Enhancing efficiency through innovative technology a top priority for treasurers
by Ben Poole
At the latest SAP Conference for Treasury Management in Amsterdam, more than 250 leading treasury and risk management professionals from all industries answered a few questions that summarise what is top of mind for them and where they are in their digital transformation journey. SAP's Digitalist Magazine recently published the results.
What is your highest priority for the months ahead?
When it comes to treasury priorities for the coming months, improving efficiency using innovative technology polled the highest (34.4%), comfortably ahead of getting better visibility over the cash position and cash forecasting (22.2%). Further down the priorities list were being able to streamline and automate payments processing (17.8%), better connect treasury to other parts of the business (13.3%), and automate and simplify bank relationship management.
What outcome do you value the most in a treasury system?
When asked what outcome treasurers value the most in a treasury system, 34% said that they value the ability to automate treasury processes and have their teams focus on more strategic tasks. This narrowly pipped the rather brusk 'I want it all, and I want it now!', which attracted 32% of the vote. Getting end-to-end visibility of the business with a single source of truth was the most popular outcome for 18%, while the ability to run the business in real-time was most favoured by 11% of delegates.
What are the intelligent technologies you’ll most likely be using in the future?
Machine learning (35.4%) and predictive analytics (30.8%) are the highest-priority technologies for treasurers in the near future. On the other end of the scale, blockchain (10.8%) and smart assistants with voice recognition (1.5%) seem to be struggling for support. The option for 'all of them' polled 21.5%.
What financial risks are you most concerned about?
When asked about the most concerning financial risks treasury professionals are planning for, a large economic bubble bursting is troubling 42%. Two macroeconomic events tied for second place in the poll - a hard Brexit with unpredictable consequences, and a trade war heating up internationally - with each of these taking priority for 18.7% of the delegates. Sharply rising interest rates (12%) and the impact on oil prices of war in the Middle East (8.7%) were further down the risk pecking order.
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