As debt becomes more expensive and supply chains face evolving pressures post–Covid-19, working capital management is in many companies' crosshairs. Treasury and finance teams are expected to wring cash out of processes throughout the cash conversion cycle, and many are harnessing technology in new ways to accomplish that goal.

That is exactly what this year's Alexander Hamilton Award–winning projects in the category Working Capital & Payments achieved.

  • Gold Award: Accounts receivable (A/R) at Microsoft is massive, which means that manually forecasting collections is prohibitively time-consuming. The forecast previously took Accenture, Microsoft's collections outsourcing provider, around 1,000 hours a month to compile, and the finished product was only about 90 percent accurate. That's why Microsoft and Accenture collaborated to build an artificial intelligence (AI) model that produces a much more accurate forecast while requiring far fewer human resources to complete.
  • Silver Award: World-renowned footwear retailer Christian Louboutin experiences frequent intercompany transactions as stores transfer merchandise to one another to accommodate customer needs. Previously, individual stores handled payment for those transfers, which resulted in increased expenditure of resources, foreign exchange (FX) costs, and bank fees. The treasury team deployed and customized a technology solution to automatically net payments between stores, resulting in a much more efficient process for getting customers what they want—where they want it.
  • Bronze Award: Automotive filtration leader Mann+Hummel sources parts and materials from around the globe. When Covid-19 created disruptions in cash flows throughout the company's supply chain, the German manufacturer committed to expanding its supply-chain finance program. Now five funders provide liquidity to more than 100 suppliers, in six currencies and across 23 countries. The program has simultaneously improved Mann+Hummel cash flows and strengthened the company's supply chain.

All three organizations found an innovative solution to a modern working capital challenge. Congratulations to Microsoft, Christian Louboutin, and Mann+Hummel for their outstanding initiatives! And thank you to the judges of our 2023 awards program: Erik Smolders, former treasurer of Ingram Micro and a vice president in Deloitte's Global Treasury Advisory Services practice; Jean-Francois Heitz, former deputy CFO and treasurer of Microsoft; Craig Jeffery, managing partner of Strategic Treasurer; Paul Galloway, senior adviser at Strategic Treasurer; and Marie Hollein, former president and CEO of Financial Executives International.

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