“Using humans as interfaces between systems is not efficient”

VIDEO | Getting the information flows connected is a key challenge at treasuries. A panel in the Treasury 360° Nordic conference took a deep look into the promise – and hurdles – that technical solutions offer in the risk and cash management space. Watch the 20-minute session here.

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Labelled “Cash, risk, and tech, tech, tech”, the panel was made up of …
Lena Myklebust, Head of Cash Management Infrastructure, Equinor,
Magnus Attoff, Head of Digital Transformation & Financial Risk Management, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, and
Mervi Piirainen, Director, Head of Treasury Operations, Stora Enso.
Moderator was Michael Bach, Senior Manager, Risk Advisory, Deloitte

Mervi Piirainen summed up the imperative for better system integration: “Using humans as interfaces between systems is not an efficient use of their capabilities,” she said.


For the final round of discussion, Michael Bach asked the panelists what achievement they would most like to accomplish in the coming twelve months. Both Lena Myklebust and Mervi Piirainen pointed to the importance of tapping banks and other providers for data, via APIs, into an independent management system under the corporation’s own control.

“If we look at the technology, and maybe especially at our APIs as such, we really want to have a bank agnostic solution. I think that’s the main point. So, that may be a challenge to the banks,” says Lena Myklebust.

“Because now we see a lot of good solutions from the banks but it will be really good – as a large corporate with many different banks that we operate with – to have one solution for that. Yes, much more unified, and also maybe with even more advanced analytics so we can use more instant reporting, balance reporting etc, and probably better forecasting as well. That’s something we work on all the time.”

Standardisation is lacking

“I have to support Lena here on bank agnostic solutions,” Mervi Piirainen filled in.

“As much as we think our banks make excellent interfaces, we’d like to have everything in our treasury management system and access all the data there in real time – instead of having to find out ‘which token?’, ‘what was my PIN code?’, ‘where is that one?’, ‘oh, the battery’s out on this one’ … So it’s very simple but I have to say that there is lack of standardisation that we are fighting with currently. The banks are in different stages of their open banking API journey, just like every treasury is in a different stage of their tech journey.”

Magnus Attoff pointed out that an all-covering solutions might be over-ambitious. Initially, the focus needs to be on getting the big flows right.

“We have almost 100 banks, and a lot of our smaller banks, in small countries, have never heard of APIs. And unfortunately, the larger global banks retract from a lot of these smaller countries. So, but we are happy if we can get APIs with our main cash management banks, I would say, as a first step. And then we have to live with having cache buffers in the others.”

Treasury 360° Nordic 2022, on 9 June, gathered nearly 300 delegates at Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport, and 100 online.
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