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Insights from a cash management study by CFO Research and SAP

Six out of ten treasury and finance executives agree that treasury’s job is getting harder and harder. That’s the percentage of respondents, from a recent global study conducted by CFO Research and sponsored by SAP, who say that the size and complexity of their own companies make it more difficult to develop accurate views of the company’s cash position and forecasts.

At the same time, eight out of ten respondents believe that the same type of complexity and volatility in the business environment has made cash management more important today. Complexity often is the byproduct of success, stemming from new geographies, new markets, new products and services, new acquisitions, and even new businesses. And naturally, the more things in more places that a treasury function has to keep track of, the more difficult it becomes to collect and conform accurate, detailed data across an entire enterprise.

What’s a treasurer to do? It’s not easy to imagine treasurers working much harder than they already do—after all, there are only so many hours in a day. And most respondents in the survey say that, while they believe their treasury functions already are under-resourced, they will also be facing more pressure than ever to keep a lid on the cost of treasury activities.

The answer, of course, is that treasury staff will need to learn how to work better, providing more sophisticated analysis and deeper business insight at a breakneck speed. It won’t be enough simply to do the same old things, only faster—treasury’s unique expertise will increasingly be closely integrated with line-of-business decision-making processes.

Business leaders these days are striving to construct a more holistic view of all the interactions and impacts from the thousands of individual actions being taken every single day. With cash such an important source of fuel for a business’s growth, treasurers will also need to look for more ways to plug themselves directly into these kinds of core decision processes.

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.