What's Neu - News from the The NeuGroup Network of Peer Groups

Blog entry
By bshegog, October 13, 2017
The Corporate ERM Group meeting hosted by Parker Hannifin on November 9-10 in Cleveland will feature timely insights from corporate professionals, academics and other experts on critical risk topics, and will offer NeuGroup members the chance to discuss challenges and opportunities they face in this increasingly complex field. 
 
Check out these highlights from the agenda:
 
Regulation and Risk - The Banks’ View: KeyBank’s chief risk officer will share details and perspective on how his bank and the financial industry have navigated the changed, tightened regulatory environment in the wake of the financial crisis. What lessons does the experience hold for non-banks on how risk groups can better position organizations strategically amid an uncertain regulatory backdrop? 
 
Understanding Blockchain’s Risk Profile: Proponents of blockchain technology tout its security benefits, but some financial and risk professionals are wary of being too ahead of the curve. What’s the risk-reward offered by blockchain? We’ll get the views of Symbiont president Caitlin Long about the selling points of blockchain and her company’s technology, which promises to reduce risk and eliminate tampering in financial transactions and save money and time. Long, who worked at Morgan Stanley, also shared in a patent for terminating pension plans through mutual annuitization. 
 
Natural Disaster Risk - Harvey, Maria and Beyond: This season’s rash of hurricanes makes clear both the suffering and devastation brought by natural disasters as well as the difficulty of effective risk planning. Climate change and other factors are taking a toll on communities, governments and corporations tasked with anticipating unpredictable risks and dealing with the aftermath of calamities. Members will share their thoughts and strategies on managing financial risks that seem likely to grow in the years ahead. 
 
Odds and Ends: Members will discuss the growing link between risk and strategy and the challenges facing risk professionals fighting to play a greater role in a company’s strategic mission with one of the leading academic researchers on the topic. And we’ll discuss the just-released COSO framework on ERM with one of the project’s key advisors. What does this new framework mean, and why does it matter? 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By afriberg, October 12, 2017
The Assistant Treasurers’ Leadership Group will meet in San Jose, California, in November to take on topics that concentrate on the treasury organization, maximizing the usefulness of existing systems and timely reviews of FX hedging programs. 
 
Here are some other key sessions:
 
Future Treasury Organization and Talent: What does a cutting edge, value-adding treasury department look like now? What is the end state vision for treasury transformation? This session will include: current thinking on treasury in key global regions; redrawing the line between treasury and shared services; headcount adjustments due to automation and digitalization; and key talent and skills needed when treasury goes digital. 
 
Freeing Trapped Data – Cash Flow and Exposure Forecasting Using Enterprise Systems Data: One of the biggest treasury frustrations is the inability to get the right data out of enterprise and bank systems in a timely fashion to inform forecasting and support better decisions on cash and exposure management. How do we free trapped data?
 
Changes to FX Hedging Practices: Structural USD strength and reversal, global rate inflection points, updates to hedge accounting and geopolitical concerns have many MNCs reviewing FX hedging practices.
 
We’ll also tackle capital structure and planning for US tax reform and offer up a treasury excellence and innovation showcase.
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By afriberg, October 11, 2017
 
The Tech20 Treasurers’ Peer Group will meet in Sausalito, California, in early November to tackle a full agenda that includes a panel on acquisition and spin-off financing with members and bankers from BNP Paribas. 
 
Here are some other key sessions:
 
Risk Management – FX Hedging and Industry Standard Risk Management Policy: The session will kick off with a member seeking input on what constitutes an industry standard risk management policy and how he can bring his program up to date. FX programs are challenged with new (but most say better) rules for hedge accounting, and trends in cost cutting, digitalization and the USD cycle. 
 
Capital Allocation – A Continuing Conundrum: In the 2017 tax and political environment, how do members stand on the capital allocation conundrum? How much should go to buybacks, dividends, M&A, etc.? How do you decide? And who influences the decision? A member will discuss the capital allocation issue while another will address the calculation of the company hurdle rate and the factors influencing it.
 
Growing Up and Transforming Treasury – Member Case: We’ll hear how one of the tech members describes the journey so far to scale treasury and align its mission and service delivery with the company’s evolving growth strategy and business model. What can this member’s experience teach other companies to do and to avoid?
 
