My previous blogs from the ACT Annual Conference 2012 have dealt with some of the topics covered in the main sessions or breakout streams. Often, however, you get a better feeling of what's going on from short conversations around the venue and in the exhibition hall with treasurers, bankers, or the HSBC barista.

One such chat that stayed with me was that which I had with the masseuse that Deutsche Bank has working at their stand. Peta drove over from Sheffield for the conference, which is actually a longer journey than the treasurers and large number of bankers who made their way here via the Virgin Trains route from London Euston. And while Peta may not be able to take the pulse of treasury today, she can certainly tell that the industry is under stress. Apparently treasury ranks as one of the most stressed professions, according to the fingers who know - more stressed than accountants! Speaking to Peta, it sounds as if one of the ways that treasury is evolving is that practitioners are becoming hunched over to a ridiculous degree. Does this link to the fact that resources in treasury are becoming stretched, forcing practitioners to slave over their computers long into the evenings and at weekends? Possibly.

So what can be done to de-stress the treasury community? The biggest theme around this year's ACT Annual Conference has been that of visibility. The industry has been talking about cash visibility for some time now, but this week the conversation has gone beyond just cash, with visibility over all treasury actions becoming key. This can include full visibility over exposures - such as supplier and bank counterparties, and visibility over other business units within the organisation. Certainly treasurers seem to be working closer than ever with their counterparts in areas such as procurement and sales when dealing with their banking counterparties, reflecting the streamlining of cash management and supply chain finance. Electronic bank account management (eBAM) also seems to be gaining traction, with large corporations managing thousands of bank accounts across the globe seeing the benefit of one centralised view and management hub. The reporting capabilities of treasury technology today also boost visibility, with treasury management systems (TMS) offering extensive but descriptive views of trades, exposures and cash flow - particularly useful for audit trails or presentations to senior management.

Without accurate end-to-end visibility over all of their processes, it is impossible to efficiently manage working capital, credit lines, and indeed any area of the treasury function. Fortunately there is much that treasurers can do to gain visibility. Once that is in place, the treasurer is in a perfect position to drive growth for their organisation. Hopefully that thought will help relax our stressed financial professionals.