High-profile speakers shed light on the potential of digitalization at KPMG's 8th Digital Treasury Summit in Frankfurt

This year's Digital Treasury Summit tackled highly topical issues, as usual, with a wide range of contributions and a panel discussion on the potential and risks of using AI in treasury, including evolution in Treasury, exciting insights into the treasuries of Siemens Healthineers, BioNTech and Deutsche Telekom, machine learning, the hype surrounding PPAs, managing commodity price risks, E-BAM and KYC. This demonstrates that the event series has its finger on the pulse of the times. Almost 100 participants from the treasury community assembled at KPMG's offices in Frankfurt/Main to exchange ideas on both theoretical and practical matters in person.

After a welcome address by Ralph Schilling, Head of Finance & Treasury Management (FTM) at KPMG, and Nils Bothe, Head of Corporate Treasury Advisory at FTM, keynote speaker Martin Bellin, who has over 20 years of experience in treasury management, shared an exciting personal insight into the development of the treasury department and the personality of the treasurer. He predicted that even if the treasury of tomorrow will be characterized by progressive digitalization, the Treasurer will remain at the helm as the human factor and make the final decisions. 

Practice-related presentations generated a great deal of interest

This was followed by an insight into the treasuries of three different industrial companies and their various digitalization projects.

To kick things off, Milan Kalajdzic, Head of Trade Finance, and Tim Bachinger, Senior Manager Trade Finance, reported on the automation and digitalization of trade finance processes at Siemens Healthineers. Named "Treasury of the Year" at Structured FINANCE in 2022, the department has succeeded in setting up a standardized trade finance platform that can save up to 50% of working time when processing the various types of guarantees and LoCs used. Among other things, the speakers see further optimization potential in the increased use of Robot Process Automation (RPA).

Next up was another presentation from an award-winning treasury department: Freshly awarded "Treasury of the Year 2023", Dirk Schreiber, Head of Treasury, gave an exciting insight into the development of BioNTech SE's treasury, which has experienced unprecedented rapid growth in just a few years. Within the past 1.5 years, the dedicated team has been able to set up front, middle and back offices and achieve an impressive level of automation.

In a third presentation, Christian Unterbusch, Vice President Transaction Management & Systems, presented the Treasury Excellence Transformation Program at Deutsche Telekom AG. To this end, he explained the two parts of the project, "People & Culture" and "Processes & Systems", which are helping to turn Treasury into an agile and technically optimized work area.

Breakout sessions with parallel presentations by KPMG and exhibitors

The first set of the following two breakout sessions saw Viola Hechl-Schmied from the ION Group give a fascinating insight into the possibilities of using the potential of your own data by combining machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

In parallel, Ralph Schilling from KPMG's Finance & Treasury Management Team spoke about the benefits of collaboration between treasury, purchasing and accounting when processing the currently very popular Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). 

In the second set of breakout sessions, Otto Lenz of SAP delivered a differentiated overview of the necessity of managing commodity risks in treasury and the ways in which this can be achieved with technical support. He concluded by giving an interesting outlook on the benefits that artificial intelligence can bring to various areas of treasury management.

In parallel, Gregor Opgen-Rhein of Omikron, along with Normen Klein, Financial Settlements & Operations Officer at E.ON, gave a presentation on eBAM and KYC. After briefly introducing the topic, Mr. Klein explained the solution implemented at E.ON, which significantly simplifies and standardizes their cooperation with banks.

Panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of AI in treasury

The concluding panel discussion revolved once again around the use of artificial intelligence in treasury. The panel included Thomas Neidert, Head of Treasury at Fresenius, Andreas Sowa from the Association of German Treasurers, Michael Gerhards from the Finance & Treasury Management Team at KPMG and Franҫois Heynike, Head of Technology Law at KPMG Law Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH. Under the competent moderation of Börries Többens from the FTM team, the panelists explored the opportunities and risks of using AI in treasury from various perspectives. 

Networking & input from experts

During the breaks, participants enjoyed hot and cold refreshments and had the chance to network with each other or exchange technical information with the nine exhibitors. COPS, Coupa, ION, FIS, Komgo/GTC, Omikron Systemhaus, SAP, Treasury Intelligence Solutions (TIS) and Trinity Management Systems were each present with a booth and experienced representatives. The discussions were lively and spirited, accompanied by lots of positive feedback on the exciting presentations and the pleasant atmosphere.

We extend our thanks to all participants, speakers and exhibitors for participating and contributing. We look forward to seeing you again in October 2024!

Source: KPMG Corporate Treasury News, Edition 139, December 2023
Ralph Schilling, CFA, Partner, Head of Finance and Treasury Management, Treasury Accounting & Commodity Trading, KPMG AG 
Nils Bothe, Partner, Finance and Treasury Management, Corporate Treasury Advisory, KPMG AG

Image 1 (Source: KPMG AG)

DTRS 2023

Digital Treasury Summit 2023 / #DTRS2023

Image 3 (Source: KPMG AG)

DTRS 2023

Networking during the lunch break

Image 2 (Source: KPMG AG)

DTRS 2023

Welcome by Nils Bothe and Ralph Schilling

Image 4 (Source: KPMG AG)

DTRS 2023

The speakers from left to right: Martin Bellin, Milan Kalajdzic, Tim Bachinger, Thomas Neidert, Christian Unterbusch, Andreas Sowa, Viola Hechl-Schmied, Ralph Schilling, Michael Gerhards, Nils Bothe, Otto Lenz, Franҫois Heynike, Gregor Opgen-Rhein, Dirk Schreiber, Börries Többens. Not in the image: Normen Klein.