People fear robots will take over the world, but in some areas, humans should gladly let them take over. For instance, take the back office, please! Since back-office processes are often dreary, repetitive and routine, ’bots are welcome to them. Unfortunately, while it’s a good idea, the promise of robotic process automation or RPA hasn’t been realized quite yet and the return on investment isn’t there yet, either.
And on page 1 of the December issue of iTreasurer, we delve into some of the reasons why. “RPA is so hot that people want to implement it without thinking it through,” said a member of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group at a recent meeting of the group. This member suggested that had RPA been introduced a few years ago, he could see it “really catching on.” But right now, companies have solved for the cost issue by outsourcing to lower-cost countries. “Highly educated, low-cost workers in some countries can still get these mundane financial tasks done quickly and more cheaply.”
In iTreasurer’s Anticipated Exposures section are discussions of talent management and the challenge of keeping star workers as well as a look at how nearly 10 years after the financial crisis, bank stress tests are still evolving. For talent, many treasuries grapple with rotations—they’re loved for the new blood they can bring, but sometimes those rotating find a more attractive stop than treasury in their rotation. One idea was to make treasury the last stop. In terms of stress tests, the Fed’s testing has weighed heavily on bank resources; for NeuGroup’s Bank Treasurers’ Peer Group (BankTPG), these tests have been onerous and as such, have been a regular topic of many BankTPG meetings since 2008.
Also in the December issue we take a look at one of the takeaways from NeuGroup founder Joseph Neu’s recent trip to Asia, where he helped facilitate NeuGroup’s two Asia peer groups. One takeaway was that there is a need for a more robust shared service center. This was underscored by a NeuGroup AsiaCFO member presentation that detailed a project to insource its SSC activities, including the business process outsourcing of a recent acquisition. “They found that bringing SSC activities in-house facilitated better end-to-end coordination of processes from the business end as well as finance,” Mr. Neu writes.
Coming MiFID II regulations is the topic of a story starting on page 7. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) has been the cornerstone of the European Union financial services law since 2007. But in response to the global crisis of 2008 and a variety of G20 initiatives, MiFID now becomes MiFID II and will be applied to cover non-equity instruments to extend transparency by the introduction of new pre- and post-trade reporting requirements on trading venues.
Beginning on page 15, Bloomberg users describe the ways in which they employ various <GO> commands to view pricing simultaneously from a variety of banks and identify the best offers, examine the current and historical performance of investment portfolios or look up data on specific loans.
Finally on page 19, iTreasurer looks at how the move away from the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, could create a fractured market with no consensus reference rate.
For over 20 years, iTreasurer has delivered intelligence for treasurers. Based on exclusive access to senior treasury executives who are members of The NeuGroup Network of treasury peer groups, iTreasurer takes their real-world experience to produce articles, case studies and reports that are specifically meaningful to treasury best practice. www.iTreasurer.com.