DigitalCFO Newsroom | 1 March 2022
The Association for Finance Professionals (AFP) opened its Asia office in Singapore in June 2019 seeking to better connect with and serve finance professionals in the Asia-Pacific region. This year, we formed the APAC Treasury Council to further our understanding of the unique challenges and needs within the region.
GOAL OF THE COUNCIL
The goal for the council is to create an engaged networking advisory group with the purpose of discussing best practices and common challenges, and sharing ideas. The information we gather will extend to the AFP community through access to articles, research and events.
“At AFP, we feel that the best way to learn is to rely on your peers within the profession, and we wanted to create a forum for our members to do that. We’re also looking for council initiatives that will be carried out by AFP’s Asia office to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of the region and globally,” said Tom Hunt, CTP, director of Treasury Services for AFP.
“We are thrilled to launch this council as a way of furthering the goal of the AFP Asia office to elevate the treasury profession and create engaged communities through networking, education and training,” said Himashi Soriano, managing director of APAC.
BIG PROJECTS AND BIG CHALLENGES
The inaugural members kicked off their first council meeting by discussing the projects they are working on and the key challenges they’re striving to meet in 2022.
Top projects/priorities of the council members include:
- Supply chain financing.
- Digitalization and automation.
- Streamlining payment processes.
- How to show the data in real time in both systems — ERP and TMS.
- Centralization of FX execution.
- Implementation of a TMS for the entire region.
- Implementation of cross-border pooling structures.
- Looking into alternatives such as cryptocurrency.
- Optimization of working capital cost.
- Exploring various fundraising venues such as accessing the debt market.
- Exploring a joint venture or partnership.
- Expanding to other countries through big cross-border projects.
- New ways to accept payments from our retail customers in-store and online, faster collection and seamless reconciliation.
- Diversity and inclusion at all levels, providing a safe and inclusive environment for everybody to be heard, to have a seat at the table and not feel left out.
- Understanding the implications of trends in the treasury space such as digital currencies and cryptos.
The biggest challenges our members report facing right now include:
- Cash forecasting.
- How to get the planning data from the ERP systems to the TMS system.
- How to reconcile the planning data with the actuals.
- Bank transaction journals – every company is set up differently; they have their own TMS systems and ERP systems, so the data needs to be aligned between both of them, and how we can make big data available in both the systems.
- Finding the right banking partners when you’re working in different markets and different regions.
- Expanding our capabilities in treasury.
- Interest rates: “It’s still nowhere near the 5% that I’m used to – back in the good old days,” said Toh.
- LIBOR transition, alternative reference rates.
- Succession planning in treasury.
“Treasury is kind of regarded as that back-office team that keeps the engine running and keeps the balance sheet working. So, in a lot of ways, developing our teams and developing our talent, giving them the opportunity to move around and experience different roles and different challenges to broaden their finance skill set is an important part of being a leader in your organization,” Max Sunarcia, Treasurer, Jardines.
Inaugural members joining the AFP APAC Treasury Council include:
- Aron Akesson, Regional Treasurer, Carlsberg Group
- Joris Chevaux, CTP, Regional Treasury Manager, Sephora
- Siddhant Jain, CTP, Senior Functional Analyst (Treasury), Dentsu International
- Vinit Mishra, CTP, Head of Treasury and Trade Finance – India, Louis Dreyfus Company India Private Limited
- Shankar Ramaswamy, CTP, Treasury Business Partner, a global travel firm
- Mukesh Singh, Treasury Manager, Microsoft
- Max Sunarcia, Treasurer, Jardines
- Jessie Toh, Treasurer, Coda Payments
- Marcell Wiradinata, CTP, Treasury Manager, Philip Morris Sampoerna International Service Center
- Pulat Yunusmetov, CTP, Treasury Manager, Danone
“It was a great first meeting,” said Soriano. “We look forward to continuing the conversation in March, and to learning more about our APAC members’ needs and how AFP can support them as they rise to meet both regional challenges and the challenges of the treasury profession as it continues to evolve in today’s world.”
AFP is your source for corporate treasury expertise. AFP administers the Certified Treasury Professional designation, which serves as a benchmark of competency in the treasury profession.