“We make sure everyone gets paid”

This post is also available in: Deutsch

Richard Neumann from the Treasury department likes spreadsheets – seriously! He specializes in finding tiny mistakes in giant expanses of numbers. The business mathematician ensures that NORMA Group stays solvent: The company needs constantly sufficient financial resources, for instance to purchase raw materials for production or to pay employee salaries.

“I like diversity and new challenges.”

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just been looking at how various currency exchange rates are affecting our current loans.

What do you do at NORMA Group?

I observe changes in interest rates and currencies and analyze the effects on our balance sheet. I provide my accounting colleagues with these figures for the financial reports. I work on hedging NORMA Group against interest rate and currency fluctuations. I’m also currently leading a project to introduce new software at several NORMA Group subsidiaries.

Hedging against currency fluctuations

NORMA Group is an international company. A plant in Germany, for instance, buys raw materials in US dollars in the US then sells the goods produced from these raw materials to a British customer and receives the payment in British pounds.

Hedging against currency fluctuations

This gives rise to an exchange rate risk for the German company and thus for the entire Group, as both purchasing costs and sales revenues fluctuate with changing exchange rates. This has a direct impact on the balance sheet and income statement.

Hedging against currency fluctuations

In order to reduce the effect of exchange rate fluctuations, NORMA Group may use certain financial instruments, such as foreign currency derivatives. NORMA Group can then hedge a fixed exchange rate at an agreed point in time, irrespective of the actual exchange rate at that point in time.

Hedging against currency fluctuations

This also works to secure loans. Just imagine that NORMA Group buys a company in the US. The purchase price is paid in US dollars. The company takes out a loan in US dollars to pay. This is of varying “value” depending on the exchange rate converted into euros, which also influences the total assets and results of NORMA Group.

How did you find your way to your current job?

Nearly 10 years ago, I began working as an auditor and management consultant after my studies. Then I worked at a company in Luxembourg at the interface between treasury and accounting. I joined NORMA Group four years ago.

“A good understanding of finance and an affinity for figures are prerequisites for my job.”

What do you like most about your job?

The topics are very diverse and I can solve tasks independently. Since I work a lot in projects, I always get to face new challenges. At the same time, I can plan my workday so that I also get to spend time with my family in the evenings.

Functions of Treasury in Companies

The British "Association of Corporate Treasurers" describes the functions of treasury as creating "an appropriate capital structure of debt and equity in order to fund the business, getting the optimum balance between cost and risk. This translates into the need to ensure that at all times the company has the liquidity and cash to meet its obligations as they fall due (...)".

More here.

 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

There is actually no such thing as a typical workday. I always try to take a look at the financial news in the morning – what’s going on in the markets and stock exchanges, how are the exchange rates of the major currencies developing? The rest of my workday is different every day.

“I look forward to seeing my colleagues every morning.”

What career did you want as a child?

I wanted to be an architect. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that I wasn’t good enough at drawing (laughs).