Treasury technology was supposed to explode after the passage of
Sarbanes-Oxley followed by the push toward globalization and the
financial crisis of 2008-09. But adoption has been slow in
This time, it's different. Really.
"There is an explosion of new features and delivery mechanisms
because of broader adoption of cloud computing," said Nilly
Essaides. "This means both innovative, new delivery mechanisms for
existing vendors as well as the emergence of cloud-only
The changing environment is why Essaides has written AFP's new
CTC Guide to Treasury Technology: The Emerging Landscape.
Essaides noted a clear shift at the ERP level as another factor.
"Their systems are getting better and more large companies are
embracing them as true enterprise-wide solutions so treasury must
go along," she said. "Thankfully, it appears that the widely
accepted belief that this involved a very substantial trade-off in
functionality is shifting. It reflects a broader shift in treasury
thinking away from a silo function into an integrated partner to
the business units. The technology infrastructure reflects this
broader organizational shift."
Perhaps most important, Essaides believes that technology is so
prevalent in everyone's lives that treasurers have come to expect
it more. "It's a generational shift, a mindset shift. Treasury is
not immune to it," she said. "As practitioners gain experience with
technology they take that experience into their new position and
champion automation projects."
The CTC Guide to Treasury Technology features five
case studies of treasury groups grappling with technological
changes. One midsized multinational describes its first steps into
automation as it happens, while another company discusses its
adoption of SAP Treasury. Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Pulte Homes
and Blackstone also discuss their technology challenges and
"What's new is easier mobile access to technology from wherever
you are," said Essaides. "This used to be a nice-to-have. It's
becoming a must-have. For treasury, in particular, this development
holds great promise. As our previous Treasury
Structures guide illustrated, treasuries are moving
toward a more virtual model, with distributed decision-making and
execution. They need access to the technology all over the world.
Even the ERPs are coming out with remote access solutions."
Even with the new embrace of technology, fundamental challenges
remain. "What surprised me was the degree of confusion still
existing in the market regarding definition of delivery
mechanisms," said Essaides. "The terms 'cloud' and 'SaaS' are
thrown around a lot by various vendors but they often stray from
official definitions. There's a lot of marketing language out there
that can get treasury confused. Some of the distinctions do
matter."To download the CTC Guide to Treasury Technology: The Emerging
Landscape, visit ctc.afponline.org/guides.