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Is treasury really anywhere close to being extinct?

Geri’s article 'Is treasury really anywhere close to being extinct?' produced many reactions including:

  • Liked the article, but worried about no mention of training and career progression
  • Great article Geri Westphal, I get asked about the future of the treasury department often and your summary is fantastic. I love that your research showed the same questions dating back to 2006
  • Great article Geri. Impressed by the insight into the industry and the idea of "reinvent treasury, reinvent yourself". I have seen AI takes jobs and headcounts away from the organisation, but there are new opportunities we all should focus on.
  • Bruce Lynn, Managing Partner, The FECG LLC, a financial and treasury consulting firm, thought-provoking comments:
    • Treasury’s goal to become strategic is an aspirational one.
      • Based on an AFP survey only a small (15%) of treasuries have only attained this status
      • Until treasury becomes strategic any “seat at the table” maybe “below the salt”
    • A key impediment to evolving is simple: No real success metrics:
      • Business units have sales or EBITDA goals
      • Tax has reductions from statutory rates
      • Treasury?
        • A recent study of S& P 500 10Ks shows only 25% of companies use something like “free cash flow” as a metric.
        • Even fewer reward business units for generating liquidity
        • Treasury is burden with too much processing of transactions and spends little time planning/forecasting in conjunction with FP & A or business units. Lack of staff or proper technology may be a factor
    • While there are exceptions about how important liquidity is (i.e. below investment grade companies see it as more important than say Apple) until organizations or management are rewarded for generating cash, corporate treasury will evolve slowly, if at all.

CTMfile take: The real problem that Geri and Bruce are highlighting, in different ways, is that corporate treasury is focusing on the wrong targets. Until corporate treasurers are rewarded for generating cash, corporate treasury departments will, as Bruce puts it: “Will evolve slowly, if at all.”

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