The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is having unprecedented impacts on individuals, corporations, countries, and the global economy. In this time of uncertainty, what are the most critical areas for corporate treasurers?

Here are three of the most challenging areas for treasurers right now and key questions to address for each. While it’s impossible to fully predict what the future will hold, keeping these topics in mind will help you be as prepared as is possible.

Distributed Remote Operations

One of the most obvious areas of change is physical operations. For organizations used to having staff work in physical offices, with limited or no remote access to key systems due to security policies, this is the first challenge.

1. How does your treasury team access the systems they need to make payments and get the visibility needed for cash positioning?

Consider a secure treasury system that offers online access. This could be a TMS, ERP or a bank aggregation portal like the Fides Multi-Banking Suite. Secure access is important: ideally whatever system you are using should have controls in place to prevent unauthorized logins.

2. What happens if multiple team members are out sick — what is the impact on workflow, approvals, and processes?

It’s always a good idea to have backup plans in place in the event of illness. Make sure there is a designated back-up chain in place, and that all staff know who is responsible for what in the event that one or more people are sick or otherwise unavailable. Treasury technology that eliminates the need for manual workflow can significantly streamline the process.

3. What tools do you have in place for work and for communications, and are they effective?

Are you using collaboration tools such as Slack, Asana, Jira, Skype for Business, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or others? Whatever tools you have in place, get your team used to using them so they can readily communicate from any internet-enabled location and device when necessary.

Increased Risk

Market volatility means increased financial risk. Fluctuating foreign exchange rates, commodity prices, investment values, higher counterparty credit risk — all of these factors contribute. Pair that risk that with increased business risk related to potential supply chain issues and remote access opening up greater risk of fraud and cyberattacks, and you have more than just the risk of coronavirus infection to contend with. Bloomberg warns that corporate treasurers who hedge based on forecast or using volatility-based strategies may get caught up in the current market shifts.

1. How will market volatility affect your ability to manage cash?

Keep an eye on the market, and continue to assess and reassess scenarios and hedging.

2. What impact will fluctuating costs have on your bottom line?

Work closely with the other stakeholders and key members of your greater business team — which may include other treasury department staff, accounts, lawyers, and consultants — to ensure you have the big picture. Having a treasury or bank connectivity solution that provides holistic cash visibility will help you model for various scenarios.

3. Do you have a way to quickly detect any fraudulent payments activity?

While banks have many stringent measures in place, fraudulent activity can still slip through. Look to your technology providers to help you detect and prevent fraud.

Cash Visibility and Liquidity

Another impact of market volatility is an increased need for liquidity. Payments may not be made in the usual cadence, which will impact cash flows. It may be more challenging to access capital markets, funding fees may be higher, and many companies will be suffering from delayed payments.

1. Do you have the assets and liquidity needed to support business requirements in the event of a disruption to funding? If not, how do you prioritize/triage?

This is another area where you should work closely with the other stakeholders and key members of your greater business team, including the CFO, CEO and possibly human resources, not just to determine liquidity, but also to determine ways to address any issues caused as a result of not having the necessary cashflow.

2. Do you have the visibility you need for accurate forecasting?

A treasury or bank connectivity solution that provides holistic cash visibility will help you model for various scenarios.

3. How easy and fast is it to get the data and reports you need for cash management?

The same technology solutions you use for visibility should also help you get the data and reporting you need. Eliminating the need for manual aggregation can also save a significant amount of your (and your team’s) time.

Fides is Here to Help

Regardless of geographic location, number of banks or internal technology infrastructure, Fides provides the cash visibility and insights needed for accurate reporting, cashflow forecasting and cash positioning.

Fides aggregates payments and any other bank messages and executes them through the channels of your choice. This secure, aggregated routing helps reduce transaction costs and also minimizes the volume of transactions, thereby minimizing the fluctuations in fees. Treasury teams can easily monitor and control appropriate cash levels and minimize FX translation risk. And because all payments are managed through the same solution, it’s easy to detect and stop fraudulent activity.

The Fides Multibanking Suite ensures that all clients can gain complete visibility into global transaction data economically, efficiently, and securely. ARSweb and EFTweb are accessible from any location, using technology including two factor authentication (2FA) to ensure security. And all relevant transactions are created, validated, executed and monitored through a single workflow, eliminating the need for manual intervention and ensuring compliance with internal policies.

As an independently operated subsidiary of Credit Suisse, Fides is held to the highest security standards. We operate under strict guidelines with regards to data access and governance policies, and follow industry-leading strategies for business continuity and recovery of critical systems, data and business processes. And we also have a trusted, secure and large infrastructure in place that allows us to confidently say we can keep performing our duties to our customers in even the most challenging of times.

Fides is here to help you — today, tomorrow, and in the future. Please each out with any questions, at any time, to hello@fides.ch.