Expanded Treasury Benchmarking Survey Results Revealed in Europe

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) has announced the results of its second annual benchmarking survey that provides data points of reference that financial professionals can use to compare the performance of their organisation’s treasury operation to that of their peers and top performers. Due to the positive response to the inaugural survey, AFP, IBM and Deutsche Bank collaborated again for the 2009 AFP Benchmarking Survey, which expanded to include corporates based in Europe. This year’s participants included members of AFP, as well as subscribers to London-based gtnews, an AFP company and on-line resource for the treasury and finance community, doubling respondents to this year’s survey to more than 800 organisations.

“By extending the survey to Europe, we allow treasury professionals around the world to learn from each other,” said Jim Kaitz, AFP’s president and chief executive officer (CEO). “The survey data ultimately shows that benchmark performance levels in treasury operations are fairly consistent regardless of the region in which a company operates. As a global resource and advocate for the profession, AFP seeks to illuminate the practices that will ultimately lead to successful treasury departments.”

Marilyn Spearing, global head of trade finance and cash management corporates, Global Transaction Banking, Deutsche Bank, said: “Deutsche Bank is pleased to support the further expansion of this important peer group survey. We looked to obtain data on a cross-regional level after receiving very favourable responses from those US corporates who participated in the initial survey. In today’s market, treasurers are seeking opportunities to compare performance of organisations’ treasury operations against those of their peers. The bank will leverage these survey results to help our clients deliver ‘best in class’ treasury and cash management services in the most efficient manner worldwide.”

The 2009 report, which explores the impact of treasury systems and service delivery models on critical treasury processes, presents performance levels achieved by the survey participants, defines top performing (80th percentile) benchmark targets, analyses performance levels by peer groups and provides a basis of comparison that organisations can use to identify performance gaps and evaluate opportunities for improvement.

The 34-page public report highlights important treasury operational issues that have a direct impact on today’s organisations and provides an outline of the key implications for optimizing treasury operations. It supplements the customised peer reports that participating organisations received.

The study focuses on the delivery of treasury services and evaluates the impact of the decision to centralise, decentralise, or outsource treasury operations based on cost, staffing and performance. The study also examines the effects of automating key treasury processes, and concludes that automating treasury processes often leads to demonstrable improvements in staffing levels and cycle times, especially in areas related to cash management.

Key findings include:

  • Full-time treasury equivalents (FTEs) – The smaller the organisation, the more FTEs are required to conduct treasury operations relative to revenue. The financial services industry tends to employ higher FTE levels.
  • Treasury costs – The smaller the organisation, the more intensive the investment is for treasury operations relative to revenue. Also, the financial services industry tends to incur the highest level of FTEs and costs. This is likely due to the regulatory requirements and strategic emphasis on cash management. In other words, financial services organisations view treasury as a competitive differentiator.
  • Treasury cycle times – With a few exceptions, size is not a significant predictor of cycle time, suggesting that size does indicate overall complexity when other factors are constant. Financial services tend to have lower average and benchmark cycle times than those of other industry groups.


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