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Cash management survey shows that only a third of the companies are fully prepared for future challenges

During the Structured Finance, the exclusive conference for decision-makers in corporate finance that took place in Stuttgart on November 25-26, we asked the participants, CFOs, treasurers and cash managers, about their challenges and aims for their cash management.

Companies pursue central approach to cash management
Over half of the respondents, 51 %, are from large companies with a turnover of over €500 million. The great majority (96 %) of the respondents work for the head office of their company, which is also where most of the cash management is done (72 %). The central approach to cash management indicates that the great majority of companies obviously prefer central control over company-wide cash flows.

Key areas in cash management: cash pooling and cash flow-based liquidity planning
When asked about the focus of their corporate cash management, the two most-mentioned areas were cash pooling (one-third) and cash flow-based liquidity planning (around one out of four), which are, in fact, also the areas with the greatest potential for improvements, as respondents indicated.

In 43 % of the cases companies have a local/national cash management. Over a third has an international cash management, and in 28 % of the cases the cash management is done cross currencies. Only 4 % stated that they use automated cross-currency cash pooling. As around a third of the companies mentioned earlier that cash pooling as one of their key focal areas in cash management this indicates that the cash pooling is done in one currency only in many cases.

Cash management reporting bears optimization potential
47 % of the respondents said that they have a good overview thanks to their reporting and analytical options for cash management/treasury, but that there is room for improvement. Surprisingly, not one respondent said, however, that they were fully satisfied with their capabilities. 38 % answered they would favor a better integration of accounting data for their cash management.

Future challenges are diverse – new regulations and technological developments require vendors to react
With regards to future challenges to a company’s cash management, the answers were generally rather evenly spread between new regulations, technological development, global markets, corporate growth, low interest rates, and volatile exchange rates. What is interesting, however, is the fact that over a third of the replies stated new regulations and technological developments. In both these areas it is important for a company to have a partner who is monitoring trends and integrating changes quickly into systems that support companies in meeting their challenges.

Vendors are, thus, required to react and provide timely solutions. Particularly, when considering the fact that only a third of the respondents feel they are fully prepared for the future challenges.

A third still use Excel for cash management
While around half the companies use their ERP/SAP system for their cash management, a considerable 43 % of companies still rely on Excel as the only or as a complementing system for cash management. Apparently, standard solutions for cash management do not, yet, fully meet the demands of the market.

Key objectives: better control over cash flows, greater efficiency, central overview of local entities
We asked companies for their main objectives they would pursue if they carried out or planned a project in cash management. The top three objectives for companies were however, that they would like to have better control over their cash flows, more efficient processes and central control over the local entities.

Conclusion
Cash management is a central task in the majority of companies asked in our survey. Half of the companies said they have a good overview over their company-wide cash flows, but see room for improvement. Mostly, they wish for a better integration of accounting data into their reporting and analytic tools for their cash management/treasury.In their cash management, companies focus largely on cash pooling and cash flow-based liquidity planning, which are also the areas in which they want to further enhance in future.Companies are faced with a diversity of challenges including mainly new regulations, technological development and volatile exchange rates, neither of which are particularly easy to master with Excel which is still used by many companies. Consequently, only a third of the respondents feel fully prepared for the future challenges.