• Deutsche Bank partners with ACT on a best practice guide in corporate treasury

18 November 2021

As companies are transforming their business models and new technologies are evolving, corporate treasury departments need to redefine best practice. A new guide published by the ACT in cooperation with Deutsche Bank delivers helpful advice and benchmarking

What does the road to a data-driven treasury look like? What is the best approach to managing cash in challenging markets? How should treasurers deal with the new complexities associated with booming e-commerce? This is a selection of questions that are being addressed by the ACT International Treasury Peer Review Best Practice Guide. The report was produced by The Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) in cooperation with Deutsche Bank and is now available for download. It has been designed to help treasurers benchmark their practices and operations against their peers.

“This guide should not only provide you with a good read, but also inspire you to think about how you might do things differently in the future,” says Caroline Stockmann, Chief Executive of the ACT. The London-based association has 5,500 members and students in 81 countries, mostly working as treasury, risk and finance professionals in corporate and financial institutions – from large multinationals to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It was formed in January 1979 by a small group of practitioners, “convinced that the growing significance of treasury management made the need for a professional association paramount”, as the ACT states on its website.1

Ole Matthiessen, Global Head of Cash Management, Deutsche Bank“As you look to adjust your treasury operations to keep pace with the digitalisation of the wider business, we hope this guide acts as a useful companion on your journey”
Ole Matthiessen, Global Head of Cash Management, Deutsche Bank

Since the foundation of the ACT 40 years ago, the role of corporate treasury has not only grown but completely transformed. These days, it needs to keep pace with the digitalisation of sales channels, integrate consideration on environmental, social and governance (ESG) into their operations and ensure robust processes while leveraging new technologies such as APIs.

“The way treasury teams are structured and operate is evolving – and doing so faster than ever. What was once considered ‘best practice’, often no longer meets the needs of today’s treasurer,” says Ole Matthiessen, Global Head of Cash Management, Deutsche Bank. “As you look to adjust your treasury operations to keep pace with the digitalisation of the wider business, we hope this guide acts as a useful companion on your journey.”

How does technology support treasury?

On 30 pages, the guide features case studies of corporate treasury professionals as well as expert opinions including contributions by Claudia Villasis-Wallraff, Head of Cash Management Structuring APAC at Deutsche Bank and Raphael Jansa, Cash Management Structuring at Deutsche Bank.

On the corporate side, Chris Dribben, Director Global Cash Management at the global healthcare company GSK, for example describes how technology such as algorithmic FX trading has allowed the treasury function to become more efficient in its operations and day-to-day processes, “giving treasurers more time to analyse and strategise with a greater understanding of the risks being managed and the data that underlies the decision”, as he puts it.

In another article, Diana-Iulia Macarascu, Head of Global Treasury Operations, British American Tobacco (BAT), elaborates on why centralisation of the treasury function is necessary but not enough. “The treasury function needs to be embedded within the organisation, capturing strategic and operational requirements,” she states. With respect to instruments driving centralisation, Macarascu for example mentions virtual accounts and inhouse banks.

Centralisation is key

Centralisation is a task topping the agenda at several treasury departments. This is outlined by the inaugural ACT International Treasury Peer Review which incorporates responses more 200 corporates globally and accompanies the guide. According to the survey, 69% of respondents already have an in-house bank in place at the headquarter, regional or local treasury level. 47% of respondents are using virtual accounts to optimise their treasury operations, while another 26% are considering using them.

This also highlights that the first steps to developing a data-driven treasury are well underway. However, the often talked about application programming interfaces (APIs) are currently used to connect to bank systems by just 7% of corporates. This could be seen as a clear sign that banks and corporates alike still need to do more in in this regard – and standardised API formats across banks would help expediate this journey. 

You can download The ACT International Treasury Peer Review Best Practice Guide here.