Cash & Liquidity Management

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A Methodology for Adding Value to Business Unit Performance Through the Management of Financial Risk Variables Companies today face a multiplicity of obstacles in their quest to achieve the returns on capital required by stakeholders. The majority of these obstacles can be overcome through active management of the issues by members of the organisation. For example, production processes can be reengineered to overcome quality issues, marketing plans and strategies can be adapted to changing consumer preferences, and staff shortcomings can be addressed by appropriate training and education. All of these actions can have positive impacts on an organisationís ability to meet its strategic targets through specific and focused interventions.

A Methodology for Adding Value to Business Unit Performance Through the Management of Financial Risk Variables

by Nigel Grey, Treasury Manager, De Beers Group

Companies today face a multiplicity of obstacles in their quest to achieve the returns on capital required by stakeholders. The majority of these obstacles can be overcome through active management of the issues by members of the organisation. For example, production processes can be reengineered to overcome quality issues, marketing plans and strategies can be adapted to changing consumer preferences, and staff shortcomings can be addressed by appropriate training and education. All of these actions can have positive impacts on an organisation’s ability to meet its strategic targets through specific and focused interventions. The areas that expose business managers to financial risk where they have little control are those related to currency rates, interest rates and commodity prices. Such financial risk can have a material impact (positive and negative) on the ability of business unit managers to meet their financial targets. The materiality of the impact is influenced by the nature of the business and the extent of the risk exposure. For example, an organisation that maintains its cost base in local currency but, because of market norms, prices its product in a foreign currency, is more exposed compared with a company that operates solely in its local market. These risks can lead to potentially incorrect assessments of business unit performance in that factors outside of management influence can materially impact the financial performance of the entity. It is in this area that a considered and structured plan should be introduced to enable business managers to focus on their core competencies while giving them certainty in areas where control is not possible. Such a plan should address:

  • understanding of the organisation’s propensity for financial risk;
  • the mapping and quantification of those risks;
  • understanding the accounting presentation of financial results;
  • modelling of risks;
  • development of solutions;
  • presentation of solutions to key decision makers;
  • tactical action plan development and execution;
  • management and reporting of the performance of the strategy.

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