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Corporate treasury is a partnership between man and machine

PwC’s 2019 Global Treasury Benchmarking Survey* reveals a convergence of digital transformation with human capital management, as corporate treasury departments continue to push the art of the possible. PwC found that:

  • there is now “a true transition of the treasury function into the role of a strategic advisor to the broader organisation”
  • the corporate treasury department is now focused on value-adding activities outside the traditional mandate like working capital management and M&A support.
  • a significant number of respondents noted they are facing barriers in leveraging new and emerging technologies within their Treasury operations
  • the case for change is strong, with evidence demonstrating that digital and technological upskilling can create a more integrated and informed Treasury function.

And like all good consultants, they believe that “failing to capitalise on these changes can leave treasurers at risk of falling behind.”

Treasurer’s agenda and THE question

The survey found that the treasurer’s priorities have changed slightly, but cash flow forecasting remains the number one priority:

Source & Copyright©2019 - PricewaterhouseCoopers 

However, PwC believes that the fundamental question for treasurers remains: “How do we use new technology to solve old problems and tackle new ones?’’

Survey highlights

The survey’s highlights were not surprising:

  • Tech-savvy Treasury teams are increasingly using digital tools, such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and data analytics are being leveraged to conduct critical tasks, make decisions, and reduce risk.
  • Scope of Treasury continues to expand, 85% of respondents described Treasury as a “value-adding service centre”—much higher than in prior years.
  • Treasurers need to redefine existing roles and keep digitisation in mind when creating a workforce of the future. Strategic thinking (99%), business partnering (84%), and technological affinity (73%) were rated crucial skills for tomorrow’s treasurers and their workforce.
  • Teams are still searching for new approaches to age-old Treasury problems. While Treasury’s mandate may be expanding, the #1 item on the agenda hasn’t changed in decades: cash flow forecasting. Currency risk also remains top of mind as the #3 item on the treasurer’s agenda.
  • Many still underestimate cyber risk. Awareness is growing, but just 28 per cent cited cybersecurity as a “critical concern”. Treasury has a natural role in mounting defences against cyber- attacks and building recovery plans. These processes are increasingly being addressed with new technologies.

Six key themes

The report focuses on six key themes:

  • digital adoption 
  • payment fraud and cyber risk
  • the workforce of the future
  • balance sheet management
  • cash and banking
  • financial risk management.

As usual, the PwC Treasury Benchmarking Survey contains vital insights. Over the next few days, CTMfile will be reviewing these key themes in detail.


*2019 survey contains responses from 238 companies, collected between September 2018 and May 2019. Survey participants were contacted by local Treasury consultants across the PwC network. The responses represent companies headquartered in 37 countries, across 21 industries, with operations in an average of 30 countries. The average revenue of a respondent was $10.3 billion.

CTMfile take: This thought-provoking and excellent survey and report show how vital clear thinking is in understanding what is happening in corporate treasury and where it is really going on.

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