Adversity to advantage

October 2020

US treasury and financial professionals are preparing for two weeks of online learning and networking at the Association for Financial Professionals’ (AFP) first virtual conference from 19-29 October

Following both EuroFinance and SWIFT, which have recently made a virtue of necessity by changing the format of their annual conference in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is offering a virtual experience this year.

Titled ‘Virtually Together’, AFP 2020 is “divided into two weeks of learning and virtual networking” with two four-day periods running from 19-22 October and 26-29 October respectively.

Deutsche Bank is represented at three sessions in Week Two of the conference. The bank’s Head of CCM Sales in the US, Tommy Cho, presents on Wednesday 28 October with Accenture’s David Backhaus and Kyle Schiller on Cash Forecasting Solved? Optimising Working Capital Through AI Forecasting and Inventory Principles, which will be held 15:00-16:00 Eastern Time (ET). The location will be Virtual Session Room 3.

“Cash forecasting has remained a challenge for corporations and the global nature of corporations have made it even more challenging,” says Cho. “In recent years, forecast accuracy has become a major focus for treasury organisations. The session will address several points: what is leading to such enhanced focus on cash forecasting; the challenges that corporations face in generating an accurate forecast; the variables impacting an accurate forecast for Accenture, the group’s journey in approaching the problem and its solution.

“Deutsche Bank and Accenture hope that the session will provide the audience with a foundation as to how they might approach the problem at their own organisation.”

Fraud protection

The final day of the conference, Thursday 29 October, will see Deutsche Bank’s Chief Information Security Officer for the Americas, Wade Bicknell, presenting at the session Fraud Protection: Treasury & IT Collaborate at 13:30-14:30 ET in Virtual Session Room 5. As Bicknell and colleague Vanessa Riemer wrote for flow in June this year, a steadily rising frequency of spear phishing, business email compromise and other attacks on corporates means that the chief information security officer is everyone’s new best friend.

He adds that cybercrime and fraud are a constant and consistent threat across the globe and the presentation will focus on:

  • Building protocol for identifying emerging cyber threats such as business email compromise and ransomware;
  • Developing and sharing best practices created in partnership between Treasury and IT;
  • Deploying technology to combat fraud, as human error continues to be a leading vulnerability

This session will be followed at 15:00-16:00 ET in Virtual Session Room 3 by You Too Can Build a Treasury Robot, which examines how Honeywell developed a Robotics Process Automation (RPA) initiative in-house that improved its cash forecasting process.

Speakers include Amy Beninato, Director, Corporate Cash Management at the bank’s New York office, who says that the session will address the following issues:

  • RPA can be a robust tool to decrease costs and increase operational efficiency; this is true for corporate clients as well as Deutsche Bank, which has found that RPA greatly improves predictive analytics. However, RPA does not replace existing systems but rather is a complement to them;
  • Be mindful of “technology overkill”; as with many other technologies, RPA is not a perfect fit for every situation – Honeywell’s Séverine Le Blévennec cites Blockchain as an example of a technology that could be “a solution looking for a problem”;
  • The static report management feature of RPA is especially useful for companies active in M&A; when senior management, or the tax department, needs to know, for example, exactly how many accounts are open/closed and which are part of a pool structure. RPA makes it possible to instantly pull this data
  • RPA is also an ideal mechanism for monitoring counterparty limits, an important consideration for global multinational corporations (MNCs) managing multiple banking relationships and investments
  • The employee experience is just as important as improving operational efficiency; the last decision should always be left to the human!

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