A broad process makeover – all led by in-house teams at the treasury rather than consultants, and building on standard or open-source software rather than depending on solution providers. This is the project that earned the treasury of German logistics giant Deutsche Bahn and its head of treasury operations Gerd Berghold the European Association of Corporate Treasurers Award 2021.
“Our approach was quite different from what the others did,” Gerd Berghold concludes when comparing his winning project to most of the other 30-or-so contestants.
For example, using open-source Python libraries, the liquidity forecasting errors could be reduced by one third. (Click the white dot at 9:20 in the video.) All in all, the transformation project has included a broad range of technologies: robotic process automation, electronic signatures, new analytic technologies, text mining, web crawling, and dashboards are just some of the many new tools put into use.
Filter by in-house feasibility
Gerd Berghold carefully notes that the in-house route is not necessarily better for all. Every treasury must assess that by its own situation. Yet, Deutsche Bahn decided to start by categorising improvement ideas into either of two columns depending on whether external providers were necessary or not. And this simple method seems to have opened the door for good things.
For the EACT Award, Europe’s national associations of corporate treasurers each nominate a candidate for the single all-European prize. They are scored on their degrees of innovation, reach, ESG impact, perfection ambition – and wow factor.
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