Why Your Treasury Tech Stack is a Competitive Differentiator in the Job Market

Written by Jason Mountford
February 23, 2024

The past few years has seen the labor market undergo its biggest upheaval in decades. Companies are finding it more difficult to access the talent they need to grow, while at the same time dealing with an existing workforce that is hungry for development and new career opportunities. 

Finance and treasury teams require specialist knowledge and expertise, so it’s no surprise that they’re feeling the impact of this broader issue. In fact, the 2023 AFP Compensation Report found that almost 60% of treasury and finance teams are facing a talent shortage.

With budgets being stretched tighter due to the general economic environment, simply increasing the comp on offer isn’t necessarily an option. Not to mention that this offers limited value to the business outside of the individual input from the new hire.

But while the right compensation is obviously a major factor in attracting and retaining talent, there are broader actions that finance leaders can take to attract and keep the best talent. 

Specifically, providing tools and technology that helps the team do their best work, and foster their professional development.

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The Finance Talent Shortage

The talent shortage facing almost 60% of the 1,408 finance professionals surveyed in the AFP’s report, comes despite the fact that salaries increased more in the previous year than they have in the eight years prior.

The tight labor market makes it more expensive to pay for the right talent, but it goes beyond the individual compensation package for a new team member. It makes finding the right people more time consuming, as well as more expensive. That equates to greater resources in the sourcing and interview process, as well making headcount planning more difficult.

And let’s not forget the impact this drawn out process can have on existing team members. An open position on a team means their work has to be distributed across everyone else, which negatively impacts their productivity and morale. The irony is that taking time to find the right employees for your team can mean your existing employees start looking to move too.

Unfortunately, many finance professionals are actively looking to do just that. A 2023 joint study from AICPA & CIMA and PwC suggests that over half (53%) of finance professionals were considering changing jobs over the following 12 months. 

That’s far above the 15% attrition rate which is generally considered manageable for an organization.

Talent In Search Of Development

One of the key trends in these reports is that finance professionals, particularly those in younger demographics, are actively seeking avenues for professional development. The lack of opportunities in this aspect is a key driver for their wandering eyes, as well as a differentiator when deciding where they want to work next.

The AICPA & CIMA/PwC report showed that for 63% of those surveyed, promotion and career advancement was the main motivation behind a move, ahead of an increase in salary. Even more telling, of the respondents who said that upskilling programs do exist in their company, only 17% wanted to leave their current roles.

It’s clear that if finance executives want to attract and retain the best talent, they need to offer ample opportunities for development. As Jakub Bejnarowicz, Regional Director for Europe at AICPA & CIMA, says: 

“Workers need to be given opportunities to innovate and automate their pain points; finance teams must be equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing environment; and companies should create a sense of belonging and empowerment with their employees if they want to retain talent and drive their organization forward.”

How Prioritizing Digital Transformation Helps Attract And Keep Talent

Far from bad news, this is an exciting opportunity for finance and treasury leaders. The finance function is changing, with new technologies offering the ability to automate manual tasks, reduce risk by eliminating data transcription errors, and freeing up staff to spend more time on high value, strategic work.

Not only can prioritizing digital transformation help finance and treasury operate in a more efficient and strategic way, but it will also provide the added benefit of helping to attract and retain talent. The resources allocated to digital transformation can be used to improve workflow and data integration across the company, and then that same workflow and use of technology can be held up as a key competitive differentiator in the hiring process.

And let’s not forget the subsequent retention benefits of integrating this technology. A finance and treasury department that runs smoothly and operates efficiently is an attractive place to work. Behind career development and a higher salary, the third most common reason employees are looking to change jobs is “lacking a sense of purpose.”

That’s an understandable way to feel if your day is spent copying and pasting data from one spreadsheet to another, manually sorting through thousands of line items to find a single rogue transaction, or trying to work out why your financial model is broken. 

Removing that busy work and redirecting the time to strategic analysis makes it far more likely that finance professionals are going to find purpose in what they do.  

How to Build a Tech Stack That Attracts Talent

Maximizing this opportunity means being focused on the types of technology that are integrated into the business. Any new process of software is going to introduce some level of disruption, so it’s important that this is minimized where possible, and limited to implementations that will move the needle the most.

The digital skills that finance professionals are most interested in developing their knowledge on include data visualization (82%), AI and machine learning (81%) and database management systems (67%).

