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Survey: Improving Payment Processes and Working Capital Improvements Are the Most Challenging Tasks for Treasury Professionals

Findings from the 2022 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey reveal that treasury is increasingly supporting other functions, such as business continuity planning and enterprise risk management.

September 13, 2022 — Bethesda, Md. — Improving payment processes and working capital improvements are the two most challenging tasks facing treasury professionals today, according to the 2022 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey, supported by Marsh McLennan.

Treasury has also expanded its scope to support other functions. At 82% of organizations, treasury supports business continuity planning, and at 67% of organizations, treasury supports enterprise risk management.

This year, cash management and forecasting are a top priority for 68% of respondents’ treasury departments. Among core functions, the emphasis placed on cash management and liquidity planning, heightened by the pandemic, remains as global issues continue to arise. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, treasury has been more focused on solving internal challenges rather than managing external concerns.

While soft skills remain most in demand for treasury professionals, the skill gap — i.e., the gap between importance and effectiveness — has widened since 2020 for two important traits: the ability to collaborate and the willingness to be a change agent.

Communication continues to be the most important skill for both senior treasury practitioners and treasury teams, but there is a gap with a larger share of respondents citing the skill to be important and a lesser share indicating that treasury leadership and treasury teams were effective in this area.

Over half (56%) of respondents indicated that their organizations are attempting to curb staff attrition in response to the “Great Resignation.” Actions that respondents reported as being effective in preventing staff from resigning include:

  • Allowing flexible work arrangements (71%).
  • Offering growth opportunities within the organization (53%).
  • Offering better compensation/benefits (51%).

“Against a landscape of global supply chain challenges and record-high inflation, treasury has an opportunity to rise to the occasion and provide sought-after guidance and expertise.” said Jim Kaitz, AFP president and CEO. “Effective communication and collaboration will be critical for treasury departments as they help their organizations navigate the prevailing uncertainty.”

“Treasurers have faced many hurdles over the past two years from pandemic liquidity issues to pension performance challenges,” said Richard Smith Bingham, Executive Director, Marsh McLennan Advantage.  “It’s encouraging that treasurers have ridden this volatility as critical partners in their companies’ resiliency efforts and that they are better prepared to help their organizations manage the considerable risks ahead.”

The AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey was conducted in May 2022 and received responses from 390 treasury professionals. Full survey results are available on the 2022 AFP Strategic Role of Treasury Survey page. Please direct all press inquiries to Melissa Rawak, managing director, at [email protected].

About AFP®
Headquartered outside of Washington, D.C., and located regionally in Singapore, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of treasury and finance members and their organizations. Established and administered by AFP, the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials set standards of excellence in treasury and finance.


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