Optimising Treasury Functions: PROCESSES – Smooth workflows of people and system interactions
A process should standardise and expediate regularly required operations, which means minimal resources are expended as people and systems interact to realise consistent outcomes.
- Key-man risk in manual, undocumented procedures
- Do not produce clear calls to action
- Ad-hoc, manual ‘bolt-on’ solutions
- Highly fragmented source information
- Lack of alignment to strategic objectives
- In-depth operations mapping process – current and desired state
- Actionable next steps, achieving stakeholder strategic aligned on short and long-term objectives
- Implementation and training, in line with optimised system requirements
Our first question is always a simple one: ‘What is it that we are trying to achieve?’ However, the answers even within one organisation or team can be highly variable. This variability is often driven by the level of perspective applied to the problem, and misalignment on what comprises a complete process.
A valuable process has four key features and should be prioritised in this order to achieve long term viability:
- Complete. The process has the following components:
- Outputs that enable objective decision making
- Decision making
- Consistent. The process should be standardised and purpose driven enough to where it is governable by a policy.
- Useful. The outputs and decision making should leave the business in a more valuable position than at the start.
- Effective. The steps to achieve decision making are holistic but as few as possible. We like to think of it as minimising the amount of ‘mouse clicks’ it takes to make confident decisions.
Process development very much begins in the Design phase at a strategic level whereby individual processes are separated out and articulated. Then, both the steps of the process and the timeline to develop the process quite literally need to be written or made into a flow chart. If the owner of the process development is unable to achieve this, then the owner of process development has not fully developed a process.
- If the source of inputs and inputs themselves are not articulated, then a process is not complete.
- If the desired outputs that enable decision making are not at least conceptually presentable in an easily interpreted dashboard or report, then the process is not complete.
- If the development does not end in decision making that is governable by a policy, the process is not complete
A smooth implementation process is nearly as critical as the improved operational process that is being implemented. Often; operational transformations have enough political buy-in for one motivated attempt. Attention and enthusiasm of key stakeholders dwindles rapidly if process improvements are not performed fast and effectively.
We want to see minimal headaches and time spent administering data at an operational level post implementation. If there is confidence that the process outputs are valuable, and operational staff are not burdened by performing the process, then the process will support long term value creation.
Why the challenge was proving difficult to solve:
- The CFO and Financial Controller did not have enough time or direct experience to develop and manage required new processes
- Operating across seventeen countries with fragmented procedures, consolidated group oversight risked becoming a full-time job with ad hoc procedures and high key-man risk
- New banking facilities, Treasury Management System infrastructure and cash management were key focus points requiring design, implementation and ongoing operation
Rochford actions to address and correct the problems:
- Rochford built and implemented global cash flow forecasting model and procedure, consolidating and reporting submitted forecasts on a weekly basis to the CFO
- We worked directly the banks to ensure global facilities were properly collateralised on Day 1, optimising collateral and facility usage thereafter
- Rochford actively managed global cash and liquidity, sweeping excess fund to head office for debt servicing before transitioning day to day activities to full time staff when hired
End outcome, leaving the business in a better position than at the start:
- The business had a fully functioning treasury from Day 1, with visibility and communication channels across global finance teams and banking relationships
- Ensuing treasury management operations enabled a debt refinancing twelve months ahead of schedule and a reduction in principle debt of 20%