Cash Culture: Everyone's Business Within the Company

A wide variety of operational actions

The annual AFTE (the French Association of Corporate Treasurers) conference, which involves around 1200 participants and 80 sponsors, was held 19-20 November and followed the theme "Dare to innovate". 

Plenary sessions and workshops ran back to back over the two days. One session was particularly appreciated for its practicality, the one on cash culture.

As with any major project, the support of the Executive Committee is an essential prerequisite. The speakers distinguished between theory and practices,

concluding that as long as the company is cash rich, the cash culture is difficult to spread. Financial acquisition, an increase in debt and crisis are all accelerators and triggers, while the treasurer is the ideal person to develop and spread the cash culture.

A cash approach means both large projects and small streams. Operational staff play a key role, because good ideas come from the field and not from headquarters; they must therefore understand the stakes, which is done by making cash pragmatic, by disseminating it in an intelligent way. To do this, the treasurer must therefore go out in the field and rub shoulders with buyers and salespeople.

like the myth of Sisyphus, improving working capital is a continuous, thankless task. It is necessary to pay close attention to WC, by reviewing each flow, and attempting to resolve disputes. 

And beyond the operating WC, it is also necessary to focus on non-operating working capital.

In the end, a cutting remark was directed at the FinTechs, which offer tools that promise to optimize working capital: for the participants to this panel, the best tools are buyers and salespeople in the field.

Richard Cordero
Chief Operating Officer, EACT

Next meeting: on the afternoon of Thursday 30 January 2020, AFTE, in partnership with eight associations of financial professionals, will hold the eleventh annual meeting of debt and foreign exchange market professionals: “The challenges of the new decade”.