Should corporate treasurers stop ignoring bitcoins and other crypto currencies?

26-5-2021 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit

This is a blog by someone who does not own bitcoins or other crypto currencies and does not intend to purchase any soon. Someone who is not a subject matter expert. Someone who told his colleagues not to consider the topic relevant for corporate treasury for a long time. Someone who thought bitcoins are only relevant for extortionists or those who speculate, gamble and hope to get rich quickly. You understand, that someone would be me.

Slowly I am getting this “One wrong-way driver? I see dozens!”-feeling. Newspapers are filling up with blockchain news. Pension funds start seeing crypto currencies as a relevant asset class. Auction houses start accepting payments (Tesla stopped again) and in countries with hyperinflation in South America, people are fleeing into cryptocurrencies, especially stable coins. After a first attempt with the Libra, Facebook is introducing a stable coin with the so-called Diem that seems to be connected to the US dollar.

My main objection always was that I did not see the underlying value. Real estate is bricks, shares are a piece of ownership, bonds should be paid back and with fiat currencies you can buy in a store. I cannot live in bitcoins and my baker does not accept them as payment. But with gold I cannot buy bread either. It has some practical use as a metal but that does not justify its current value. So why measure bitcoins in practical use and underlying value?

The core discussion is about speculation and trust. There used to be times we knew a dollar or gulden could be exchanged for gold, so we trusted our money. But the gold standard is not so standard anymore. Of course the prices of dogecoins, ethereum and bitcoins are extremely volatile but how about the rates of Argentine Pesos, Venezuelan Bolivars, Turkish Liras or pre WOII German Deutschmarks? When you cannot stand the heat, stay out of the crypto currency kitchen but I do not consider volatility a reason to disqualify the asset class.

As to myself, perhaps I just have to accept that I am a laggard or at best member of the late majority in accepting the technology/solution. As to corporate treasurers, the survey shows they have the ambition to educate themselves better on the topic. Of course to be able to answer questions from their colleagues and perhaps to initiate some form of a practical application of crypto currencies. I hope that, next to the Tesla example, in further blogs we can inform you about relevant business cases. About successful implementation but of course also about the bottlenecks like taxation and reporting. There will be enough happening for many future blogs. And I will be someone who communicates differently about crypto currencies.

PS You might enjoy the slides of a recent presentation by Tristan Verhagen, recent Register Treasurer graduate, a great introduction into Bitcoins with provoking insights. See link.

Take care, Pieter

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit

Owner at Treasurer Search

 

 

 

Treasury: the sad story about the ones that do not get it

28-04-2021 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit

The great Dutch philosopher Johan Cruijff said: “Je gaat het pas zien als je het door hebt”, roughly translated “you only see if you get it”. I recently thought about this when visiting and working with a mid-sized local company. Their treasury team was much bigger than the teams of companies in the same industry two or three times their revenue size. In this team, for example, they had two employees full-time entering manual payments. Data and instructions are gathered from a multitude of systems and typed into banking software. Time is lost, mistakes are made, staff demotivated and money lost. They refused to hire a qualified candidate who could help because his expected base salary was a few thousands of euros too high…..

Recently the Dutch regulatory body for financial markets, AFM, published this research that shows that companies would benefit from a more mature market in alternative funding. One of their observations is that new solutions, for instance in working capital, are accepted even though the rates that have to be paid are preposterous. They see the market grow, not enough focus on credit rating and doubt if the market will stabilize in a professional manner. A stronger regulatory framework is suggested. I am in doubt, who will do the audit?

Those who are in need for strong treasury seem to ignore the available expertise. Distrust? Lack of time? Afraid of treasury lingo?


Personally I hope that entrepreneurs and CFOs will train their critical thinking and only use what they understand. Cost that are hidden in the total price of their treasury solutions are regretfully accepted easier than a separate price for the right solution and one for the advice. That is regrettable because one of the effects is that companies get perhaps the cheapest but the wrong solutions.

