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2021 Alexander Hamilton Awards logo

Risk is always a concern for treasury and finance teams, obviously, but the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the topic into even greater focus. From worries about employee and customer health to liquidity issues to business continuity risk, everyone from board members to front-line workers has spent the past two years with a close eye on organizational risk management.

For the winners of the 2021 Alexander Hamilton Awards in Risk Management, that attention—and action—around risk management strategies has paid off handsomely.

  • Silver Award: Variances in credit processes among the different business units at Microsoft was previously creating a disjointed customer experience for many of the company’s global clients. Moreover, the five-day turnaround time on most credit decisions created an opportunity for significant working capital improvement. By consolidating credit management responsibility, while standardizing and automating processes, Microsoft lowered risks, decreased operating costs, accelerated cash flows, and even drove revenue growth.
  • Gold Award: At AARP, membership communications are business-critical. Much of members’ correspondence with the organization comes in through the U.S. Postal Service. When Covid restrictions limited the organization’s ability to process the 3 million pieces of mail it receives each month, AARP shifted that responsibility to a third-party lockbox. The transition was smooth, and members generally didn’t even notice the difference, thanks to the business continuity solution that AARP’s treasury group had built, tested, and tweaked pre-Covid.

“There is no unsolvable issue,” says Andrey Naumiuk, senior finance manager for Azure Data at Microsoft. “To achieve a highly ambitious goal, you might need to bring drastic changes. But technologies available today can solve all kinds of problems that treasury professionals face in our daily work. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing have the potential to significantly increase the productivity of treasury teams—across different companies, across different countries—and bring value to those companies’ customers.”

Congratulations to AARP and Microsoft for their outstanding initiatives! And thank you to the judges of the competition: Jean-Francois Heitz, former deputy CFO and treasurer of Microsoft; Erik Smolders, former treasurer of Ingram Micro and a vice president in Deloitte’s Global Treasury Advisory Services practice; Craig Jeffery, managing partner of Strategic Treasurer; and Marie Hollein, former president and CEO of Financial Executives International.

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