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Junior Corporate Finance Analyst met werkervaring in Londen (m/v, only Dutch speakers) @ Treasurer Search

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Accounting for FX; the Do’s and Don’ts

08-07-2020 | Niki van Zanten

Let’s start by mentioning a phrase that I hear regularly and, to be honest, also use myself: ‘I am not an accountant, but…..’.
The urge to mention this phrase (usually targeted to an accountant while having an ‘I know it better’ attitude), can perhaps be traced back to the following reasons:

  • Discrepancies between accounting and real economics;
  • The fact that some (from my perspective, way too many) companies are run by accountants and numbers;
  • Historically absurd requirements in terms of hedge accounting*.IFRS on paper brought some relief but the old FAS and IAS standards were over the top accounting driven without a mere grasp of the real world.

The first point could already result into great discussions. As companies are expected to adhere to certain accounting standards, these standards represent the objective part of these discussions. This results in real economics claiming an underdog position.
If companies have to choose between compliance on one hand and doing what works best economically on the other hand, the way to find the right balance is by training accountants about real economics. Many individuals working in treasury have an accounting background, which could be beneficial if that individual takes the economic approach and uses accounting knowledge convince business partners.

Let’s jump into some basic examples where accounting doesn’t reflect economic reality:

  1. IC (inter company) bookings where the transaction is not reported in the same currency at both ends

Entity A (EUR Functional) has a receivable of 1 Mio EUR and entity B (USD Functional) has a payable of 1.1 Mio USD. The Historic rate was 1.10 and cash flow occurred in USD. Entity A decided to book in EUR to avoid any FX reporting. The consequence is that there is indeed no FX exposure visible. However upon settlements all FX results suddenly appear.What a nasty surprise!

  1. Re-measurements not done at correct rates

The best indication for FX effects in your books is obtained when the applied rates are close to the market rates. As you know there are many different sources for markets rates.  The awareness of this fact is not visible in accounting.

  1. Forward points not segregated

If you do not segregate forward points in PL, you can have FX results when the currency in question does not move. That just sounds very strange to me and this also touches upon a bigger issue, namely the allocation of result on PL. In the case your FX does not land in a segregated PL line, or worse non-FX related results end in your FX PL,
this usually does not change the total PL. However this makes it extremely difficult to control FX results, as you need good exposure information as well solid controls in terms of realized results. Segregation of realized and unrealized FX is also a very helpful tool for the Risk manager.

Are companies run by accountants?

That question should be discussed over a beer or glass of wine. Right now, I will limit myself to some pointers on how to identify whether a case could be identified as an accounting issue or economics issue. It is actually very simple and should be done by treasurers and financial controllers, before any discussion occurs on what the actual problem is.

By comparing the accounting steps for each of the proposed solutions with the trades, you can identify where market risk arises and where accounting risk. The one can see that thes are not always the same. Furthermore, it might also be a good time to call for a specialist, if the right level of comfort is not met. This way of working also fits well with the absurd requirements of hedge accounting.

Regarding this topic, ask yourself whether you really need to apply hedge accounting. From my experiences, in most cases hedge accounting is applied only for one reason; to reduce the PL volatility in between hedging and the moment of cash flow for forecasted transactions. (especially true for listed companies).Taking an economic perspective, there is no benefit in hedge accounting at such a significant cost in terms of audits and administration . Hence, determine how high the cliff is, before you dive down into hedge accounting procedures.

Conclusion

In a perfect world with only blue skies and where work consists of having margaritas on the beach, there are no accounting requirements (and probably also no FX to manage). In our world, the same feeling can be obtained by making sure that the accounting for FX reflects economic reality as much as possible. Thisby applying the accounting standards as a framework. Furthermore  take into account what level of known discrepancies between the economic and accounting reality you are comfortable with.

*Please note hedge accounting and accounting for FX are not the same. By accounting for FX I mean the accounting entries done by non-local or group currency items. These can be invoices in different currencies or intercompany bookings. Hedge accounting is only linked to deferring derivative MTM on the balance sheet as opposed to PL immediately.

I am curious about your thoughts. Please comment…

 

Niki van Zanten

FX specialist

 

International Treasury Management and Corporate Finance course in September 2020

06-07-2020 | by Kendra Keydeniers | Francois De Witte | ATEL

The treasurer is the custodian of the company’s daily liquidity. He manages, anticipates and secures cash flows by ensuring that financial needs are covered.

This cursus will give the ability to assist directly and practically the treasurer of large corporates or to take over the treasury responsibilities in a SME.

