AFP: Companies Looking For More From Treasury

November 3, 2003 ( - More than seven out of 10 (71%) companies say their treasury department is playing a greater strategic role within their company than just five years ago.

Treasury professionals can expect the trend to continue as 75% of senior financial executives plan on asking Treasury to play a greater role in internal consulting, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC ) compliance and strategic financial planning.    Overall, the results of the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) survey reveals an paradigm shift that is putting more responsibility in the Treasury department than traditionalresponsibilities of bank relationships and cash management.  

“The roles and responsibilities of the corporate treasury professional   have expanded dramatically over the last few years. In this currentenvironment of corporate reform and enhanced oversight, treasury professionalsare being asked to play a more central and strategic role, assisting with SECcompliance controls, risk management and accounting oversight,” said JimKaitz, president and CEO of AFP. “Whether providing certification of data usedin a company’s financial statements or participating actively in theregulatory debate over options expensing and pension reform, treasuryprofessionals are playing a more visible and critical role in strategicdecision making for the corporation.”

Despite the added responsibility, companies devote roughly the same amount of resources and staff time to   traditional treasury activities – short-term borrowing, short-terminvesting, bank relationship management and cash management – as fiveyears earlier.Some of the shift comes as 85% of Treasury departments have increased their use of automationand technology to enable the treasury professionals to deploy their skills inmore strategic finance areas. For those that have not done so yet, 87% plan to increase automation in the near future.

Further, 35% of respondents indicate that their company has   expanded the size of its Treasury department in the past five years and 28% expect their company will add Treasury staff in the nextfive years.   Another 20% have either increased outsourcing or expect to do so in the future

Treasury professionals, though, do have certain trepidations about heading out into this brave new world as only 31% of senior-level treasury professionals “strongly” agree that today’s treasury professionals are prepared for their future role in their company.   Among the resources that 85% of this department cites as important moving forward are continuing education and professional certification.

The survey, conducted in September 2003, was sent to senior-level treasury professionals and generated 443 responses. The full survey results are available at .