Corporate Treasurers' Top Topics at Coupa Inspire EMEA 2022
The BELLIN “I 💙 Treasury” spirit and 1TC energy were alive and well at this year’s Coupa Inspire EMEA, our global community conference that brings together leaders in treasury, finance, supply chain, procurement, and IT. After pausing in-person events for nearly two years, we were honored to welcome over nearly 100 corporate treasurers from across the region to an event dedicated to breaking down silos across businesses everywhere.
They joined countless conversations around today’s biggest business spend management challenges, adding their perspectives on how companies can maximize the value of every unit of money spent to navigate dynamic global market pressures. Corporate treasurers from global players such as PUMA Group, Dentsu International, Primetals Technologies, Vanderlande, Ferguson plc, Save the Children International, Huf Group, and Aalberts N.V. shared their views on how treasury functions have evolved over the last few years and through a pandemic, geopolitical strife, and the looming recession.
If you couldn’t attend, here are our top three takeaways you can use to start optimizing your corporate treasury function in this ever-changing landscape.
Collaboration across the business helps corporate treasurers achieve more
From keynotes to breakout sessions, Coupa Inspire EMEA 2022 speakers emphasized the importance of gaining full oversight of cash. This one central activity empowers companies to make smarter, faster decisions thanks to greater transparency and control of financial data across spend, payments, and liquidity.
But how do you get there? Every company’s journey is unique. What unites corporate treasurers along the way, they discovered, are business spend management practices that create greater visibility and foster better collaboration between finance, AP, procurement, and treasury. At our CFO and Finance Leader panel, our corporate treasurer guests reflected on how they worked across the business to come out of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic stronger than ever:
- Jeremy Hamon, Head of Group Finance and CFO at Primetals Technologies described how essential it was to quickly assess what resources were coming from where, to be able to efficiently redistribute funds to the right entities at the right time, and, ultimately, to deliver on central Treasury’s role of paying all financial obligations.
- Peter Helming, VP Treasury and Working Capital Management at Huf Group recalled that even though senior managers at local entities were mentally prepared for what a pandemic might mean, the company still had only a few days to roll out a new centralized payment approval process and integrate bank statements into the system, allowing everyone to focus on cash.
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Corporate treasurers can respond faster despite instability and cross-border disruptions
Even in the best of times, corporate treasurers struggle to gain complete visibility into spend and payments. Manual and time-consuming processes are the main culprit. Any crisis — from global supply chain disruptions to economic downturns and sanctions — exacerbates those challenges. To stay ahead of adversity, corporate treasurers need fast visibility (having the right data with a few clicks) and fast response times (having the agility to pivot when the situation calls for it).
So how can corporate treasurers use a business spend management platform to make smarter, faster decisions when the world can change in an hour?
Joanna Fanthorpe, Senior Treasury Manager at Save the Children International, described the airtight controls and approvals her organization needed to have in place to send US$1.3 billion in 36 currencies to its offices around the world. And as part of the response to the conflict in Ukraine, Save the Children International worked with Coupa to set up their bank accounts in Poland so employees could provide help to Ukrainian refugees in the country within as little as two days.
Corporate treasurers can fight sophisticated payment fraud with sophisticated tools
Payment fraud grows more complex and pernicious every year. Nearly US$32 billion is lost globally every year, and recent studies show that three out of four companies are targets of fraudulent payment activities. PwC research also reveals that companies in Europe are significantly more likely than those in other regions to experience fraud perpetrated by external factors, which underscores the importance of controls that go beyond codes of conduct, training, and investigations.
Corporate treasurers can stop more instances of payment by going upstream and analyzing spend fraud. Unnecessary payments can originate in many places, such as requisitions, purchase orders, invoices, expenses, and even sourcing events. During sessions throughout Coupa Inspire EMEA 2022, corporate treasurers discussed how a comprehensive business spend management approach incorporates AI to remove fraud from of the last mile of payments by:
- Creating databases of allowed and blocklists for additional control and overviews of all verified payments
- Detecting payment patterns and delivering real-time alerts on suspicious payments before they’re made
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