The texting, tweeting, social networking members of Gen Y are starting to invade corporate treasuries, bringing along their passion for mobile communication. How well they work with their Gen X managers and baby boomer top executives depends on how well they all use mutual understanding to bridge the generation and communication technology gaps. The gap may not be huge. Gen Yers--those born in the '80s and '90s--are a Facebook/Twitter generation with dexterous thumbs. Generational differences on using mobile technology do create some tension in treasuries, says Phil Capodice, a consultant with Treasury Strategies in Chicago. However, senior managers have been pressured for years to use the latest technology to gain efficiencies. Graying treasurers may or may not be on Facebook, but they are old hands with laptops and BlackBerries. "Mobile technology spans the generations," Capodice says. "There's still a gap, but it has been closing for several years."
Intergenerational treasury is working well at Diebold, a provider of banking and security systems in Canton, Ohio. Simon Bishop signed up for a three-month stint with $3 billion Diebold at age 22. He had just graduated from the Leeds University Business School in England with a B.A. in economics.
In general, the software is not there yet to do day-to-day treasury business with a smartphone, Bishop agrees, "but it's on its way. Our goal is to be able to do our jobs from anywhere, anytime, so we can react quickly to an urgent situation. We're pretty much there with current technology, but smartphone access to banking systems will complete the process."
Her iPhone already is an important professional tool for Stacy Allen, treasurer and vice president at Gemino Healthcare Finance in Philadelphia. She is not part of Gen Y ("That would be my children," Allen says), but the 41-year-old stays on the leading edge of mobile treasury applications. She is celebrating progress, thanks to a mobile treasury application introduced by her bank in 2010.
"I depend on my iPhone to initiate or approve wires and move money among our accounts when I am on the road," Allen says. "It's much simpler and easier to take care of business now that there's a corporate banking app for the iPhone."