The Treasury team was laser focused on Accenture’s global liquidity needs, making sure Accenture had sufficient access to cash, could estimate cash flow and articulate the cash position to senior leaders. Similarly, Treasury was instrumental in helping Accenture leaders understand the liquidity positions of Accenture’s clients to help mitigate risk and serve as advisors in discussions with clients.
Treasury, in collaboration with Accenture’s Consulting and Technology services and global IT organization, had in the past year developed a holistic "intelligent cash" capability made up of three assets:
Liquidity dashboard. The Liquidity dashboard provides near-real-time feed of Accenture’s cash balances across Accenture’s 400 operating entities. Using detailed visualizations, the dashboard enabled the team to quickly understand cash and credit by location and bank. The tool uses bank connections and statements to update tables in Accenture’s SAP S/4HANA system four times a day. Treasury users can drill down by currency, country, business entity and banking partner, as well as view the use of credit lines and the status of the accessibility of cash.
Predictive cash flow forecasting. Predictive forecasting helped to forecast Accenture’s cash needs. This capability is powered by sophisticated algorithms that adapt to the behavior of cash flow items, geographical differences and data volumes to generate forecasts by each country Accenture operates in. It automatically aggregates bank statements weekly to gather data on transactions, including collections and disbursements, which gets fed into a predictive cash forecast model. Treasury users get a forecast that is easily digestible, adjusted and validated by Finance people across Accenture.
Cash inventory optimizer. The Treasury team used this optimization model to review recommendations on whether to inject or extract cash based on the cash flow forecast and Accenture-specific economic factors. The model treats cash as inventory and optimizes it using an algorithm intended for that purpose as its engine. It optimizes transactions to objectively operate a "near-zero-balance cash balance" (on average) in every currency while considering factors such as the value of centralizing cash and the transaction costs.
Credit rating tool. Separately, the Treasury team quickly created a credit rating tool with several measures to assess the credit worthiness of Accenture clients, which in some cases was changing rapidly. The effort involved drawing from conventional data sources as well as getting input from news reports and other live sources on a continual basis that was maintained in real time. The Treasury team merged, analyzed and summarized the information weekly.
Finance used the information to assess the health of receivables from existing clients when Accenture was signing on new business to help manage risk. The information also helped inform the commercial response center of excellence teams and account teams in solving for clients and Accenture.
The Treasury team was able to quickly assess liquidity and provide Accenture’s senior leaders with real-time data on cash collection and the health of Accenture’s total liquidity. Accenture was able to avoid the stresses of a volatile environment because senior leaders had timely insights to help make decisions.