Reflections from Day 1 at the EuroFinance conference 2018
It is easy to get excited at the EuroFinance conference, where finance meets technology and painpoints meet remedy. It is inspiring to explore the promising solutions offered by the banking industry as well as from the myriad of new fintechs.
However, innovation in one market may be old news in another. As a Norwegian, headlines such as Moving towards a cashless society does no longer catch my attention, and are more statements of fact rather than statements of innovation. It’s like the grammatical tense of the word “move” is incorrect; we have already “moved”.
Blockchain and crypto currency are still on the agenda, and perhaps starting to materialise with more clarity in some areas, whilst others remain blurry. I believe the blockchain technology will offer great pain relief when it comes to sharing of documentation and information, such as in trade finance transactions heavily burdened with manual documentation processes, but not take over money transfers anytime soon. In my view, cashless is what the world needs, not crypto.
Listening to the panel debate Change is here, how ready is your company and treasury? Mandana Sadigh, Vice President & Treasurer in Mattel Inc., brought us from hype to realism. Although new technology and treasury management systems have automated many of the operational cash management processes in their company, one crucial pain point remains; that of accurate and timely cash flow forecasting. And after talking to many of the corporates at the EuroFinance, it seems like most relates to her statement. The cashflow forecasting is not easily automated and will require professional treasurers for years to come. That does not mean that the technology and new solutions is wasted on the treasury management, but perhaps it can help us all to focus on what can be automated so that the days of the treasurer can be spent on strategic forecasting rather than operational processing and firefighting?
As Mrs Sadigh said; I have never considered treasury an operational activity. Treasury is strategic.
On that note, I have to run. A new day at the EuroFinance awaits – and I am still excited!