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Sirkku Markula Kone Treasury 360 Helsinki

How Kone gave its global treasury a central lift

Being local globally is reality for Finland’s elevator-making giant Kone, delivering 500 elevators a day around the world. Yet a tougher central grip on the group’s cash and banking has proven successful, group treasurer Sirkku Markula told the delegates at Treasury 360 Helsinki.

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“There have been a few surprises. One is how much information banks have asked for locally around the world and how hard we have pushed back. In 95 percent of the cases that information was not needed,” said Sirkku Markula, sharing her experience of the makeover of her corporate treasury function across the globe.

Taking stronger control of local cash across the world was one purpose, making sure the cash was not kept in local buffers as it had previously often been. In return, the central treasury in Espoo, near Helsinki, would promise to provide all the liquidity needed according to forecasts.

Gave great savings

“We have achieved great savings, and the centralised process has proven very efficient.
But units still need to stop shadowing the work we do. Our purpose is not to have two people doing the same thing, but to replace what has been done locally.

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That can be perceived as a challenge to business units around the world, who seek to protect their headcount.

“There will always be the resistance that countries will say ’this will not work for me’.
You need to repeat, even with smart people you must have the same discussion with the same person many times for it to sink in,” says Sirkku Markula.

“You really need the courage that this will work, but you also need the matter experts who can give you that courage. Then, once the change is decided, you need to be firm and not compromise on it.”

The agenda for Treasury 360 Helsinki, at Pörssitalo on 3 December can be found here, and our editorial coverage will be gathered here.

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