The various modules will allow acquiring an in-depth knowledge of the various areas of the “Corporate Treasure” profession.

Registration

This course will start late September 2020. It includes 13 training modules and 5 intermediary exams. It is necessary to complete this form before your official registration. Registration will be closed early September 2020.

Objectives

At the end of this programme, the participant will able to:

  • assist directly and practically the treasurer of large corporates
  • take over treasury responsibilities in a SME.

The various modules will allow to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the various areas of the “Corporate Treasurer” profession.

Programme

Module 0: Introduction to Treasury Management
Speaker: Benjamin Defays / Treasury Manager

  • Corporate Treasurer’s responsibilities
  • Cash management (bank account opening, closing, KYC, Cash pooling, Payments and bank connectivity)
  • Liquidity management (importance of working capital management,
  • Risk management (foreign exchange, fraud, credit risk)
  • Trade finance (general context, intro to bank guarantees and letters of credit)

Module 1: Financial Maths (Focus on treasury & corporate finance)
Speaker: Hugues Pirotte / Professor of Finance at Solvay Brussels School

  • Focus on treasury & corporate finance
  • Time Value of Money
  • Vocabulary
  • Compounding intervals
  • Discount and annuity factors

Module 2: Advanced Excel workshop for treasurers (Dedicated to treasury)
Speaker: Hugues Pirotte / Professor of Finance at Solvay Brussels School

Module 3: Corporate Finance
Speaker: Mikael Pereira / Associate, Finance

  • Valuations
    • M&A’s
    • Portfolios
  • Corporate Financing
  • Corporate Investments

Module 4: Cash Management (domestic and international)
Speaker François De Witte / Consultant

  • Payments (Process, Tools)
  • Liquidity Management
  • Cash-Flow Forecasting
  • In-House Banking
  • Banking Relationship

Module 5: Trade Finance
Speaker: Benjamin Defays / Treasury Manager

  • General contact, cultural aspects
  • Why trade finance in treasury
  • Bank Guarantees, Burgschafts, Surety Bonds, Letters of Credit, Cash against Documents
  • Alterative security instruments
  • Disruptive technologies

Module 6: Credit Control
Speaker: Anca Vasiliu / Counterparty Risk Manager

  • Concepts & Practices/Types of Credit Risks
  • Understanding Financial Statements and Ratios
  • Credit Scoring/Ratings – S&P, Bloomberg models
  • Collecting overdue receivables – setting priorities
  • Strategies dealing with overdue invoices
  • Debt collection services development

Module 7: Pension / Insurance 

  • General introduction on insurances and pensions
  • Typology of insurances
  • Risk management via insurances
  • Saving via insurances

Module 8: Compliance

  • KYC, GDPR, EMIR, Bale III
  • International sanctions and their impact on transactions & overall business activities
  • Anticorruption (FCPA, UK Bribery Act)
  • EU competition law compliance
  • INCOTERMS
  • Drafting a contract (main considerations)

Module 9: Risk Management
Speaker: Patrick Verspecht / Group Treasurer

  • FX, Interests
  • Counterparties
  • Others (Reputation, etc…)

Module 10: Regulations / Accounting
Speaker: Quentin Bodart / Senior Finance Engineer

  • Emir, Mifid 2, Basle II and III,
  • Dodd Frank, GDPR, Fatca, Section 385…

Module 11: Treasury Accounting
Speaker: Quentin Bodart / Senior Finance Engineer

  • Accounting for Derivatives
  • Hedge Accounting, IFRS9 (all from a treasury side)

Module 12: Technologies
Speaker: Patrick Verspecht / Group Treasurer

  • New Technologies
    • Blockchain, Crypto-currencies, Smart Contracts
  • Treasury Console (Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters)
  • TMS, Fintechs

Module 13: Cyber Fraud

  • Why Cyber fraud needs to be considered as a major risk
  • Identify the consequences of a cyberattack
  • Main fraud schemes
  • How to protect against fraud

Some homework might be proposed for some modules, there will be continuous control in the form of intermediary exams (under the form of QCM) and a final exam will be sanctioned by an attestation delivered by ATEL (The Luxembourg Association of Corporate Treasurers).

There might also be one or two “extra-activity”, such as a visit in a bank trading room or/and a special guest speaker addressing the cursus participants on a specific subject (still to be defined, optional events).

Target Audience

Anyone willing to acquire an in-depth knowledge in corporate treasury and wishing to exercise this knowledge in practice.

Prerequisites

  • Basic background in finance or accounting
  • For the Advanced Excel workshop, a preliminary (good) knowledge in Excel is required

Course Material

The course material can be downloaded free of charge via your portal the day before the start of the course (download the Client Portal User’s Guide here).

