Insights from a cash management study by CFO Research and SAP
Six out of ten respondents say that treasury needs to increase its contribution to high-value activities, but in order to do so treasury executives need to be on the same page as their finance and corporate colleagues. In a recent global study conducted by CFO Research and sponsored by SAP, executives working in the treasury functions of large companies do not appear to be quite as comfortable about their systems capabilities as are their counterparts in other functional areas. Two-thirds of finance and other corporate executives surveyed believe that their companies can quickly and easily migrate data from their treasury information systems into the company’s financial planning or ERP systems. But only half of the treasury executives in the survey are willing to make the same claim.
And ease of access to accurate, timely data will only become more critical for treasury’s success. Eight out of ten respondents overall agree that, within the next two years, the treasury function will need to be able to prepare cash reports and liquidity forecasts much more quickly than they can now. But it may not matter how quickly treasury can pull together their reports if the information isn’t getting into enterprise information and planning systems as quickly as business decision makers need it.
Looking to the future, treasury respondents point to another potentially troubling gap. Many in the business world are still struggling to figure out how to make the most out of “big data”—that is, much larger and more unstructured data sets. In our survey, only 11% of treasury respondents say that their companies’ cash management information systems and tools currently do a good job of accommodating “big data.” That’s just half the rate of those outside of the treasury function.
More often than not, finance and business leaders expect treasurers to work with them as full partners in the business enterprise. For that, they’ll be looking for rock-solid data, certainly—but they’ll also be looking for more insight into how the cash implications of business decisions ripple through the enterprise’s many parts.
It may be that all the effort treasury staff put into getting the best cash data into their business partners’ hands simply takes place out of sight of their colleagues. But as treasury functions become more and more integral to, and integrated with, a company’s decision-making processes, the gaps between treasury’s views of reality and those of everyone else are also likely to become more visible.
About This Study
In May 2015, CFO Research, in collaboration with SAP, conducted a global survey to examine the pressures Treasury departments face in providing timely, accurate cash reporting and cash forecasting to business decision makers. We collected 371 responses from of Treasury executives, senior finance executives, and other corporate leaders working at large companies with at least US$250 million in revenues. The companies surveyed, representing a broad range of industries, were located in North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region.