Another session will tackle tax and treasury synergies and collaboration, and an external speaker will present a blockchain use case.
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By thoward, October 05, 2017
 
Members of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group will get together in early November to exchange views on a wide range of topics, including cyber risks to the cloud and data as well as systems implementation audits.
 
Other topics will include:
 
Risk assessments. Who does an annual risk assessment and who does a quarterly one? Members will compare and contrast strategies and processes and discuss how each company arrives at the top risks. What are members using to glean this info? An online survey? Interviews? What questions do they ask?
 
RPA audits. Artificial intelligence continues to advance and provide new and innovative applications for corporate treasury that holds the promise of reducing human error and costs. With that in mind, many companies are thinking about robots for tasks that don’t need a lot of brain power.
 
Post-acquisition audits. Acquisitions are always exciting times for companies. But a sober review of what happened and what happens next is always important. This can inform management (for the next acquisition) how events, decisions, communications and actions surrounding the merger were handled. What could have been done differently to make the integration easier and what additional actions remain unfinished?
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By jneu, October 05, 2017
NeuGroup thanks everyone who participated at the tMega 2017 H2 on September 26-27 in Cupertino, especially Apple for hosting the meeting at Apple Park, the company’s immense and impressive new headquarters. Here’s what you missed. 
 
Inside Apple Park. Members got one of the first looks by outsiders at the inside of Apple’s still-unfinished, future workplace: a 175-acre plot that’s home to a huge, four-storied, glass and steel circular building powered entirely by renewable energy set in a natural landscape with thousands of trees. Our tour included an airy cafeteria and the 1,000-seat, underground Steve Jobs Theater, where Apple unveiled the newest iPhones and other products about two weeks before tMega’s arrival. Members marveled at the tremendous engineering and construction achievement of making Jobs’s vision for Apple Park a reality.
 
Keeping Pace with the Tax Reform Beat. The moving target of tax reform remains a core topic for treasurers tasked with planning for something that remains far from certain. One member said his company’s plans through March 2018 assume no tax reform but “if there is, that’s a bonus. We all are very hopeful they’re going to get something done but we can’t plan they are going to get something done.” Indeed, on the day the White House released a “unified framework” that calls for a 20% corporate rate, one tax and policy expert told the group Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell has lost his magic and that the odds of broad tax reform passing by next summer are less than 50:50.
 
Hedge Accounting Changes. Members discussed the implications of FASB’s long-awaited update to hedge accounting standards, unveiled in late August with a mandatory effective date beginning in January 2019. Whether to adopt the standards early is among the questions now facing treasury. A bank presented the group with the most significant changes, a list of positive and negative “game changers” and some recommendations. The analysis included the observation that companies still must attest to a hedge being “highly effective” to qualify for hedge accounting; but for cash flow and net investment hedges, FASB has eliminated the requirement to measure and report hedge ineffectiveness.  
 
Pension Liability De-Risking. Members enjoyed a lively session on improving pension asset-liability balances and minimizing the risk exposures companies face from their defined benefit plans (de-risking). One presenter detailed his company’s commitment to move away from equity and extend fixed income as its service cost as percentage of Projected Benefit Obligation (PBO) declines; he asked the group for thoughts on the ideal glide path. The goal: to move fixed income allocation from 20% to 40%. Another discussed waiting for interest rates to rise before further de-risking the company’s plan as it tries to determine how quickly to “move up glidepath,” as his slide put it. Other topics discussed included annuitization, terminating and freezing plans (“a hot topic,” one member said) and the resulting amount of resistance and “noise” companies encounter from shutting down or limiting pension plans. 
 
Cyber Attack: Real-Life Lessons Learned. The group also heard a member describe the cyber attack that shut down his firm’s worldwide IT systems in June and infected half the company’s laptops and desktops, leaving treasury without the ability to access its TMS (which was not compromised) as the quarter closed. The department had a business continuity plan but did not envision losing access to laptops. The company was forced to buy new laptops, use personal computers and to use smartphones. 
 
If you would like more information about NeuGroup’s tMega, visit this link. The group’s next meeting will be in New York City March 13-14, 2018. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By thoward, October 03, 2017
Not only is honesty the best policy but it also might be best practice for fattening up tax coffers, too. That’s the idea behind the United Kingdom’s new requirement for UK companies of a certain size to post their tax strategies for all to see. Also, should multinationals feel safe in submitting their tax reports to the revenue authorities in the countries in which they do business? These are just a couple of the topics discussed in this month’s iTreasurer.
 