Certificate

At the end of the programme, the participants will receive a “Certificate of Attendance” delivered by the House of Training, and an attestation of “Exam Success Pass” delivered by ATEL.

In order to get certified, an 80% rate of attendance and a 60% average score on the examinations are required.

The participants will also receive a one-year free membership to ATEL (www.atel.lu) giving a number of advantages.

Register here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risk Specialist @ DSG

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How to develop the ultimate Cash Flow Forecast

| 29-06-2020 | Cashforce

Cash flow forecasting has been called many things in literature. Ranging from the cornerstone of a finance & treasury department to the lifeblood of any organization; it’s fair to say cash forecasting is vital to get an accurate prediction of an organization’s health. Cash forecasting, at its core, is simply identifying all the various in & outflows over a given period in order to analyze and compare those estimations with your actuals. However, in reality, it’s not that simple and a lot of challenges arise in getting an acceptable end result, especially when complexity increases i.e. multiple systems, entities, currencies, etc. Additionally, it doesn’t stop at regularly getting the right information in a timely and efficient matter. Setting sensible assumptions and providing contingencies that offer flexibility in case of unexpected events are a few quintessential things to consider. Improving your forecasting results is more than relying on hard data, but bears fruit in the synergy of art and science. Don’t know where to start, or how to fill in the blanks on further optimizing your current process? Then follow this checklist.

1. Set your goals & requirements – getting to the why – decide:
  • Why are you creating a cash forecast?
  • Do you want to perform an indirect or a direct cash forecast e.g. focus on short term (direct) or longer-term (indirect), or a combination of both
  • What does successful (output look like? (formats, visuals…)
  • If you would like to combine both, choose how the reconciliation would work?
  • What level of granularity do you need?
  • What KPI’s will you be measuring?
  • Who will be the main users of the reports and analyses? (operational vs strategic or both)
  • Who will be contributing to generate the forecast?
  • How will the different contributors and users consume the outputs?
  • What other stakeholders will use the forecast? (e.g. shareholders)
  • Will you recognize forecasting performance? (e.g. remuneration)
  • What are your main cash flow drivers? (how do you define your business model?)
  • What will be the main process-steps?
  • To what extent your staff will be involved in the process? (vs. technology doing the work)
  • In case of exceptions, can the process be sidestepped? If so, what happens then?
  • What controls will be put in place?
  • Who will be in charge of setting up the process? (internal/external)
  • Who will be the main owner of the process?
  • How often does the data need to be updated?
  • How will data quality be ensured for new inputs?
  • What process will be put in place to clean the current data?
  • How will you flag and treat mis-allocated cash flows?
  • What will you use as a reporting currency?
  • How do you treat currency differences?
  • What data sources are most relevant for the forecast and what data you want to take into account:
    • Systems holding your (actual & future) payables and receivables?
    • What formats are your bank statements in? (MT940, BAI, EBICS, CODA…)?
    • Financial planning data. e.g. FP&A / budget / planning tools?
    • Do you have any Treasury & financing data, e.g. interest & FX payments on ongoing deals, residing in, e.g. a Treasury Management System or spreadsheets?
    • Do you need to take any other data into account, e.g. in data warehouses, other specialized systems for leasing, salaries, projects, etc.?
    • What manual input do you require? To what level?
  • How will you get the above data into the forecast? Is it possible to automate these processes?
  • How many forecast horizons do you want to define?
  • What cutoffs would you put in place to split the horizons?

How would you divide the short-mid- & long-term components of the forecast, see (e.g. different per data source below:)

An example of Cash forecasting horizons & their sources

  • What cash flow categories do you want to use?
  • Is there a template you can use as a basis of cash allocation categories, e.g. your current ERP, etc.?
  • How will you treat the unallocated transactions/cash flows?
  • Setting up accuracy feedback loops, e.g. regularly comparing actuals vs forecast & reviewing for improvement
  • Choosing which algorithms / logic – based on business drivers – can be integrated into your model to improve the forecast
  • Decide which contingencies to build in, e.g. revenue/cost/currency/… assumptions

Evaluate how you will you compare with and integrate industry best practices, e.g. staying up to date with the latest technology/peers/…

While creating an accurate cash forecast is not rocket science, getting an effective reporting process in place certainly requires a well thought out and reproduceable plan. Defining the who, the what, the when and the how is both a quantitative and qualitative exercise in building out a forecast. This checklist shows you how to combine the art and science of cash flow forecasting to get it done.