We have a simple suggestion: digest what you know about treasury and ask the most obvious question you can think of. Ask the expert panel and pass our suggestion forward to anyone you might think have a proper question. It is a matter of time until we get it all. I am sure.

Take care, Pieter

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit

Owner at Treasurer Search

 

 

 

Rent a Treasurer, Plans & Success

| 03-03-2020 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit

You might remember our previous blogs about the Rent a Treasurer. In this joint effort with Treasurer Search, we make high calibre treasury expertise available for organisations with treasury exposure without a specialist on board. Treasurer Search is in constant communication with the treasury labour market and knows who has what expertise and is available. treasuryXL has a wider network that includes CFOs of mid-sized companies and a very strong communication machine. Combining both enables the Rent a Treasurer service.

What we notice in our market research is that treasury is not well known by these CFOs, so they do not put it on their priority list. But CFOs do understand quickly the upside when speaking with and learning from a treasurer. Often not wanting extra headcount is mentioned as a reason not to act upon treasury opportunities. And many specialized treasury consultants are a better match with multi-billion corporates and costly. So mid-sized companies often rely on bankers and auditors. But many bankers focus too much on revenue and the knowledge of auditors is often not deep enough.

Currently we work with a core team of eight bringing the Rent a Treasurer concept to the next level. Six team members cover various subsets of treasury tasks and complement each other. Kendra represents treasuryXL and I work on behalf of Treasurer Search. We are the support. Our goal is to organise more meetings with CFOs and help them successfully save costs, mitigate risk and create opportunities through appropriate treasury solutions. We tell interesting stories, on a regular basis, to decision makers who might be interested and we will increasingly do so.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that one of the team members,  Niki van Zanten, currently works as a Rent a Treasurer on two different assignments where FX risk has the most prominent focus. With the first client, he has been able to save substantially on cost already in his first week. Niki is the perfect example of an expert who learnt in the Champions League, with Cisco & Philips, and applies his knowledge helping mid-sized companies.

If you want to know more about Rent a Treasurer or introduce us to your business network, please let me know. I am convinced many more can benefit from good treasury. We will keep you updated.

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit

Owner at Treasurer Search

 

 

 

Cash Management review – Fitting like a glove

| 18-01-2021 | Bas Meijer |

Can you remember when your current Cash Management structure has been set up? Probably at a point in time when there was a refinance, additional funding need or when a new treasurer came on board. The world is changing, your clients and their behavior are changing, therefore probably your Cash Management environment needs changing.

Unfortunately these changes are not automatically translated and implemented into your Cash Management setup. And as not every bank is the same, some banks cannot provide the Cash Management setup your corporate needs.

Reflecting the Cash Management needs every 3-5 years is a good habit. Solutions are evolving, banks are changing their focus & pricing can be renegotiated. But the most important goal is that the Cash Management setup should fit your corporate like a glove, not too big, an certainly not too small.

TreasuryXL has multiple experienced Treasures with up-to-date knowledge and experience, who can help your organisation to achieve these  goals. Maybe your corporate is ready to take the next step, or your Cash Management infra structure is outdated. Is there need for automation, independent banking portal, TMS or market data provider?

From experience this review brings a contribution to the bottom line. But not only in money, also in speed and accuracy. With new tooling your current choices can be reviewed in time, which helps you to make the next steps down the road. The Treasury Department is never static, and should always adapt to the changing environment. Make sure that your Treasury function, how big or small, fits like a glove to the needs of the corporate!

 

Bas Meijer

Treasury Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

Interim Treasurer: Cost or revenue?

| 15-12-2020 | Bas Meijer |

Temporary staff in general is looked at as ‘too expensive’ . When turnover is showing headwind, or management is under pressure by internal- or external stakeholders, cost saving is the first instrument management uses.

Agreements with expensive temporary staff is ended and fixed employees are asked to go the extra mile. This is not the case for all financial expertise.

