Long before growing numbers of digital nomads freely roamed the planet, Hamza Benamar had achieved a borderless professional life inside the world of internal audit.
“I went through a phase in my career when I was not even planning the next year—I was too busy getting my work noticed and getting proposals to go somewhere else,” explains Benamar, who recalls that the question “Why not?” became the familiar response with which he greeted each new opportunity.Read More
Having grown up in multilingual Morocco, Benamar found that crossing international borders came naturally to him, which gave him an edge when SAP came looking for young professionals to serve a growing roster of clients interested in scaling their processes globally.
“I knew that I was actually going to be able to learn from these marquee companies and discover how to design, implement, and run the processes of A/R, A/P, and general ledger,” remembers Benamar, who joined SAP’s Houston office in 1999 before in short order garnering Platinum frequent flyer status with Continental Airlines.
Next, he joined biotechnology rising star Amgen, which was seeking to quickly expand its internal audit function around the world as the company opened a new chapter of global growth.
“I went overseas, built up the audit team, got noticed by the CFO, and moved to Switzerland to be his right-hand controller, and things just continued to evolve from there,” comments Benamar, who remained with Amgen for 5 years before joining the Geneva office of SunGard.
At SunGard, Benamar continued to greet new opportunities with his familiar “Why not?” attitude and soon found himself relocating first to Paris, where he would oversee the integration of a recent acquisition, and then to Hong Kong, where he was tasked with reengineering the finance function to align better with its greater Asia-Pacific operations.
After 12 years in Europe and Asia, Benamar felt another “Why not?” pulling him to return to the U.S., where last year—after a stint in healthcare finance consulting—he entered the CFO office of treasury software and solutions provider Kyriba. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about Kyriba … what does it do? What sets its offerings apart in the market today?
Benamar: Over the years, Kyriba has focused on a single point of pain shared by CFOs across all industries: the question of liquidity. We allow them to deploy a tool—a set of analytics—that can inform them on where they stand from a liquidity position perspective. To put it in simple words, Where’s the cash? What cash do I need? If I were to need it at this location for this person for this purpose, would I have access to it on a timely basis at a good cost?Read More
As much as people have been focusing on cash flow forever, what makes liquidity management very challenging—and this is what Kyriba brings and what I think sets us apart—is that cash flow is going through a multitude of different teams and functions within the organization. You have to think about just the basics of the fact that there is one team that is focusing on collecting cash. Meanwhile, procurement is looking at accounts payable and the vendor relationships.
Then, from left field, you have decisions that are being made in terms of capital spend that needs to be funded, not to mention major investments as part of an acquisition that are going to hit a CFO in terms of needs. Then you go into even more layers, higher layers of complications. We don’t live in an isolated world. There are some geopolitical issues that we all have to face. If the world were to stop—as happened last year—it becomes even more important to have transparency and visibility into liquidity in a timely manner. At the end of the day, this is what Kyriba has been able to bring to many companies.
Quote: “What we’re trying to do is to find this nice balance where we fuel this top line growth but also keep our eyes on the EBITDA and free cash flow from operations. We also plan to look at the market overall to see if there are some good opportunities to acquire companies that would deliver some complementary functionality.”
Kyriba | www.kyriba.com | San Diego, CA