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Seeing Risk Through an Auditor’s Sharp Lens: Bill Brewer of BMS

By April 17, 2024No Comments

Bristol Myers Squibb’s Bill Brewer on what treasury can learn about risk with an auditor’s mindset and perspective.

Effective financial risk management is a fundamental component of how treasury delivers value to a business. And treasury’s skills managing risk have been put to the test repeatedly and profoundly in the last few years amid the pandemic, spiking interest rates, bank failures, wars and more.

At Bristol Myers Squibb, treasury has risen to the challenge thanks in part to the expertise of a financial risk management (FRM) team. It’s a small group that focuses on foreign exchange and interest rate hedging, commodities exposure, counterparty risk and the company’s short-term cash portfolio.

  • In the newest episode of the Strategic Finance Lab podcast live now on Apple and Spotify, BMS’ Bill Brewer, a member of the FRM team, shares insights with NeuGroup’s Justin Jones on the risk mindset he developed in previous roles within audit, and how that informs his current approach.
  • Earlier in his career, Mr. Brewer was a certified public accountant who spent time at Deloitte, and joined BMS initially in internal audit. In the podcast, he says his experience in IA gave him a unique view of the company’s different functional areas, helping him to bridge the gap of working with business units outside of treasury.

Bill Brewer
Financial Risk Management
Bristol Myers Squibb

Intuitive edge. In the podcast, Mr. Brewer emphasizes the need for treasury teams to always innovate, as well as ensuring risk controls don’t create operational risks. He also shares about the risk-mitigating effect of what he calls “intuitive processes.”

  • “When you’re able to seamlessly hand off a process to somebody else who doesn’t do it often, that’s a hallmark of something that’s standardized and intuitive,” he says.
  • In addition to building resilience, an intuitive process also facilitates smoother automation initiatives, he adds. “Anything that kind of frees up the team’s time to focus on more strategic opportunities is a welcome idea.”
Justin Jones

Author Justin Jones

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