The interim Treasurer is a good example. In the past 20 years I have experienced that interim Treasurers are able to create value to the company, and add contribution to your bottom line. In some assignments this was 1-2% of the turnover.

In general the interim treasurer should be able to have a rate of return of 3-6 months, based on a 1 year assignment. The revenue will not be limited to this 1 year assignment, but last much longer. I have experienced a much shorter period, up to 4-6 weeks.

Are you interested in cost saving, and attribution to your bottom line? Do not just let your expertise walk out of the door, but hire an interim treasurer for an analyses on the potential cost saving for your organisation. You’ll be surprised what an added value an interim treasurer can bring to your organisation.

 

Bas Meijer

Treasury Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

Scoren met treasury in kleinere organisaties

| 19-08-2020 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit

Kosten besparen, business kansen creëren en risico’s verkleinen, dat is wat goede treasury elke organisatie kan brengen, dus niet alleen de multinationals. Als treasury aficionado zie ik dagelijks dat organisaties zichzelf tekort doen. In dit artikel maak ik graag concreet waar ik het over heb omdat ik merk dat velen het vakgebied onterecht complex vinden.

Kosten besparen

Het managen van geldstromen kost geld:

  • De bankier als loodgieter stuurt ook een rekening, vaak alleen niet zo expliciet. Deze rekening is bijvoorbeeld voor transacties en het aanhouden van rekeningen. De realiteit is dat de meeste organisaties en vaak ook hun banken geen voortdurend zicht hebben op deze kosten en dat ze voortdurend wijzigen.
  • Wat ook wel eens gebeurt is dat voor één internationale betaling even veel (per stuk) wordt betaald als voor 5.000 internationale betalingen. Dit terwijl kwantum korting van toepassing is.
  • Wat ik ook regelmatig zie is dat een bepaalde financieringsstrategie is gekozen waarbij een oplossing de markt conforme prijs heeft maar de juiste oplossing niet is. Rood staan op een rekening courant is veel duurder dan een hypothecaire lening. Vaak wordt niet nagedacht over wat de juiste oplossing is.
  • De laatste van vele voorbeelden die ik wil noemen is dat diverse offertes aanvragen bij diverse leveranciers kan leiden tot substantiële kostenbesparingen. Vaak is de huisbank best bereid een lager tarief voor een dollar deal te berekenen en zijn er velen die nog goedkoper kunnen leveren.

Het zijn simpele oplossingen maar de tijd wordt er niet in gestoken.

Business kansen creëren

De gereedschapskist van een treasurer zit vol oplossingen die het verschil kunnen maken tussen een kans verzilveren of niet. Zo zie je in bijvoorbeeld projecten organisaties of bedrijven die leveren in exotische oorden, dat de business stopt op het moment dat de klant pas wil betalen na complete levering. Dat kan te risicovol lijken of het kan zijn dat de leverancier de upfront kosten niet kan dragen met eigen middelen. Via garanties, letters of credit, borgstellingen door de overheid of projectfinanciers kan de business dan soms toch worden gerealiseerd. En besef goed, niet zo lang geleden was (equipment) leasing nog geen geaccepteerde oplossing. Nu kunnen transporteurs verladingen aanbieden en kunnen de vrachtwagen producenten meer produceren.

Risico’s verkleinen

Bij treasury en risico wordt vaak gedacht aan rente en valuta. Dat is terecht, de bijbehorende risico’s moeten prudent worden aangepakt. Een veel belangrijker risico is beschikbare liquiditeit. Goede treasurers kunnen forecasten en ingrijpen om cash beschikbaar te maken voor de organisatie. Extra faciliteiten vanuit de bank, doordacht werkkapitaalmanagement, managen van betalingstermijnen en tools als factoring kunnen het verschil maken tussen overleven of niet.

Hulp nodig?

