Treasury Outlook with Seek´s Eddie Collis

Eddie Collis, Group Finance Director at Seek, shares views and visions in an interview with Reval.

1) What was the most challenging project in your treasury department in 2013?

The ongoing roll-out of our new treasury system has probably been our main project in 2013. So far, the project is progressing very well. As we have additional internal resources on board now, we should be able to accelerate the roll-out to our overseas locations and the implementation of the general ledger interface in 2014.

2) What is the biggest risk treasury is facing today? How are you mitigating this risk?

I think the main challenge in treasury has not changed. It has always been difficult to predict which way things will go, thus the treasurer has to be prepared to manage tail risks related to currency, interest rate or liquidity scenarios, simulating how things could go wrong. Even though there is a lot of liquidity in the market today, this might change quite quickly. At Seek, we are preparing as best as we can for unpredicted shocks to the system.

3) What will be the biggest drivers for change in treasury in 2014?

Market volatility has increased significantly in emerging markets, but also in the U.S. and Europe. Fortunately, information on macroeconomic developments is available today in higher quality than years ago. However, as Seek is headquartered in Australia and has operations in New Zealand, China, South East Asia, Brazil and Mexico, policy changes in any of those markets will affect the monetary system. I personally expect the liquidity environment to change and bring new challenges upon our treasury team.

4) Which strategic initiatives will you focus on in 2014? How will technology support you to reach your goals?

Due to the continued growth of Seek´s international business, it became more challenging to consolidate financial data on an enterprise level and gain visibility into cash flows in different currencies and related exposures. Consequently, we started implementing Reval´s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Treasury and Risk Management (TRM) solution in 2013.Today, the platform is live at Melbourne headquarters and has been rolled out to New Zealand, Brazil and South East Asia. In 2014, the roll out to China and the integration of the general ledger will follow. Leveraging Reval, we are able to increase efficiency and transparency in our treasury and risk workflows. The consolidated financial data base will allow us to take our financial reporting to the next level.

5) What technological innovations would help you to evolve your treasury function in the next 3 years?

As we have recently become a multinational company, there’s probably a heap of technology larger corporates and banks are using that we have not leveraged in the past because it has not been applicable for us. Although those technologies probably are not considered innovations, they will be new to us and we will benefit from using them. For example, these would be SWIFT technology for payments and of course our SaaS TRM solution.