2021 Alexander Hamilton Prize: Risk Management

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Risk is always a concern for treasury and finance teams, obviously, but the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the subject even more into focus. From concerns about employee and customer health to liquidity issues to business continuity risk, everyone from board members to front-line workers has spent the past two years monitoring close to organizational risk management.

For the winners of the 2021 Alexander Hamilton Prizes in Risk Management, this attention and action around risk management strategies has paid off.

  • Silver medal : Gaps in credit processes between Microsoft’s various business units previously created a disjointed customer experience for many of the company’s global customers. Additionally, the five-day turnaround time for most credit decisions created an opportunity for significant working capital improvement. By consolidating responsibility for credit management, while standardizing and automating processes, Microsoft has reduced risk, reduced operating costs, accelerated cash flow and even boosted revenue growth.
  • Gold medal : At AARP, member communications are critical to the business. Much of the members’ correspondence with the organization goes through the US Postal Service. When Covid restrictions limited the organization’s ability to process the 3 million pieces of mail it receives each month, AARP shifted that responsibility to a third-party vault. The transition was smooth and members mostly didn’t even notice the difference, thanks to the business continuity solution that AARP’s Treasury group had built, tested, and tweaked before Covid.

“There is no unsolvable problem,” says Andrey Naumiuk, senior chief financial officer for Azure Data at Microsoft. “To achieve a very ambitious goal, you may need to make drastic changes. But the technologies available today can solve all sorts of problems that treasury professionals face in their day-to-day work. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing have the potential to dramatically increase the productivity of treasury teams — across different companies, in different countries — and bring value to those companies’ customers.

Congratulations to AARP and Microsoft for their outstanding initiatives! And thank you to the judges of the competition: Jean-François Heitz, former deputy financial director and treasurer of Microsoft; Erik Smolders, former treasurer of Ingram Micro and vice president of Deloitte’s Global Treasury Advisory Services practice; Craig Jeffery, Managing Partner of the Strategic Treasurer; and Marie Hollein, former President and CEO of Financial Executives International.

Finally, many thanks to FinLync, ICD, C2FO, GTreasury and Kyriba for sponsoring the 2021 Alexander Hamilton Awards program.

You can read more about our other 2021 winners here. And stay tuned for the 2022 Alexander Hamilton Awards, which Cash and risks will present from this spring.

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