Improving efficiency in the payments process is always a top-of-mind topic for treasury teams. Over the past 18 months, though, many organizations have increased their emphasis on extending payment terms with their suppliers, as working capital optimization has become crucial to survival in many industries.

"In the past, when we would look to create shareholder value, we'd typically think of increasing profits and getting a better return on capital investments," says Andrew Church, CFO of Woodstream, a manufacturer and distributor of pest control and other animal-related products. "Obviously, those areas are a great place to start, but it doesn't make sense to focus exclusively on P&L management. We've learned that to improve shareholder value, we should dedicate just as much rigor and attention to the balance sheet—specifically, to working capital—as we do to improving our profit margins."

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