The Treasurer June 2003

The X-Factor

The ‘superhero’ status accorded to treasurers on this month’s front cover may have an element of artistic license but it is no fiction that treasurers now find themselves at the forefront of their own, very real, struggle with the ‘dark powers’ of the current economic environment. Treasurers’ dastardly opponents include reduced lines of credit, tight cashflows, an increasingly risk-averse climate and purported failings in corporate governance.

The finance director may be the equivalent of the Metropolis police commissioner but it is the treasurer who is out there on the mean streets of finance, armed with the impenetrable shield of their invaluable ACT qualification and the powerful ray-gun of accumulated experience.

Recent editions of The Treasurer have covered these issues in depth (February: Corporate Governance, March: Financing Alternatives, April: Cash Management, and May: Risk Management). In this edition, we focus on one of the challenges which has the potential to be the green kryptonite for the treasurer. Without showing that treasury can provide tangible value to the company as a whole (whilst still improving internal efficiency and controlling costs), the very existence of the treasury function may be called into question when hard-pressed companies focus on cutting head count and overheads. As part of this Spotlight, we also examine what alternative or additional powers the superhero’s sidekicks, ASPs and agency treasuries, can usefully provide through the outsourcing market.

Partnership is important, even for superheroes. Just look at the X-men or Batman and Robin. I am therefore keen to highlight an exciting development from the ACT. As you will see from p12, we have announced a joint venture for the AMCT with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which is in addition to the existing arrangement with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). This shows the extent to which the ACT is proving attractive to a wider community and is a recognition of the increasingly broad attraction of treasury.

To enable treasurers to benefit from support in numbers, the ACT is intending to hold its own annual members’ event next year. The conference is aimed at developing the profession through education and the exchange of leading edge views and is designed by treasurers, for treasurers. More details will follow in due course but you can read about our intentions in Richard Raeburn’s piece on p56.

Briefly, an apology to fans of Bottom Line by JF. Due to a lack of space, we have had to leave it out in May and June. He will return in July. Finally, I hope as ever that you find that The Treasurer is a useful tool in your armoury – if not, you need to let us know. Our work is never done!

MIKE HENIGAN
Managing Editor

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