can be done for IR risk, debtor risk and all other cash flow related risks. When making the cash flow forecast, you can literally make visual what the effect of a change in payment behavior of your customers or a change in FX rates will be.
The Treasurer’s task
The treasurer has to be in constant contact with all different departments to receive the most actual information. As treasurer, you also have to challenge the different departments on cash related topics. The reason for this is that most of the colleagues are not always cash focused. You have to set up an internal marketing plan to reach all necessary stakeholders (organize meetings, develop reports, mailings, organize events where colleagues can come with cash optimization related idea’s etc…).
Supply chain departments are focusing on delivering on time for production or sales. It is very interesting to focus on the ins and outs of world of supply chain. All goods can be categorized based on the time they will stay in the warehouse as well as the time needed to replace them and the cost of a reorder. When you combine all variables, an optimum can be reach. The information that supply chain and purchasing department can provide you is the order book. This can help you to extent the reliable period of the direct cash flow forecast.
By sitting close to the financial department or the shared service center you can have a better understanding of the payment behavior of clients but also the payment behavior of the company. Is there enough focus on the debtor collection process and is the sales department also aware of the payment behavior of their customers? Are the invoices send on time? Do they use direct debits or are balances on bank accounts swept daily to a master account?
Financial control is a department which is also related to the cash flow forecast. Most of the time they will make budgets of balance sheets and P&L and will make (monthly/ quarterly/yearly) estimations of the working capital parts such as inventory, accounts payables and receivables. By doing so they will be able to predict an indirect cash flow forecast. Are their presumptions for the working capital parts correct? Are they based on the budget sales, or based on the previous years? Most of the time the presumptions explain the difference between the direct and indirect forecast and difficult to track down.
Financing activities such as project financing, supply chain and trade finance can be set up based on a reliable forecast. By increasing the cash awareness in different departments, you will be able to release trapped cash, lower costs and have better control of all cash related items.
Olivier is an operational treasury manager who likes to connect and get in touch with different departments. By doing so he gets the treasury department and the awareness of cash in the picture, gets grip on the cash flow and releases trapped cash as well as lowers costs.
He is available for a permanent/interim position and you can reach him on