Corporate Treasurers Increasingly Play a More Strategic Role, Says Study

Treasurers increasingly play a more strategic role as their traditional roles become more critical to their organizations and they assume a wider range of responsibilities, including investor relations, insurance risk management, integrating supply chain management, and real estate.

This greater strategic role with more responsibilities illustrates the increasingly vital role that treasurers play in supporting senior executives, according to new research from the Association for Financial Professionals.

The 2017 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey, supported by Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Global  Risk Center, found that 80 percent of respondents said that over the past three years, treasury has played a more strategic role at their organizations.

Additionally, 80 percent believe the role of the treasury function will continue to grow and become even more strategic.

“With the extreme uncertainty and volatility in the economy, senior executives and boards increasingly demand more actionable insights from treasurers, at a faster rate than ever before, and treasurers have stepped up to the challenge,” said Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive of AFP.

“It’s up to treasurers to maintain their focus on liquidity management, forecasting and financial risk management, while also fulfilling a broader mandate to serve as strategic advisors to their organizations.”

Liquidity and risk exposure are primary reasons

The study also highlighted that 73 percent cite the close attention paid by senior leadership and the board to their organization’s liquidity and risk exposure as the primary reason why the function plays a more strategic role today.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of survey respondents cite cash management and forecasting as key areas of focus for their treasury departments over the next three years.

Sixty-three percent measure treasury’s success by its ability to reduce borrowing costs, while 62 percent gauge the function’s performance by its ability to achieve liquidity targets.

“As leanly staffed treasury departments take on a wider span of responsibilities, there is a greater opportunity for banks and others serving treasurers to provide robust insights, guidance and tools to help corporate treasurers excel at their traditional and expanding roles,” said Elizabeth St-Onge, Partner, Oliver Wyman, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies.

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