J.P. Morgan Payments

Planning for productive partnerships 

5 minute read
The changing profile of payments means once disparate teams must work more closely. Here’s how treasury and product are bridging the gap. 


Payments were historically considered a back-office function, but they’ve evolved into a key strategic focus for many global companies. This shift requires product and treasury teams to collaborate more than ever—which is easier said than done. Both teams have different outlooks and priorities, so how can they effectively communicate their needs and work together?   

To answer that question, we spoke with both a product lead and a treasury lead at two major global fintechs, who have considerable experience in creating successful internal partnerships. Here, they offer three essential tips for getting along better—and getting the best results from both teams. 

The product perspective
Papaya Global enables international organizations to manage their payroll across more than 160 countries, automating processes and simplifying complex issues such as regulations, compliance, local benefits, and taxation. Unlike most payroll companies, Papaya offers payment processing on behalf of its clients in the local currency of various markets. To provide this functionality, Papaya’s product and treasury functions must operate in close collaboration. Here, Levis shares three principles for success: 

1) Identify the problem

When teams have different areas of expertise, it’s crucial to clearly define the company’s objectives. This keeps everyone working toward the same goal. “Many companies have a technology, and they are searching for a problem,” says Levis. “In our case, we are led by a problem which is very well-defined—global payroll payments. And that makes our collaboration much better. First, we understand the business problem, the pain points, and then we develop the right technology solution as a team.” 

2) Ensure everyone leans in equally

Product should see treasury as a copilot rather than a support team. This approach enables creative thinking, which can lead to solving specific customer challenges. A good example is a recent Papaya project in which the business handled complex payroll needs for the maritime industry. “These employees are constantly moving around,” says Levis. “They lack reliable internet connection, which rules out many mobile tech solutions.” Papaya’s teams jointly came up with a payments card that workers can use in various local currencies. Since Papaya also supports a variety of payment rails, the company was able to incorporate cross-currency functionality, as workers wanted to exchange money between themselves as well as send it back home in their country’s local currency.

3) Align while working

There’s no such thing as overcommunication between treasury and product, as pain points can arise when groups work in silo. “Sometimes payments will ask for a technical solution, such as a new payment method, but it is not feasible, or it is not worth the investment because too many other companies do it and it is not a differentiator,” explains Levis. Alternatively, a product architect can create a solution without considering regulatory limitations that results in treasurers being unable to support it and the organization being unable to use it. Non-stop communication is therefore key to success, and each team should view part of their job as educating the other.


Amit Levis

Senior Product Manager at Papaya Global

The treasury perspective
Boku is a payment technology company that has built a global network of localized payment solutions tailored to the needs of the world’s largest digital merchants. It helps companies grow internationally by allowing customers to pay using their preferred local payment method, which includes Direct Carrier Billing (DCB), digital wallets, and account-to-account (A2A) schemes. Building the global infrastructure to support settlement capabilities for over 300 payment methods in 70 countries required Boku’s treasury team to work closely with product. Here, de Rougé offers his advice for others doing the same. 

1) Decide who from treasury collaborates with product

At Boku, treasury serves two roles: It manages all the corporate treasury tasks, but it also supports clients’ needs and collaborates with partners. Boku has thus split its treasury team into two units. The first group is Boku’s corporate treasury unit, which manages the company’s cash, handles accounting, and deals with auditors. The second group works most frequently with product development to design and launch new customer-facing solutions. “Formally separating those two units has made collaboration and innovation much easier, as everyone knows who to work with,” explains de Rougé.  

2) Create a shared language

After creating the right structure for successful collaboration, treasurers should help product to build a shared technical language. That’s because jargon can quickly divide the groups. “It may seem mundane, but one of the key things is agreeing on vocabulary, on semantics, on defining things with the same word,” says de Rougé. “Having a clear definition of the goals, the target, the task, and the language can help a lot for a fruitful collaboration.” He adds that active listening is just as important. 

3) Keep scanning the horizon

It’s crucial for treasurers to keep tabs on industry trends, as these insights can help inform product development. Treasurers at Boku identified the need to integrate multiple real-time payments into its platform. For them to build this innovation, they need close collaboration with product, as both groups need to carefully navigate local laws, licensing requirements, and compliance elements. “I think this has been one of the great collaborations between product and treasury at Boku,” says de Rougé.  


Charles de Rougé

Head of Banking and Settlement at Boku

What’s next? 

What product trend should be on treasurers’ radars—and vice versa? 

A forecast from Product:

“Payment methods like QR codes have taken off in many developing markets, where they have started to displace cash,” says Adam Lee, Chief Product Officer at Boku.

“But what about developed markets? My prediction is that QR codes could start to erode the monopoly that cards have in many markets in Europe and North America, especially as open banking gains momentum.”

Adam Lee

Chief Product Officer at Boku

A forecast from Treasury:

“At some point there will be a shift in paradigm for the global payment industry,” says Jonathon Nash, Papaya Senior Director of Payments, Papaya Global.

“Blockchain-based technology like central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will become much more important. A new world is coming, and it’s something companies need to monitor, or they will miss the train.” 

Jonathon Nash

Senior Director of Payments at Papaya Global