A new report from Deutsche Bank in partnership with The Economist has revealed that treasurers are underestimating the importance of crucial technological advances.
The report, titled ‘The Future is Now: How ready is treasury?’, also highlights that many treasurers are failing to acknowledge that they may lack the skills to cope with the challenges posed by treasury’s technological transition.
Robotic process automation (RPA) has become crucial to treasurers as it simplifies and accelerates routine treasury procedures, as well as application programming interfaces (APIs). Yet, participants in the survey viewed them as the least important technologies available to them. This indicates a lack of awareness on the subject, suggesting that many are ill prepared to make use of the opportunities and challenges that loom in their field.
While confidence is definitely positive, it needs to be founded on a comprehensive understanding of ongoing technological changes
In light of these results, Michael Spiegel, Deutsche Bank head of cash management, said: “There’s definitely still a need for investment in developing the next-generation treasury. And while confidence is definitely positive, it needs to be founded on a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing technological changes in the market.”
This is not a future challenge, but one that is occurring now; 55% of treasurers reported that technology is already disrupting traditional treasury operations. Companies are changing their operating model in response, making necessary shifts in treasury structure, staffing and strategy.
At this stage it is important that treasurers get ahead of these changes and proactively adapt to new technologies. This must involve collaborating with suppliers and banks at this early stage to ensure that new technology is seamlessly adopted in day-to-day treasury operations.
Spiegel urges treasurers to lead the charge “by persuading senior management of the need for, and direction of, strategic digital upgrades”.