It’s no coincidence that these are the technologies which are driving some of the biggest disruptions in the finance and treasury space. Skilled workers understand that in order to boost their career potential, they need to develop knowledge and skills on technology that is going to grow in relevance in coming years. 

When finance leaders are looking to build a tech stack that both improves their workflow and attracts and retains talent, it’s these aspects which should be front of mind.

Data Visualization

Spreadsheets are simply not enough anymore. Younger generations in particular have grown up with apps and dashboards and systems that are clean, intuitive and easy to use in every aspect of their lives. From personal banking to ordering a cab to booking a hotel, there is an expectation for software that automates the technical aspects behind the scenes.

This expectation is bleeding into their professional lives. But this isn’t just about making things look prettier than a black and white spreadsheet. Modern treasury technology allows users to categorize, review and forecast their data in ways that haven’t been possible before. It means less time spent on manually updating spreadsheets or building models from scratch, and more time spent on delving into why the data looks the way it does and how to improve financial performance.

Trovata is a perfect example for treasury teams. Traditionally, gaining oversight of a company’s cash position involved logging in to multiple banking portals and manually updating spreadsheets. By the time the task was done, the information was likely to already be out of date.

Now, with the use of open banking APIs, treasury teams can instantly see their consolidated cash position on a single dashboard. Not only that, but they can break down the data by currency, geographic location or business unit in seconds, as well as see trends, anomalies and forecasts.

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AI and Machine Learning

It should go without saying that AI and machine learning are technologies that are near the top of everyone’s list. Where data visualization makes it easier for users to see all of a company’s financial data, AI helps them interrogate and analyze it better and faster.

Chatbots like Trovata AI gives users the ability to literally talk to their financials. Need to know why revenue was down in Europe in Q2? Just ask, and the AI can find out why. Want to forecast the financial impact of a 7% increase in marketing spend for next year? Ask the question and get an updated projection instantly.

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AI is a powerful tool, but it takes time to understand how to leverage it the best way. Workers with the knowledge and experience in using it in a practical, day to day workflow, can be more productive and efficient, giving them a major competitive advantage. It’s no surprise that many finance professionals are itching to integrate it into their tech stack.

Database Management Systems

This might be third on the list, but modern database management systems are the foundation on which all other modern treasury and finance tech is built. To efficiently visualize data or interact with it using AI, there needs to be a robust system to collect that data accurately. 

There are many different ways this is done. At Trovata we refer to it as the ‘data lake’ which connects all of your sources of financial information through the use of open banking APIs.

A data lake creates a centralized repository for all of your financial data. It eliminates the need to login to multiple banking portals or third party platforms to gather each component of your financial information, and instead collates all of this in one place.

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This process is facilitated through APIs, which work as the pipes that carry the information from the original data source to the centralized data lake. The benefit of this process isn’t just that all the information is in one place, but that it’s collated automatically and in real time. 

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That means no chance for transcription errors or using the wrong version of a spreadsheet, and access to data that is real time accurate, not days or even weeks old.

Trovata: The Tech Solution for Strategic Finance and Treasury Teams

The Trovata platform combines these fundamental components of a modern treasury tech stack into a single platform. The data lake and sophisticated visualization and forecasting tools allow teams to see their financial data easier than ever, and analyze it in more ways than has ever been possible.

But while analysis is becoming an increasingly important aspect of strategic finance, there is still practical work that needs to be done. Vendors and staff need to be paid and transactions need to be reconciled. Trovata’s use of open banking APIs isn’t limited to just seeing financial data, it can also be used to initiate payments too. That saves teams from having to initiate these payments from multiple portals, allowing for total cash management on a single platform.

Arguably most importantly, the entire platform is built to be cloud-native, rather than cloud-based. Traditional TMS platforms are built for physical servers, with simple remote access tacked on later. These cloud-based systems lack flexibility, with updates requiring substantial backtesting and service shutdown to implement. The end result is software that moves slowly to changing needs or new technology.

Cloud-native technology, on the other hand, is built to be agile. Updates are pushed on average every two weeks, rather than twice a year with a cloud-based platform. We work closely with our customers to ensure they have the features and capabilities they need, with the ability to adapt as fast as their needs do.

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If you’d like to learn more about how Trovata can improve your finance and treasury workflow, while creating a more engaged, skilled and satisfied workforce, book a demo today

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