Great Expectations - future proofing treasury: Foreword
In a world that’s in flux, treasurers are under pressure. They and the companies they work for face change from many directions – whether it be economic, technological or demographic.
Not only is the world facing a shift of economic power from West to East, with a parallel rise in trade tensions, but also new technologies are rapidly evolving. They are driving a new industrial revolution, which will possibly be the fastest-moving ever.
As custodians of payments, cash and liquidity, it’s up to treasurers to maintain control and visibility at a time when current ways of doing things may no longer fit. Treasurers must support their companies as they expand into new geographies and deploy new business models suited to a changing world.
While the boardroom decides on the strategy to take advantage of tomorrow’s opportunities and mitigate its challenges, treasury must design and implement the policies, practices and systems that underly them. Centralised control and visibility must be combined with best practice globally, regionally and in local markets, as well as the dictates ofnew revenue streams.
In our Great Expectations series of reports, we examine the treasurer’s new world from three perspectives – treasury convergence, smart cities and macroeconomic change. The content draws on the experience of some of HSBC’s most experienced transaction banking professionals, as well as our knowledge of the issues faced by a wide range of corporate treasuries across the world.
We describe the changes we see likely to affect treasurers. From a macroeconomic perspective, many countries are in the process of diversifying or pivoting economic activity to build future economic growth or protect jobs. Meanwhile, new technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and digital currencies are coming together in a way that could transform business models. For example, car manufacturers are already imagining an electric, self-driving vehicle, more often shared than bought.
The smart city will be the crucible of change – the place where many of these themes are most intense. Technology is transforming the city. Innovation in the city will improve life in the community. Governments and companies are harnessing the potential of new technologies to enhance standards of living.
All these developments are converging to accelerate the pace of change and create opportunities for businesses. Those companies that move first are likely to gain competitive edge; those that lag will lose it. This creative tension will force the pace of change, as companies shift their strategies towards new geographies, technologies and revenue models. But none of this can take place without the treasurer adapting as well, allowing strategy to be implemented.
As I talk to our clients, one thing is clear. They want to partner with a bank that will help them to transform their operations, to make them fit for the future. They want a bank with global scale and deep market expertise, which is also committed to innovationand technology transformation.
These reports bring together our insights at a time when treasurers are searching for intelligence about the possibilities open to them. We hope that they will help you to make a difference to your organisation’s strategic agenda.