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Insights from a cash management study by CFO Research and SAP

Two-thirds of treasury and finance executives agree that it takes more work than it should to develop accurate views of their companies’ cash positions and cash forecasts. That was one conclusion reached in a recent global study conducted by CFO Research and sponsored by SAP. All in all, the treasury, finance, and corporate executives responding to our survey feel that the time treasury staff spends on simply collecting, conforming, and preparing cash data is at the expense of the higher-value contribution to corporate growth they could be making instead.

Given that cash reporting and forecasting have become more important than ever for a company’s success, business leaders are increasingly looking to their treasury colleagues to provide additional insights and expertise that can better support business decision making. For many, that means getting more from treasury than just a massive data dump. It means taking treasurers into the fold—gleaning their insights into how best to deploy the cash on hand to drive the business forward, and on the flip side gaining a deeper understanding of how their own business decisions will affect the future flows of cash.

But the survey results highlight a persistent problem with this vision for the future—the fact that very few companies currently are taking advantage of ready access to up-to-the-minute cash information. Only about one in ten survey respondents report that their treasury function can use fully interactive, self-service interfaces to instantly aggregate cash balances from global bank accounts or to prepare consolidated cash forecasts.

Companies these days are able to instantly link far-flung operations through tightly integrated information and communication systems, and so more and more business decisions are being made virtually at the speed of thought. It’s time that increasingly critical cash management capabilities were brought up to speed, as well.

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.