Corporate TreasuryOne third of treasurers still rely on Excel

One third of treasurers still rely on Excel

Asset Benchmark Research reveals how CFOs and treasurers approaching technology opportunities to help businesses boost efficiency via digital means.

According to Asset Benchmark Research’s (ABR) 2019 Treasury Review survey, a significant number of CFOs and treasurers are still using manual processes, despite the increasing development of treasury technology.

The survey found that almost a third (32%) of respondents are still primarily relying on Excel spreadsheets as opposed to a formalised treasury management system (TMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Moreover, only 10% of respondents believed that their day-to-day finance processes were more than 90% digitalised. In contrast, most (34%) respondents felt that their day-to-day finance processes were less than 50%, empathizing the fact that physical paper and manual processes are still prevalent in many treasury departments today.

Divergence of determination, use mobile banking services  and other highlights

Here are the other highlights and observations from the survey:

  1. Of the participants that did have an ERP system in place, many (60%) of them mentioned that they had already implemented such a system regionally or globally. Highlighting the divergence of determination when it came to approaching treasury management technology, some firms are keen to try it first-hand while others prefer to take a wait-and-see approach.
  2. More than half (56%) of respondents mentioned that they were not planning to use mobile banking services for corporate treasury with only 9% stating that they would adopt it in the next six months. This apparent lack of interest in mobile treasury management is more evident for larger companies with 61% of respondents from that segment saying they had no plans to use a corporate mobile banking service.
  3. Of the survey participants that did use corporate mobile banking, most of them said account and transaction inquiry was the most common task they used the service for followed by the transfer of funds. According to results from another set of survey from ABR, only 34% were using corporate mobile banking services.
  4. Cybersecurity and the safeguarding of sensitive information is still top of mind for businesses and is currently the main hindrance when it comes to implementing digital treasury solutions.
  5. While there is still inaction when it comes to implementing digital treasury solutions, interest in new solutions remains strong. Among the topics CFO and treasurers want to hear about are big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Treasury function undergoing a digital and technological transformation

Conducted since 2013, Asset Benchmark Research surveys corporates across Asia on an annual basis to understand the challenges faced by corporate treasurers and CFOs and the solutions they consider best suited to navigate financial markets. In 2019, almost 800 corporate finance representatives participated in the survey, led by decision-makers in Greater China, India and Indonesia. Based on annual turnover, 54% of respondents are small and medium-sized enterprises, 27% are mid-caps and 19% large corporations (>US$1bn turnover per annum).

Treasury Review 2019 Survey Series is in association with Standard Chartered.

Standard Chartered views on the survey were: “The corporate treasury function is undergoing a digital and technological transformation, triggered by the emergence of new technologies that are redefining the way treasury functions are being conducted. The emergence of Instant Payments, Process Automation, Open Banking and APIs will propel the treasury function from ‘managing transactions’ to the higher trajectory of ‘managing strategic drivers.’ This transformation will grow the remit of treasury managers to that of a finance technologist and drive working capital optimisation, proactive risk management, automation, and data analytics to support strategic business drivers.

“These technologies have become cheaper and more accessible than ever, to rapidly deliver tangible value to treasurers and business heads alike. With several regulatory bodies rolling out initiatives that are geared towards real-time settlements, and banks increasingly using technology as a differentiator, corporate treasury management is ripe for disruption.”

According to results from another set of survey from ABR, locked cash and feeble re-usability of its own liquidity are the two major difficulties for treasury professionals.

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