First, the honesty policy. As part of UK’s Finance Act 2016, companies with a substantial presence in the country are required to post to the internet on an annual basis a public document that describes their organization’s tax strategy regarding their UK operations. This they feel will push companies onto the straight and narrow and thus increase revenues to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs strongbox. If it works, watch out. Other countries might just give it a try. And the potential is high if it turns out to be that easy, suggest Heléna Klumpp, a partner with Ivins, Phillips and Barker, and “perhaps greatest in the United States, where tax legislation is a distinct possibility in the coming months.”
 
In the Anticipated Exposures section on pages 4-5, iTreasurer takes a look at reducing bank accounts, how some companies are neglecting their investment policies, which means missed opportunities and possibly losses. Also a look at how all issuers are getting extra friendly terms from their investors.
 
In “OECD: Don’t Abuse Tax Payer Info,” on page 6, companies have been expressing concern that their tax information, which they must report under direction of the OECD’s BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting) Action 13 (part of the 15-point action plan), might be abused or otherwise used not in accordance with the Action’s intent. This worry was strong enough that the OECD issued a guidance on what constitutes abuse and lays out conditions and consequences if any country abuses the tax info. This means, according to the OECD, appropriate use is restricted to:
 
• High-level transfer pricing risk assessment;
 
• Assessment of other base erosion and profit shifting related risks;
 
• Economic and statistical analysis, where appropriate.
 
So, it sounds like companies will have to keep their fingers crossed.
 
There are two peer group meetings in this month’s issue, one from the NeuGroup’s Assistant Treasurers’ Leadership Group (ATLG) and the other from the European Treasurers’ Peer Group (EuroTPG). ATLG members tackled tax reform and ongoing Obamacare repeal efforts. In addition they learned about the pluses of FASB’s new hedge accounting and got detailed hedging strategies related to debt issuance.
 
At EuroTPG members discussed the impact of global politics on their business environment and how despite an improving global economy, increasing emerging markets risks need to be addressed with a robust risk management process.
 
Finally on page 15, frequent issuers who are members of the NeuGroup’s Treasurers’ Group of Thirty Large Cap Edition, were advised on some strategies for issuing in the current environment. One suggestion was to listen to the market and be responsive, but not overly so and not become too predictable in issue cadence.
 
For over 20 years, iTreasurer has delivered intelligence for treasurers. Based on exclusive access to senior treasury executives who are members of The NeuGroup Network of treasury peer groups, iTreasurer takes their real-world experience to produce articles, case studies and reports that are specifically meaningful to treasury best practice. www.iTreasurer.com.
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Blog entry
By wchan, September 29, 2017
Asia Treasury Peer Group members meet on October 24-25 at the offices of Emerson Electric Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong to discuss the city’s strengths as a financial hub; assess the relative merits and competitive advantages of local and regional Asian banks; and to hear one dominant e-commerce company discuss how treasury can better partner with business units and another e-commerce titan describe its treasury operation and approach to various agenda items. 
 
Here’s a closer look at what’s on tap:
 
The case for Hong Kong. NeuGroup is pleased to have the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Hong Kong’s de facto central bank, along with EY, discuss reasons corporations should consider Hong Kong as their corporate treasury hub in Asia. These include a robust offshore renminbi market, deep capital markets, an extensive network of banks, a favorable tax environment and an abundance of professionals. Members will gain insight on Hong Kong’s merits versus Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. 
 
Banking on Asian banks. Members will weigh the relative strategic and operational strengths of Asian banks compared to global peers who have retreated from regional Asian markets. The discussion will take note of the heavy investments local and regional Asian banks have made in infrastructure and product lines and their acquisitions of Asian business lines from global banks. We’ll talk about the overall value proposition of Asian banks and seek to give insight on which banks stand out in which regions and in specific products and services amid growing regulatory complexity.
 
