Automation, Taxation and Risk Reduction
Bedell, Denise, Global Finance
Risk management and technology were key themes of the annual AFP conference in Boston in November.
The annual Association for Financial Professionals conference - held in Boston in November - had an energy and turnout not seen since before the financial crisis of 2008. The agenda streams, professional training sessions, and highlighted speakers offered up a range of discussions and activities. The keynote address of former US president Bill Clinton on Sunday brought to the fore some of the issues that are top on the minds of CFOs and treasurers at US and global companies: in particular the crisis in Europe and its potential impact on global corporates. Clinton said: "Essentially, we've got an interdependent world that is a work in progress."
In an interview with Global Finance, Peter Mack, senior vice president and director of international banking at Fifth Third Bank, agreed that Europe is dominating discussions with corporate clients right now. "Regardless of the outcome, it will have repercussions that will be felt around the globe."
A. morning presentation on globalization hosted by Citi on Monday had a lively discussion on the changing role of treasury as cash flows continue to globalize and companies are exposed to greater global risks. Treasurers are increasingly acting as global risk managen, panelists noted, and the European crisis provides a significant example of this.
Barbara Quiroga, director of cash operations at Delta Air Lines, said the big impact of the EU crisis for their treasury is on the investment side - knowing who they are exposed to and where. "So having full visibility [of investment exposures] is a key priority," she said. As a result, they are keeping large amounts of free cash available that is very liquid.
How technology is helping companies to reduce costs and increase financial visibility was also a big theme at the conference, and corporate mobile technology was a hot-button topic. …