In every type of company, and any size of treasury team, harnessing technology is key to effectively serving the broader organization. The three winners of the 2020 Alexander Hamilton Awards in Technology Excellence demonstrate the benefits of investing in both technology solutions and ongoing professional skills development for treasury professionals tasked with harnessing those solutions.

"Best-in-class treasury teams are becoming almost a center of excellence for analytics," says Ed Barrie, senior director of treasury for Tableau Software. "Treasury sits at the nexus of everything that's going on in an organization, so treasury teams have a view of everything that's touching corporate cash. They have access to streams of data from across the organization that they need to tap in order to understand cash flows. Treasury professionals who aren't continuously improving their financial analytics skills and leveraging data are at risk of being left behind."

  • Bronze Award:  Shortly after USI launched as a property/casualty insurer, exponential growth—largely through acquisitions—resulted in decentralized treasury processes with limited visibility into cash flows. Then the company instituted a central treasury function. Over the two decades since, treasury has remained very small, but has leveraged technology to become effective and efficient.
  • Silver Award:  Treasury and accounting staff at Tableau Software were manually downloading bank statements, then posting and clearing cash receipts against open invoices. Tableau didn't want to implement a treasury management system. Instead, the treasury and financial analytics teams worked together to build a comprehensive data store for treasury and finance information companywide, improving cash visibility and automating many of the manual reconciliation processes.
  • Gold Award:  Oklahoma-based energy company ONEOK, Inc. pioneered the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to automatically pull bank statement information into a treasury management system. At the time, this functionality wasn't available from the company's software vendor or primary bank, but ONEOK treasury staff worked closely with these partners to get the functionality they needed to improve the team's workflows.

"It's easy for treasury teams to get complacent over time, as they do the same thing over and over again and it continues to work," says Nancy Colwell, director of treasury at USI. "The world is evolving so fast that treasury professionals who just sit still are going to be left in the dust. We all need to be learning, all the time, so that we can make the best possible contributions to our treasury team and our company. Beyond technology, it's critical for treasury professionals to be willing to learn, willing to grow, and willing to change with the times."

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