The role of the treasurer is to maximize a company’s cash inflows and outflows. From the treasurer’s point of view, everything affects liquidity. All can affect cash flow.
Juan Garrido, merchant services product manager, global banking at Bank of America, told Karen Webster that in the retail industry, treasurers are developing an appreciation for merchant services, of how accepting payments changes, of how, ultimately, payments can help companies grow their business.
Along the way, he said, treasurers can help with the development and design of retailers’ products.
Treasurers, he said, “seek to understand exactly how purchases are made, how consumers change – and they need to understand exactly when settlements occur.”
With a range of different payment options (and networks!), with omnichannel transactions growing by leaps and bounds, money can enter these businesses at different times, and the advent of options such as buy now , paying later can add a layer of complexity, Garrido said.
Treasurers are moving firmly away from the age-old job description of simply overseeing the company’s balance sheet. In fact, treasurers are transforming into key decision makers as their companies expand their reach, embrace ever-lived commerce, and seek out new markets.
Nuances are important, he said, when optimizing liquidity, and the combination of treasury and merchant acquiring/services requires understanding whether retailers are going through wholesale channels, for example, or are aimed directly at the consumer.
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With knowledge of merchant services, merchant acquisition, and the details of those services, treasurers can have an ongoing dialogue with the CFO and other business leaders about everything from product development to pricing in through bundled offers that retain and reward consumers.
“These leaders want to make sure that when they’re thinking and talking about strategy, they’re not doing it in a silo,” Garrido remarked to Webster, “and they’re looking for ways to create synergies across the company”.
Contribution of banks
Those treasurers need a little help, however, Garrido said, to better understand traders’ concerns. The opportunity is ripe for financial institutions (including Bank of America) to educate and collaborate with these treasurers, providing them with one-stop shopping for treasury and merchant acquiring services (including card issuance) .
As a result, they can help treasurers anticipate and be proactive about upcoming changes to the business.
“That’s why you have businesses that use the different teams and we at Bank of America have conversations with customers about merchant services. and of the Treasury,” he said. These conversations are happening earlier and earlier in the product development cycle. Not surprisingly, the treasury team has the most direct impact and influence on payouts (and payout optionality).
Prepare for Web3
The bank’s role, according to Garrido, is to leverage the FI’s own merchant acquiring expertise and bring that knowledge to the retailer’s treasury counterparts and merchant team. Integrating data feeds, collection, reporting and analysis, with direct integration into ERP systems, can help simplify the complexities of commerce.
The merchant services group can also gain insight into real-time payments, crypto, virtual cards, and new cash flows that are likely to change consumer-facing commerce in the years to come.
“These retailers,” he said, “are starting to think about multi-currency conversions, new ways to use digital wallets, loyalty and rewards that can be bundled together,” he said.
Looking ahead, he warned that treasurers need to start thinking – if they haven’t already – about Web3 and the impending impact of the metaverse. They will be well served by taking advantage of the full range of FI offers, with a single point of contact. By observing emerging trends, Garrido said, they can decide where to invest time and money — and when — in a quest to maximize returns on investment.
As he told Webster, “I like to think we’re in the golden age of payments, because there’s so much innovation going on.”