As the famous adage goes, adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. That was the case for countless of treasury management professionals and banks amid the turbulence of the past year, when good practices were revealed, such as ensuring liquidity and effectively managing working capital.
The Covid-19 pandemic was also a wake-up call for both banks and treasury management professionals such as chief financial officers and treasurers to think outside the box, adapt to the challenges of working remotely, and get transactions processed without the comforts of physical documentation.
In the area of cash management, The Asset board of editors witnessed over the past year how several companies were able to take advantage of the pandemic to reset and reshape their processes by deploying real-time API (application programming interface) connectivity with their banking partners, thereby getting a better handle of their current cash positions.
Other treasury management professionals quickly adapted to the new normal with traditional retailers, for instance, generating revenue via e-commerce channels and crafting new collection methods through national payment systems or e-wallets.
Trade finance, which for years has been an ideal candidate for a revamp, got additional legs in its digitalization journey last year with companies now more than willing to process letters of credit through blockchain-backed online portals to avoid fraud risk and enable transparency. Moreover, there has been increased emphasis on using OCR (optical character recognition) and machine-learning technology to facilitate the processing of trade documentation.
The pandemic has also heightened awareness of the importance of the supply chain and how the poor financial health of tier-two or tier-three suppliers can negatively affect the whole flow of production. This has prompted treasury management professionals to explore new solutions to provide cheaper financing to critical suppliers in need of capital. Over the past year, The Asset board of editors have seen improvements in onboarding suppliers, a key competitive advantage for banks looking to establish themselves as a leader in supply chain financing.
While digitalization continues to play a crucial role in realizing the objectives of proactive treasury management professionals and banks, there is a growing trend towards incorporating sustainability into treasury best practices. Some examples include intertwining supply chain financing with sustainability goals and providing products such as green letters of credit.
Despite a difficult 2020, an elite segment of institutions and treasury management professionals rose to the challenge posed by the ongoing health crisis and learned valuable lessons that they could apply to both their professional and personal lives.
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The virtual awards ceremony for The Asset Triple A Treasury, Trade, SSC and Risk Management Awards 2021 is scheduled to take place on June 17, 2021, when we will reveal the winners of the regional categories.
Stay tuned this week as The Asset continues to reveal the winners of The Triple A Treasury, Trade, Sustainable Supply Chain and Risk Management Awards 2021.