There is no such thing as general Best Practice, only Good Practices that might be worth using as an indicator of possible practices in your department. Similarly, Benchmarks are not absolute truths. Care is needed in using both. Blind adoption of so-called best practices and blind acceptance of benchmarks is just plain stupid. So many corporate treasurers do not to like benchmarking because general benchmarking does not take account of their particular circumstances. Neverthless, the automation of benchmarking and use of self assessment is growing.
The Hackett Group now offers a dashboard that automatically pulls data out of a company's ERP system to track processes that a company is working to improve. The Hackett Performance Exchange, addresses one of the basic challenges of benchmarking, the level of time and effort it takes to get the information.
The Performance Exchange:
- extracts data from SAP® or Oracle® systems each month
- quantifies current process metrics and compares them with median and world-class performance levels
- identifies and calculates the size of continuous process improvement opportunities-often in the tens of millions-based on The Hackett Group's extensive business benchmarking database
- provides access to The Hackett Group's Best Practices Intelligence Center™ and quarterly discussions with a senior business advisor.
Other Online Tools
The number of tools for corporate treasurers to carry out self assessment is expanding and their usage is growing: Citi Treasury Diagnostics, which provides online benchmarking of treasury processes is generating more interest, AFP's interactive Annual Benchmarking Survey usage is proving to be increasingly popular and treasury management systems are now providing metrics as well.
Pressure to cut costs in the corporate treasury department is bound to continue, but care is needed to do fair and meaningful comparisons when using these benchmarking metrics.
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