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Journeys to Treasury are worth taking

Journeys to Treasury report is now in its sixth year. The participants behind this publication - BNP Paribas, PwC, SAP and  EACT – are to be congratulated on this edition. It is their best yet. The mixture of corporate treasury theory and reviews interspersed with case studies and sponsor comments works well.

Trends in corporate treasury 2021-22

Inevitably the report starts with Key Trends. Those picked out were:

  1. cash flow forecasting was treasurers’ most important priority
  2. treasury digitisation, at 43%. Twenty-eight per cent also noted that review or replacement of their treasury technology was one of their three major priorities in the coming year.
  3. improved treasury data and analytics which create a virtual circle in which treasury can continue to expand its influence over the components that contribute to liquidity and risk
  4. risk and real-time: treasurers are highly motivated by opportunities to exchange data and transactions, and manage liquidity in real-time
  5. treasurers’ role in ESG: PwC concluded that treasurers have not yet fully embraced the ESG agenda in their departments
  6. scope of influence of treasury extends across the business, touching on all elements of the financial supply chain.

There were no surprises in these findings, the really useful addition are the comments and case studies after each trend.

Other sections

These included:

  • Digitisation in a post-Covid environment
    • “Digitisation has been a theme for treasurers and finance managers for many years, but it became a higher priority during the pandemic, as the risks and limitations of manual processes and interactions between systems and counterparties became clear. Over recent months, we have seen an acceleration in treasurers’ digital adoption. Initially, the focus was to plug automation gaps. Today, however, treasurers and their systems vendors and banks, are taking a longer-term, more strategic approach to digitisation, automation and data.”
  • Evolution and revolution in digital payments?
    • “Although every market and region is at a different level of maturity in the digitisation of payments, digital payment methods and platforms are emerging globally, with an increasing focus on real-time settlement, rich data and an excellent customer experience. In this rapidly changing context, treasurers need to understand both the evolving needs of the business and changing wider market opportunities, to help realise the company’s digital strategy.”
  • Treasurers strategic D2C role
    • “eCommerce has continued to grow and evolve over recent years, but this expansion has been accelerated by COVID 19 as sales moved rapidly online. It is not simply how customers transact that is changing, however, but the way that sellers engage with them. In the past, many companies sold via distributors or retailers, and/ or third-party marketplaces. This made it difficult to develop direct insights, engage directly with consumers and build loyalty.”
  • Driving The ESG agenda and Treasury
    • “As businesses in all industries place environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues at the core of their strategy, treasurers are keen to support and contribute proactively to the company’s ESG agenda. Given the breadth of sustainability and ESG issues, and diverse priorities, it can be difficult to determine where to focus to make the most impact.”
  • What time does the past year show us about the future treasury
    • “Eighteen months since the pandemic closed our offices, treasurers are looking back at the experience of remote working and thinking about what their treasury organisation might look like in the future. How can treasurers make their teams more successful, whether working at home, in the office, or a combination of the two?”

Each section is followed by important and informed comments and case studies.

Conclusions and reflections

Here the many authors give their reasoned and useful perspectives on 2021 and looked ahead to 2022.

CTMfile take: The comments and case studies bring important value to this report. Well worth a read, e.g. the PwC 10 tips for virtual working.

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