Technology for Tomorrow’s Treasury
by Matthew Caunt, Treasury Accountant, and Paul Phillips, Group Treasurer, easyJet
As a young and fast-growing company, the scale and sophistication of easyJet’s treasury function has developed considerably. When Paul Phillips, Group Treasurer joined the company in 2006, he recognised that the processes and technology underpinning the treasury function had become outmoded, a view shared by internal audit. In particular, there was insufficient segregation of duties, creating potential control issues, and the spreadsheets that were used to record and report on transactions lacked auditability and resilience. As a first step, the organisational structure was revised so that treasury accounting reported into financial control, creating a better definition of tasks and introducing a ‘four eyes’ principle into the transaction process. Secondly, the company made the decision to select and implement a new treasury management system (TMS) for managing its financial and and fuel transactions and removing the dependence on spreadsheets
We recognised that the selection and implementation of a new system would be time consuming, and also required a high degree of project discipline. Like most small treasury departments, we lacked any surplus resource, and also wanted to take advantage of best practices in project management, so we appointed Ernst & Young to provide professional project management services and co-ordinate each stage of the process. Although some companies work with a treasury consultant for this type of project, we decided that based on our specific project needs, we had sufficient specialist treasury knowledge within the department, and that independent project management expertise would provide a better complement to our existing skills base.
Embarking on selection
The selection and implementation of a new system would be time consuming, and it also required a high degree of project discipline.
Once the decision to implement a new TMS had been made, we sent a questionnaire to all the key internal stakeholders to understand their requirements for a new system, in terms of reporting and analysis, usability, transaction support and control. Having collated the results, we then devised a request for proposal (RFP) which was sent to six potential suppliers. Based on the responses to the RFP and initial project demonstrations, this list was quickly reduced to three,one of which also dropped out as its capabilities were better suited to financial institutional, as opposed to corporate treasury needs.
The remaining two systems were reviewed by the stakeholder panel that had contributed to the initial questionnaire, with a unanimous decision to select City Financial’s system, eTC. Since then, the company has been acquired by Wall Street Systems. There were a variety of reasons for this decision. In particular, the full loan and lease schedules of our fleet could be managed as a core capability, and there was a specific module in the system for commodity hedging.