Met deze korte opsomming wil ik duidelijk maken dat voor iedere organisatie treasury van grote waarde is. Dat kan met een expert op de payroll, met eigen boerenverstand of met een tijdelijke oplossing (Rent a Treasurer). Het gaat niet om complexe materie, wel om de bereidheid af en toe een stap terug te doen en het vakgebied te overzien.

Zullen we overleggen? Wie weet kan ik u in contact brengen met de expert die voor u het verschil kan maken.

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit

Owner at Treasurer Search

Rent a Treasurer – Joint Venture treasuryXL & Treasurer Search

| 29-07-2020 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit

Organisations with treasury exposure, without the expertise. The ones of you who know me longer, know this is one of my favourite hobby horses. For a longer period of time I have been tinkering with many plans to help the aforementioned organisations. This led to contributions to treasuryXL as a community and educational institutes like the Hogeschool Utrecht and the Vrije Universiteit. Now we will work on the obvious: bringing highly skilled treasury interim managers to organisations without a treasurer.

Impact on SME’s

Treasurer Search has a long and solid track record in finding interim treasury managers to large organisations with a corporate treasury function. One of our team members reaches out on a continuous basis to these managers to ask them about their availability, skills and preferences. Many of these managers love to work in smaller size organisations. There they can have real impact, save costs, mitigate risk and create opportunities.

Target audience treasuryXL

One of the important target audiences of treasuryXL is the group of CFOs, group controllers and entrepreneurs who, consciously or not, deal with treasury topics. In the content distributed on the platform the following is taken into consideration: non-technical treasury information on a regular basis with a clear upside-story. The communication channels that are used are also the ones that hardcore treasurers might not tune into but other financials do.

Rent a Treasurer

All the pieces of the puzzle have been on the table for a long time. The plans have been there for a long time and now we will act. As Ben Tiggelaar states: “the gap between plans and success is action”. Through treasuryXL you can “rent a treasurer”, click the link for more information about the concept.

Thank you,

On behalf of Treasurer Search, Pieter
On behalf of treasuryXL, Kendra

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit

Owner at Treasurer Search

How the Treasury QuickScan add value to your business

| 27-8-2019 | François de Witte | treasuryXL |

Do you want to know if you can save a substantial amount of money and/or protect your company against major financial risks? Are you willing to invest time and money in treasury within your organization? 

The Treasury QuickScan can help organizations with just one scan to assess if an additional effort in treasury can be an added value.

The Treasury QuickScan as a solution
SMEs struggle with increasing exposure to cash & liquidity problems, financing needs and risks (currencies, commodities, interest and liquidity).

Moreover, they do not always have a full-fledged Treasury/finance Department in the organization. That does not mean that these organizations cannot save costs or that there are no opportunities for funding, for example. It is not always necessary to set up a separate treasury department in a company to control and manage the treasury.

The Treasury QuickScan aims to bring a solution to these companies. An experienced hands-on Treasurer can do a first scan within the organization.

The objectives to provide to the company are:

  • A diagnosis on his treasury
  • A benchmarking towards his peers
  • The identification of the pain points
  • Some quick wins and an initial business case to determine whether it is worthwhile investing in the treasury (resources, tooling).

A questionnaire for 5 treasury topics
By means of a structured questionnaire, the Treasury QuickScan aims to make a quick scan / diagnosis of the treasury. Down below, we provide you some questions by topic:

