As corporate treasurers oversee ever more complex payment systems, many are discovering a key connection with the teams that manage the company’s merchant strategy and operations. “Historically, marketing or IT teams may have looked after merchant services,” says Kevin Baker, merchant specialist executive with Merchant Services at Bank of America. Yet as companies become more digital and explore new channels through which to sell, it becomes increasingly important for treasurers to work with other internal teams focused on consumer payments as these teams can provide key insights and comprehensive data relating to customer purchasing patterns, foreign currency exchange, fraud protection and other services, he says.
One key driver of this shift: From confectionary manufacturers to carmakers, “global companies are beginning to explore selling directly to consumers,” Baker adds. As that happens, treasurers find themselves involved in responsibilities that span beyond traditional areas of oversight such as payroll, supplier payments, and receivables to monitor flows generated by thousands of individual consumers. “Now, you’ve got new payment flows, refunds, and reconciliations to think about,” he says. What’s more, the treasury department is expected to be the ‘payments and transactions center of excellence,’ offering expertise and best practices companywide.