While companies envision their treasury groups as becoming strategic advisors, corporate treasurers lack the systems to fulfil this critical role, according to a recent joint global study by SAP and CFO Research.
The study shows that nearly two out of three corporate finance executives expect to see some degree of change in treasury over the next two years, with 16% planning extensive changes. Top priorities include optimizing treasury processes (44%) and upgrading treasury information systems and technology (38%). The announcement was made at the recent International SAP Conference for Financial Services, held in London.
Twenty-two per cent of corporate treasurers said their current information systems support treasury ‘very well’ and many are taking steps to streamline disparate, expensive connections with various banks by seeking banking partners that can efficiently support their growing role. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents indicated they will seek new banking partners over the next two years, while half will consider a search.
Treasurers are seeking a consultative relationship with their bank that provides visibility into cash flow, funding and risk considerations to guide their business decision-making. As such, 91% of respondents are considering increased scrutiny of current and prospective providers over the next two years, and 65% felt their company had some or significant room to improve its communication integration with banks.
To resolve issues surrounding collaboration and connectivity and to meet the rising needs of their companies, treasurers have begun looking to cloud-based solutions. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they would be early adopters or fast followers of cloud services for banking relationships, yet looming regulatory and security concerns have made banks reticent to dive into cloud computing. Nonetheless, survey respondents who said they will need ‘significant improvement’ in their banking relationships are twice as likely to be ready to adopt cloud services, indicating this area of focus will become a key differentiator for banks.
“The role of corporate treasury is continuously evolving and treasurers are actively seeking solutions to effectively integrate banking partners into their companies,” said Sanjay Chikarmane, senior vice president (SVP) and general manager, SAP Financial Services Network. “Banks that embrace innovative models will be well-positioned to provide a simpler, more standardised experience.”
However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.
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