I recently attended the two-day Treasurers Roundtable in Washington DC, an annual event bringing together leading treasury figures from NGOs, charitable organizations, social institutions promoting education and universities. Refreshed and rested from vacationing on the US East Coast, I headed straight to the capital.
BELLIN has had a dedicated nonprofit program in place for several years, supporting these very institutions. For me however, attending the Treasurers Roundtable was a first – as was BELLIN’s sponsorship for the event. The roundtable’s ambition is to advance global development through treasury excellence. But how is the agenda at an NGO-focused treasury event different from that of any other treasury conference? Is it that institutions which are mainly financed by donations and entrusted with money to help people in need have a particular responsibility to keep their finances in order? Or the fact that NGOs are active in some regions that frequently lack any banking or other infrastructure to facilitate the transfer of money? I was excited to find out!
The two different sides – humanitarian organizations on one hand and sponsors, system vendors and banks on the other – were each given the opportunity to talk about their specific treasury hot topics and current challenges. Being a system vendor representative myself, I was more interested to hear what the other side had to report. While I’ve always been aware that NGOs face enormous obstacles when it comes to moving money from A to B and juggling regulatory restrictions and embargos, it was captivating to hear their stories. This calls for out-of-the-box thinking and specialist know-how, and networking events such as the Treasurers Roundtable are the place to be to find out how others tackle these issues. But not just NGOs are set to benefit from the event. Sponsors are able to connect with NGO representatives and can present their solutions to their various challenges. Personally, despite being aware of these issues, I was struck by the first hand accounts.
So what was it that I could contribute? I talked to many people and was able to demonstrate that we have solutions in place to address a great number of the challenges mentioned – tried and tested and easy to implement. Many of the attending organizations have not seen their technical setup evolve since they were founded. Yet the world has changed and many developments in treasury benefit both nonprofit and for profit organizations. This includes solutions for “treasury classics” such as process transparency and visibility, secure and efficient payment solutions, fraud protection as well as hedging currency risks – no matter how “exotic” the currency or how many different denominations. In addition to providing system support and treasury know-how, BELLIN offers a dedicated nonprofit program with free licenses for our treasury management software tm5. So instead of giving money, BELLIN gives back in an even more efficient way by providing the expertise that humanitarian organizations need to fulfil their mission. After all, we are all responsible for this world, even if we approach treasury from different angles. It definitely wasn’t our last time at the Treasurers Roundtable – both as participants and sponsors!