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© Sculpture: Jos Dirix
© Sculpture: Jos Dirix

Do you speak Treasury?

Pieter de Kiewit 21-09-2021 12:49 PM
Categories: Treasury

Do you speak Treasury?

Many reading this blog do speak treasury. Which is good because when more people know more about treasury, many more will benefit. Regretfully, most colleagues of treasurers must admit they do not speak treasury, at least not fluently. Colleagues do not always admit this and treasurers do not always ask. As a result, too many treasurers stay in their ivory towers. As a consequence risk is not mitigated, opportunities will be missed and costs will rise. Can treasurers help their colleagues speak Treasury to avoid these things of happening?

My recent inspiration for this blog comes from my daily communication with non-treasurers on the topic, also from articles available on treasuryXL like: Poor internal communication (Dutch Item) And last week I spoke with Niki van Zanten. He works with companies on mitigating their FX risk and did notice the following scenarios:

  • Corporates do not have a FX strategy (foreign exchange, aka doing business in various currencies). They buy or sell currencies when needed at their regular bank at the price the bank offers;
  • Corporates do think about the cost of FX and call various banks and other providers like XE and ask for a quote when needed;
  • Corporates have a more holistic approach and think about FX exposures throughout the year. They think about the timing of transactions, the cost and alternative ways to mitigate risk. When they want to hedge, they think for exemple whether they want to mitigate balance sheet risk or the risk within a certain deal.

The purpose of this blog however is not to provide you with the ideal FX strategy. Niki is the expert to  guide you further and I am happy to connect you. We furthermore maintain a network consisting out of dedicated and seasoned experts in other relevant corporate treasury subsets like trade finance, cash management, funding etc.. Our purpose is to help experts increase treasury awareness within a bigger audience..  In my perception this is a communication challenge which can be solved when everybody participates. In university one of my professors taught me about communication: E=Q*A. The effectiveness of your message is the quality times the acceptation.

The quality of the message you can broadcast as a treasurer is all about the job you love, but also about the relevance for your organisation. Sometimes trade finance is very relevant, sometimes cash pooling. So understand your job in every detail, but also understand the relevance for your organisation. My observation is that many treasurers do possess the technical knowledge. By talking to with your colleagues you get to understand the relevance. Q is often quite good.

I do see room for improvement in the acceptation of the treasury message, the E in the equation. That is about knowing your colleagues and focus on what is relevant for them. About together understanding the bottlenecks/problems before going to the solution. And about using language that the other side understands: avoid the treasury lingo. Next to these aspects, I want to stress a lesson I learned from my last boss: the power of repetition. Do not think you are done when you told your story once. Continue reaching out, create story variations and continue the listening process. Only then business will start including you in their activities.

And why would you do so? I expect your impact & positive results will increase, you will get salary raises & promotions and you will enjoy your job better. Speaking Treasury with your colleagues is fun! I do not see a downside, so go out there and convince your colleagues to work with you.

Good luck! Pieter

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