Inside treasury at two e-commerce giants. Members, in separate sessions, will get an inside look at the Asian treasury operations of two of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies. One session will focus on how treasury can be a proactive partner of operational units while balancing risk and business opportunities. The potential value of these presentations and the unique perspectives on offer are one reason NeuGroup extends an open invitation to any of our members considering a regional expansion of treasury into Asia to join us for this meeting in Hong Kong. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
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Blog entry
By thoward, September 27, 2017
The tax reform calculus, a FiREapps road test and why FX unpredictability pays. 
 
Thank you to all the members and attendees of the FXMPG2 2017 H2 meeting in Palo Alto, and to the team from HP for hosting us! Day 1 started with a joint session with NeuGroup’s Assistant Treasurers’ Group of Thirty (AT30). Here are some highlights and key takeaways from the event, sponsored by 360T Deutsche Börse Group.
 
Driving improved cash forecasting with FiREapps. One member led a session on FX systems and process flow by describing her company’s use of FiREapps. The company’s goal: to improve the predictability of EBITDA, increase currency exposure forecast accuracy, increase exposure transparency and reduce the cost of hedging. The member explained the role played by templates FiREapps helped design that business units must populate with information on the type of exposures, relevant currency pairs, vehicle types, invoice dates and other information. FiREapps then transforms the invoice exposure forecast into a cash flow forecast upon which the company’s hedging forecast and actual hedges are based. Ultimately, a report with all outstanding hedges is delivered automatically to FiREapps applications via a scheduled process within the company’s TMS. 
 
• Takeaway: Digital solutions can help impose forecast discipline on MNC business units. FX management systems like FiREapps, when combined with support by business units and senior management and effectively integrated within an MNC’s TMS, can improve the ability of treasury to forecast important exposures and take appropriate hedging action in response to changes in global currency markets and business volumes. 
 
Don’t be so predictable in your trades. Sponsor 360T, in a session on best execution, told members to vary their trades with banks to get the best pricing. “Corporations are at a natural disadvantage in FX trading, as their activity is economically motivated and predictable by nature. Masking this predictability, and working to overcome this disadvantage, is crucial,” 360T said in its presentation. One of the slides showed significant “price slippage” in a case study where 360T’s analysis suggests that a client cost itself roughly $350k over 14 months on EUR/USD spot trades alone. The company’s data suggests varying the time of trades and making two-way price requests breaks the trading execution pattern, resulting in better price discovery and savings.
 
• Takeaway: It pays to be unpredictable when it comes to managing your recurring currency trades. 360T data suggests predictability in trading time and method puts treasury clients at a disadvantage that can be addressed by varying when orders are requested and by changing the type and number of bids requested. 
 
What GOP strife means for tax reform. AT30 sponsor HSBC presented the combined groups with a reality check of how dissension among Republicans is undermining President Trump’s ability to score legislative victories, despite the party’s hold on the presidency, the House and the Senate. But here’s the key takeaway for treasury: HSBC remains bullish on tax reform, asserting it’s going to get done, in part because it’s a “must accomplish” priority, noting Trump plans to visit 13 states in the next couple months to push tax overhaul. The bank argues tax law change can happen in 2018 despite skepticism about passing legislation during an election year, saying most tax reform bills have passed in even years. The bank also challenges claims the GOP will lose Congressional control in the midterm elections because of Trump’s below-50% approval rating; HSBC argues Democrats face long odds in achieving the gains they need. 
 
• Takeaway: Don’t stop planning for tax change. Treasury needs to keep planning for tax reform, including the implications for repatriation of foreign profits, despite the ongoing level of uncertainty in Washington and the dysfunction of the GOP. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
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Blog entry
By wchan, September 25, 2017
Asia CFOs’ Peer Group members gather in Shanghai on October 19 at the offices of sponsor Deutsche Bank to discuss issues including China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, the 2018 economic outlook, Bitcoin and talent management. 
 
Here are some key items on the agenda:
 
Preparing for Cyber Attacks. Deutsche Bank will lead a session on what the rapidly growing outbreak of cyber attacks means for finance, with a discussion of cross-border data protection methods, preventative measures and the banking industry’s response to recent attacks. We’ll dig into the strengths and weaknesses of cybersecurity - the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks. And we’ll talk about what to do in the aftermath of an attack if your defenses fail. 
 
