At Kyriba Live 2019 in Las Vegas, one of the most hotly debated sessions discussed the case for treasury led finance transformation. Featuring a high-quality panel of speakers and chaired by Jim Kaitz, President & CEO, Association of Finance Professionals, the debate shared some detailed, real world insights into how treasury can deliver on the promises of digital transformation.
Opening the debate, Kaitz started by pointing out how treasurers, if they are to embrace the full potential of tech-led transformation – which is a given for those companies looking to prosper – need to commit themselves to lifelong learning and skills development. “Treasurers need to ask themselves if their skills are on par with their mission?” said Kaitz. “This question needs to be asked on almost daily basis. This is what’s going to drive success as a treasurer. The fourth industrial revolution is going to be disruptive and we’ll all need to learn new skills if we’re to be successful.
“For example, every single business is swimming in data. So, treasurers need to ask: Can you think better with that data? Can you make better decisions as a treasury professional with that data? Are you equipped to leverage the power of data? After all, you can’t have a single version of the truth if you don’t have a good handle on data analytics.”
Kaitz went on to say that finance needs to keep up with the skills race – not just across data, but also in terms of other key transformation drivers such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, as well as data visualisation. “I believe that you will need to be proficient in these areas in order to be successful in treasury,” he stated.
By becoming proficient, Kaitz added that it can give the treasury function a greater standing and more power within an organisation. “Boards want the CFO and finance function to provide real-time data to enable better decision making. The reality however is that CFOs still spend less time on digital trends than they do on traditional finance activities. This is partly because treasury hasn’t embraced data and digital – a recent survey found that 44% of treasurers don’t see the disruption from technology. That’s disconcerting.”
Kaitz continued on to challenge every treasurer in the session to step up to the challenge and prevent treasury from falling behind the skills race, by using the mountain of data that exists. By doing this, treasury can be positioned as one of the most important parts of any organisation.
“Treasury professionals need to develop the skills required to take the numbers and turn them into a story that paints the facts about an organisation,” Kaitz concluded. “The key to success is to combine those great, fact-led ‘left brain’ skills and add data and some creative ‘right-brain’ skills to paint a full picture for the CFO and beyond.”