Best of 2020: Industry Experts
23-04-2021 7 min read
The past year presented an incredible challenge to businesses around the world. To help our community weather the impact of the coronavirus crisis and prepare their business for the future, Serrala invited several industry experts to share their insights.
Click on the links below to delve into the subjects covered by these experts, whose broad industry knowledge and unique global perspectives will inspire you and your finance organization with ideas on how to prepare for what’s to come in 2021 and beyond.
- Working capital was at the top of everyone’s mind in 2020, so we invited Matt Skudera from the US-based Credit Research Foundation (CRF) to review an important metric, the Collections Effectiveness Index (CEI). CRF data showed that collection rates in 2020 were only slightly lower at 81% than they were in 2009 (84%) during the last economic downturn; however, customers were pushing back on payment terms and that the average days delinquent was growing.
There was also some good news to report. Credit managers were actively advising C-level executives on cash flow strategies during the crisis. With their broad set of knowledge about customers and cash flows, the credit department was ideally positioned to help companies determine the correct collection strategies in 2020.
- Experts from European Credit and Treasury associations AITI, AFDCC, Callisto Grand, CICM, VVCM discussed the unique cash flow challenges faced in different regions across Europe.
- Jesse Todd from Microsoft joined Serrala to discuss the potential for digitization in the finance department. The company has been able to move 95% of its finance functions into the Azure cloud. This move has let the company take full advantage of powerful intelligent automation and predictive analytics capabilities available in the cloud and empower faster, better financial decision making. Moving to the cloud also make it possible for the finance team to further optimize their processes in 2020 in response to changing market conditions. According to Jesse “It’s magical – this stuff actually works!”
- Barbara Hodge of the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON) shared some of the research they conducted with leading shared service centers, noting that digitization is a top priority for 46% of organizations and that approximately 2 out of 3 (64%) organizations were applying RPA, AI and machine learning technologies in their operational finance and accounting processes.
According to Barbara, “We're all faced with the harsh reality of having to improve. The key factors will be Transparency, Efficiency, Effectiveness. These have always been key, but today we have modern solutions that help us. That's the big value proposition.”
- Eleanor Hill of TMI joined us to discuss the challenges facing treasury departments due to Covid-19. In our Ensuring Liquidity Expert Forum event, she reviewed a survey by TMI, showing that 64% of treasurers worry about liquidity and struggle with challenges such as external funding, foreign exchange rates, cybercrime, and transitioning to a digital treasury organization.
She also joined to discuss the three steps companies can take to move B2B payments away from their local banks and subsidiaries into a centralized treasury to gain greater transparency and control over cash flows. Find out their three tips for centralizing payments by reviewing the session from our Centralizing Payments Expert Forum.
- Susie West from Shared Services Link, joined Serrala to discuss the need for real time information in finance. In 2020, finance departments discovered the limitations of using spreadsheets, especially in distributed organizations that also work with business outsourcing partners. Digitized processes can provide these teams with the real-time data they need to power advanced analytics, quickly identify cash flow issues and discover new insights that deliver a long-term competitive advantage.
Would you like to hear more from these and other industry experts? Explore the vast library of expert forum events on our website.
If you’d like to discuss a specific question, our Serrala experts are available to review your requirements and discuss options at your convenience.
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