Digital disruption is playing out in a host of industries, not the least of which includes corporate treasury functions, which are becoming much more global and complex — and more tailored to larger changes in the digital economy. Dealing with that disruption, and finding ways to innovate with those treasury functions, served as the theme of a brief interview with two executives from Citi.
The interview took place on Friday (April 26) on Singapore-based Money FM 89.3, featuring Manish Kohli, Citi’s global head of payments and receivables, and Tapodyuti Bose, Citi’s global head of channels and enterprise services. The nearly 12-minute segment was not so much a list of specific steps to bring corporate treasury functions into this new and evolving digital age, but more to describe the general landscape and set the parameters of the disruption to those treasury functions.
Thanks to better APIs, the spread of mobile payments and onboarding technology, and cloud computing, the “disruptions [are] more than we have seen in our lives,” Kohli said. Not only that, but more businesses are dealing directly and more often with individual consumers (as opposed to wholesalers and distributers), and the pace of globalization keeps accelerating, he noted. In addition, how companies “[collect pay] from consumers is undergoing transformation.”
Those factors are having direct and indirect impacts on corporate treasurers and CFOs — and the financial institutions serving them via client relationships. Among those impacts? The core role of corporate treasury functions is also changing, according to Bose. What was once a task generally focused on risk assessment and management, and liquidity, now concerns business strategy and growth, he said. That requires financial institutions to adopt new, innovate ways of serving those clients.
Data is a big part of that, especially as many business and consumer relationships become more direct, with middlemen eliminated, the two executives said. Data analysis — including via machine learning technology — enables corporate treasurers and banking executives to, for instance, better forecast the flow of payments, how deposits will behave over the next year or more and other valuable tasks that can lead to innovation amid all this disruption.
Not only that, but the “customer experience” takes on much more importance, Kohli said, “and cybersecurity is critical.” The old corporate treasury function is dead, at least, according to the theme coming out of this particular interview. Long live the new model.