The results of the 2018 survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that the vast majority of treasurers are confident that their departments already have most of the skills required to manage and optimise the technologies driving operational change in the treasury. But is this confidence justified?

“There’s definitely investment yet to be made in developing the next-generation treasury,” says Deutsche Bank’s Head of Cash Management, Michael Spiegel, discussing ‘The Future is Now: How ready is treasury?’ survey results, conducted on behalf of Deutsche Bank. The survey report reveals what 300 senior treasurers really think about the technology changing their departments, where they see the most value emerging and how they plan to move forward. “While confidence is definitely a positive,” says Spiegel, “it needs to be founded on a holistic understanding of the changes at hand – which should be the basis for effective preparation.”

When asked to identify the two new technologies they believe will be the most beneficial to treasury, data analytics topped the poll with 56%, followed by artificial intelligence at 42% and instant payments with 34%. While these technologies will eventually have a tremendous impact on the treasury, the building-block technologies that will underpin them were curiously undervalued. Only 19% of respondents cited robotic process automation as most beneficial and just 8% voted for open APIs – this despite both technologies promising to drastically accelerate and simplify processes. If treasurers do hold these technologies in less esteem, as the results suggest, there may be a need for further clarity on the technologies transforming their departments.

Certainly, there is a need for action and awareness. As a result of these changes, treasury has the opportunity to demonstrate unprecedented strategic value to senior management teams. Assuming this role will mean taking a leading role in driving investments in treasury architecture, rethinking the skill sets required across treasury teams, and cultivating a thorough understanding of the technologies driving this change.

“Treasurers don’t need to be on the cutting edge of technology – but they do need to be proactive and aware of what is coming,” says Spiegel. “This report details some of the challenges and opportunities that treasurers are facing, how they view them, and – moving forward – how we can meet these challenges and opportunities effectively together.”

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