  1. Working Capital Management:
  • Do you actively manage your working capital indicators (Days Sales Outstanding, Days Inventory Outstanding, Days Purchases Outstanding)
  • Do you have a credit policy in place?
  • How is your credit control organized?
  • Do you actively manage the payment terms of your suppliers?
  1. Cash and Liquidity Management:
  • Do you all have a visibility on all your cash positions?
  • Who manages the various cash positions daily?
  • Are you sometimes confronted with payments that are not paid due to lack of funds?
  • Do you do daily interbank transfers to settle the debit balances and to invest the excess liquidity optimally?
  • Do you already have an automatic cash pooling?
  • Do you centralize your in- and outgoing payments or consider doing this?
  • Do you have a cash forecasting process in place?
  1. Financing and Bank Relationship Management:
  • Do you experience difficulties in obtaining bank financing?
  • How many banks do you use? Do you need all the banks?
  • Do you ensure that the side business is distributed fairly to banks that grant large credits?
  • Are you monitoring regularly the costs which banks charge to you?
  1. Risk Management:
  • Do you have an overview on your foreign exchange, interest rate and liquidity risks?
  • Can you measure the impact of foreign exchange rate fluctuations on your Profit and Loss account?
  • Do hedge your main risks?
  • Do you have a written policy regarding the risk management?
  1. Organization and Compliance:
  • Which are the current tools in place to manage the fraud and operational risks?
  • Do you apply the 4 eyes principle throughout the company?
  • Do you have an overview of who can sign where on your bank accounts?

A short recap
The Treasury QuickScan does not solve all your treasury issues but will provide you get a mapping of the current situation, the issues, a first set of recommendations and a business case for further investments in treasury.

For organizations without a dedicated treasury department, this Quick Scan can help them to determine how to manage the treasury. This can be done with own resources and/or you can also consider outsourcing some tasks. This can be very helpful for the development of your company.

How to start a Treasury Quick Scan?
Simply send me a mail or give me a call and we discuss the best option for you.

François de Witte

Founder & Senior Consultant at FDW Consult

Managing Director and CFO at SafeTrade Holding S.A.

 

Treasurer – So what is it that you do exactly?

| 11-10-2017 | Lionel Pavey |

A few weeks ago I took my daughter Charly to the Scouts on a Saturday morning – she goes every week and really enjoys it. I get a couple of hours to myself and normally do the weekend shopping in that time. 2 ½ hours later I went back to pick her up and whilst waiting I got talking to a couple of the parents from the other Scouts, about work, whilst enjoying cups of coffee and hotdogs. They asked me what I did and I explained my vocation as a Treasurer and Cash Manager.

“Yes” one said, “so you are the same as a bookkeeper really. What makes you different? What do you bring that others do not? What makes you special?”

Advantages and benefits of Cash Management

  • Cash is King – profit is an opinion. I can not make you more profit, but I can improve your cash flows and your understanding of them.
  • I can speed up the operations your company uses to administer its cash.
  • I can help you stay solvent.
  • I can address your working capital issues.
  • I can spot fraud.
  • I can estimate your cash position for any time in the future based on your data input.
  • I can obtain better terms and conditions with debtors and creditors.
  • I can warn you when trouble will be ahead if nothing is done.
  • I can analyse the best loan deals for your financing operations.
  • I can make detailed cash flow forecasts that you can show to your banks when negotiating with them for loans or banking facilities.
  • I can reduce costs.
  • I can pay your bills more quickly.
  • I can improve your liquidity.
  • I can reduce your administrative work flows.
  • I can enable you to recycle your cash more quickly.
  • I can reduce your inventory holdings.
  • I can let you know when your future financial commitments have to take place.
  • I can help you maintain good relationships with your creditors.
  • I can optimize your cash at all times.
  • I can reduce your borrowing costs.

You need to generate enough cash from your activities to pay your suppliers, repay shareholders and/or investors and have money left over to invest and grow your business. Be honest, to do all that you need professional support and guidance allowing you to concentrate on growing your business.

They looked at me and said “So you are not really a bookkeeper then.”
I looked at them and smiled – mission accomplished!
“Now you know what a cash specialist can do for you and your company. So, give me a call when you think you need help with any of these issues.”
It is a good feeling when you positively change someone’s perception about what your job actually entails.

I told them what I can do, but did not say how. Are you interested in the how? Go to Rent a Treasurer.

 

Lionel Pavey

 

Lionel Pavey

Cash Management and Treasury Specialist