Out with Outsourcing? An Asia CFO and Asia head of SSC will tell members about the decision to move their company’s shared service center finance operations back inside after outsourcing the function became too costly and less efficient. This is a critical question for finance as business units demand ever faster, more accurate information from finance teams to support decision making. We look forward to a lively discussion and debate over the value proposition of insourcing versus outsourcing of key finance transactions and activities.
 
Developing Business Smarts. Every company wants business-savvy accountants and finance professionals who ‘get’ how finance fits into the bigger strategic picture. This session will offer views on challenges in building business acumen in the finance staff, offering tactics to: develop skills in business simulation scenario analysis; to comprehend industry ecosystems; and to understand cross-functional impact analysis.
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By bshegog, September 22, 2017
Thank you to all the attendees of the AT30 2017 H2 Meeting in Palo Alto last week and to the team from HP for hosting us! Day 1 started with a joint session with NeuGroup’s FX Managers’ Peer Group 2 (FXMPG2). Here are some highlights and key takeaways from the event, sponsored by HSBC.  
 
What GOP strife means for tax reform. HSBC’s Kevin Fromer presented the combined groups with a reality check of how dissension among Republicans is undermining President Trump’s ability to score legislative victories, despite the party’s hold on the presidency, the House and the Senate. But here’s the key takeaway for treasury: HSBC remains bullish on tax reform, asserting it’s going to get done, in part because it’s a “must accomplish” priority, noting Trump plans to visit 13 states in the next couple months to push tax overhaul. The bank argues tax law change can happen in 2018 despite skepticism about passing legislation during an election year, saying most tax reform bills have passed in even years. The bank also challenges claims the GOP will lose Congressional control in the midterm elections because of Trump’s below-50% approval rating; HSBC argues Democrats face long odds in achieving the gains they need. 
 
• Takeaway: Don’t stop planning for tax change. Treasury needs to keep planning for tax reform, including the implications for repatriation of foreign profits, despite the ongoing level of uncertainty in Washington and the dysfunction of the GOP. 
 
How to prepare for the inevitable cybersecurity attack. An AT30 member captured the attention of everyone in the room with the harrowing tale of what a cyber attack on the company’s computer network meant in practical terms for treasury and its employees. The magnitude of the disruption from losing all access to computers provided a sobering lesson, even for a department that had planned and practiced for attacks. 
 
The experience provides a real-life example of why members who have traditionally focused on preventing hacks also need to plan and prepare for the aftermath of security breaches and malware attacks, some involving phishing emails that encrypt data and demand ransom. This story underscores the need for treasury to take some basic steps like: having paper copies of critical information, including employee contact information; developing a communication plan that may rely on cellphones and personal computers; and establishing access to computers that are not connected to the damaged network. 
 
• Takeaway: Treasury must prepare for what happens after a cyber attack. Cybersecurity is not an issue that treasury can afford to relegate to the IT department — and it’s not all about preventing attacks. Preparing for the disruption to business following an attack is part of prudent planning for every department. That means having a paper trail of critical data and contact information and developing alternatives to communicate when the network is out of commission and all the computers connected to it are essentially useless. 
 
Winning formula for treasury transformation. Another member walked the group through the company’s award-winning initiative to automate a standard process for cash forecasting, improve risk management and eliminate risks from outdated treasury technology. He described “pain points” under the old system, including poor visibility to global cash balances and transactions. NeuGroup research suggests many members are still feeling the pain. While 60 percent have recently completed or are close to completing a treasury transformation project, 44% of respondents say they are not happy with their treasury transformation decisions post-deployment and are not seeing the planned benefits. 
 
How can this story lead to happier outcomes with members? For starters, a clear action plan with specific goals that’s supported by senior management is needed. Achieving the corporation’s vision took more than three years and involved creating an integrated system with components including Reval for cash management, forecasting and accounting, and FiServ’s tool for tracking global banks. In other words, it’s not all about the technology vendors you bring in from the outside. Far more important is the inside job of communicating with all stakeholders and getting dedicated support from business units and IT. 
 
• Takeaway: A carefully designed plan and clear communication is critical to the success of a treasury transformation project. Their success at meeting its goals reflected a disciplined and deliberate process of setting goals, securing buy in from senior management and finding vendors with experience at delivering the results called for in the blueprint. No wonder this transformation won the Adam Smith Award for Harnessing the Power of Technology. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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