Treasury processes touch many functions, but other departments don’t necessarily realize the extent to which treasury can help further their objectives. Developing business relationships with peers across the company helps treasurers in several ways. It can enhance visibility and understanding of treasury’s role across the organization, increase their involvement in company-wide projects, and earn a seat at the decision-makers’ table.
1. CROSS-FUNCTIONAL BONDS
In recent years, treasury’s importance has become increasingly evident to company executives and boards. Treasurers now have an opportunity to convert that visibility into influence as CFOs and other executives seek to better understand cash flows and employ strategies that can add to the bottom line. Building relationships organization-wide is a fundamental step.
2. INITIATING RELATIONSHIPS
Treasurers should first identify those who can mutually benefit: leaders of such functions as AP, AR, tax, IT, HR and working capital. Before reaching out, treasurers should consider ways they can help their colleagues in other departments, and be prepared to offer specific examples. Highlighting potential benefits can break down silos—which can be an obstacle, particularly when departments are under-resourced.
3. MUTUAL EDUCATION
Forging new relationships requires mutual learning. Treasurers must examine what other departments do, in order to discuss the ways treasury can help. This can promote collaboration in areas such as contract negotiation, software selection and process improvement. The education phase could include “lunch and learn” meetings involving colleagues across the organization.
Ongoing dialogue is key to strengthening relationships and collaboration. Whether it’s through in-person meetings, phone calls, video conferencing or other channels, regular communication increases mutual understanding and can uncover opportunities for treasury to add value. For example, treasurers should seize any chance to participate in cross-departmental projects, however small, as one opportunity may lead to another. It’s also important to give colleagues in other departments the chance to advise on treasury initiatives relevant to their expertise.