A New PerspectiveHaving had an Asia-centric perspective on the world since my university days, I have been fascinated with the Asian approach to business and of course the rate of change in these markets. Landing in Singapore though has given me a new appreciation for the intricacies of doing business and, in particular, managing cash and liquidity across the region. Ultimately it is evident that having the right finance partner across the region is the key.
Large organisations love to have standardised approaches to the way they do things. THis is particularly true of the finance department. Across Asia though it is basicially impossible to achieve. Each market not only has their own local payment systems but they each have unique was of paying for goods and services.
Whether it is derived from the traditional ways of doing business or influenced by the geographic characteristics of the country or in fact simply to do with the availability of technology, the ways of getting paid vary vastly.
Flexibility is CriticalStandards are all well and good but flexibility is the key to success. Not complete anarchy but standards that allow for the idiosyncrasies of each market whilst still giving a consistent view of collections, payments and liquidity.
For example the ability to collect payments in Indonesia (Jakarta pictured left) via the ATM networks is absolutely critical whilst the ability to pay suppliers in Vietnam in Cash needs to be considered carefully with the company's internal policies.In addition to this a Treasurer must also consider the many and varied legislative freedoms and restrictions on liquidity when determining the optimum strategy for maximising cash performance.