TFA Questions & Answers


Supply chain is a network of organizations, people, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from suppliers to customers. It involves the transformation of raw materials and components to finished products that are eventually delivered to customers.

Supply chain finance refers to the financing processes that link the different parties in a transaction (buyer, seller and financing institution). Let’s say A buys goods from supplier B. B delivers the goods and invoices A, with a 30-day payment term. If B requires early payment, B may request immediate payment (at a discount) from A’s financing institution. The financing institution will then remit invoiced amount (at a discount) to supplier B. The buyer A may also request the financing institution to extend the payment period from 30 days to 60 days.

The reason why supply chain finance is so popular is that it benefits both the supplier and the buyer. The supplier is able to reduce its account receivables outstanding and generate more cash flow through early financing. The buyer can also improve its cash conversion cycle by extending payment terms. 

Today, supply chain finance is offered by most banks which have developed technology platforms to automate transactions and track invoice approval and settlement from start to end. Supply chain finance is most commonly applied in industries like automotive, manufacturing and retail.

More recently, companies are exploring the use of blockchain technology in supply chain finance projects. IBM is one of the most active companies in exploring blockchain technology for supply chain. It has collaborated with Sichuan Hejia (Chinese supply chain manager), Mahindra (Indian conglomerate), Maersk Line in cross-border supply chain projects using blockchain technology. Start-ups are also jumping on the bandwagon to help bridge the gap in using blockchain technology, like blockchain based financial operating network Fluent, to streamline supply chain finance. 

Teck Wu

I assume you are referring to countries like Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam when you say ‘Indochina countries’. For these countries, the local banks are less developed and connected to banks in the rest of the world. 

Depending on where you are, the local banks in Indochina may or may not have direct relationship with the beneficiary bank. This will mean that the banks will probably need to go through an intermediary bank, so you can expect the time required for remittance to be delayed. 

If you are transferring large payments out of Indochina, the local banks will need to report to central bank, and you will most likely be asked for the reason for sending the money out. You may be required to fill up some forms, depending on the reason of fund transfer. When sending the money, it is advised that you only transfer money that belongs to you and you are able to give proper explanation to the funds.

You can also use fund transfer service providers like Western Union, Transferwise, Remitly, etc. The transfer fees charged by different service providers may vary, and you have to check with them individually.


I have friends working in fintech startups. Based on my conversations with them, they love people who are 

1) Positive attitude and fun. Brings lots of energy to the team.

2) Entrepreneurial and problem-solver. Person should be able to think out of the box in solving problems.

3) Should have some understanding of financial instruments, markets, trading systems (depending on what the fintech does)

4) Depending on whether the role is a technical one, the applicant should know programming languages like C++, Java. Even if the role is non-technical, he should still have basic understanding of coding, APIs, data science and hold a good conversation with the technical team.


FX risks in a corporation can arise from buying and selling in different currencies, holding offshore assets valued in different currencies or foreign currency deposits.

Before you manage your FX risks, you will need to understand the FX risk exposures of your company. This can be done by projecting your foreign currency cash flows from your buying and selling. You can also perform a sensitivity analysis to understand the potential impact of FX movements on your business P&L. Some companies also calculate their ‘value at risk’ or VaR to calculate the probability of a given change in exchange rate happening and model the impact of FX movements on their FX exposures.

Once you have identified your FX exposures and risks, you can decide whether to hedge perfectly or partially. It might be difficult to achieve a perfect hedge because it is often difficult to predict with certainty the timing of forecasted cashflows. You can hedge with various hedging instruments (or derivatives) like FX forwards, futures or options. You can long or short these instruments by contacting your relationship banks, but note that there is a hedging cost and different banks may charge you differently for the same instrument.

Alternatively, if you do not want to use these derivatives, you can try to create a natural hedge (e.g. borrow / deposit in foreign currency or structure your sales and purchases to be in the same currency so that the foreign currency exposures net each other out).  


Different people will have different opinions on this.

I think TMS is a nice-to-have, not a necessity.

TMS can definitely make the life of a treasurer easier. Instead of dealing with multiple Excel spreadsheets and systems, the treasurer can just use the TMS to retrieve all related treasury data like market data, cash forecasts, payables and receivables, bank balances, etc. In other words, you don’t have to manage multiple banking platforms or use multiple spreadsheets for cash forecasting. Treasury operations ranging from settlements, bank reconciliation, cash flow analysis, risk monitoring, investment tracking can all be done using the TMS. The real value is that it can provide reliable real-time information with the click of a button.

That said, it is possible to compile information from different sources like your companies’ ERP systems, bank balances, cash forecasts, market data and perform analytics on the data with Excel. While there is nothing wrong with using Excel, the disadvantage is that it is more manual and error-prone as compared to using the TMS.

Implementing and maintaining TMS is not cheap. The common brands in the market are Kyriba, Reval, Mysis, Sungard, etc. Some of these brands are more sophisticated and expensive. So, if you are thinking of using a TMS, consider what are the needs or pain points in your company’s treasury operations and speak to different TMS service providers to decide which TMS can best satisfy your needs.

You can also refer to for a good summary of implementing a TMS for your organization.

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