Peter Matza previews the ACT Middle East Annual Summit 2017

Corporate treasurers and finance professionals everywhere around the world are asking themselves the same questions: what can I do to help my organisation or business survive and thrive in the modern global economy? How do I integrate my financial approach with the needs of the business?

In 2017, at ACT conferences in the UK, Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong, treasurers have come together to question, debate and learn with their colleagues how best to answer this question.

Now in its eighth year, the ACT Middle East Annual Summit on 21-22 November offers treasurers from across the region their local platform – and an unrivalled opportunity to have their say.

Over those eight years there’s no doubting the tremendous growth in treasury as a recognised discipline in major companies – public and private – as our Middle East Treasury Awards, which showcase the developments, innovation and excellence in treasury management in the region, testify.

 Middle East treasurers must keep themselves aware of what’s happening in the outside world that can impact their business 

Of course, each area has its own challenges and uncertainties: political, economic or social. The Middle East business environment is no different – facing change in demographics, social liberalisation, the impact of technology, transition from traditional business norms and even the introduction of public taxation via VAT in some countries.

This makes it even more important for treasurers and finance professionals to share their experiences and exchange good practice with their peers.

In reality, though, treasurers know their job is a ‘game of two halves’. First, what can they control directly? And second, what do they have to worry about from outside their businesses?

Middle East treasurers and finance professionals know that inside their organisations they have to manage a whole range of issues. For example:

  • Who knows about your cross-border payments and cash flows in Africa, to the US, to China?
  • What FX and interest rate exposures do I have?
  • How can I access local and regional capital markets, conventional or Islamic?
  • What systems and treasury technology will work for me?

While these are key operational questions, treasurers must also address (and answer) a range of managerial challenges:

  • How do I make sure I have the right people with the right qualifications in the right roles, and where do I find them?
  • How do I make sure the business knows what’s important financially?
  • What does the board and senior management need to know and when?

Workshops and plenary sessions

The Middle East Annual Summit offers tremendous scope to find the best solution with workshops on payments, trade finance, treasury systems and dynamic FX management all delivered by experienced treasurers and market experts.

By contrast, in a business and political environment that’s dynamic, Middle East treasurers must keep themselves aware of what’s happening in the outside world that can impact their business – for example:

  • What’s the impact of new financial regulation and accounting standards, regionally and globally?
  • How do I keep myself up to date with the latest in treasury and business management?
  • How do I keep my investors, banks (local and international) and advisers happy?

Oh – and how do I keep my CFO happy, too?

We have all that covered with plenary sessions, panel discussions (including a CFO panel packed with experience and insight) and an exhibition and networking space for information exchange and building new relationships with services providers and other treasurers.

Treasurers in the Middle East have worked hard to develop the profession as a key part of the success of businesses both new and old. The ACT Middle East Annual Summit is your opportunity to contribute to that success.

I’m looking forward to hearing what’s on your agenda and how you and your team can work with the ACT network to the benefit of the profession and, in turn, the economy, in the region.

About the author

Peter Matza is ACT speakers’ chair and co-chair of the ACT Middle East Annual Summit.

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This article was taken from the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of The Treasurer magazine. For more great insights, log in to view the full issue or sign up for eAffiliate membership

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