In the second Treasury Dragons virtual round table, sponsored by Bottomline TreasuryXPress, a group of senior treasury professionals met to discuss how to reduce reliance on spreadsheets as a treasury management tool.
This month’s group included treasurers from retail, media, manufacturing, healthcare and communications firms, all with differing challenges as their businesses emerged from the pandemic.
What rapidly became clear was that spreadsheets have their place in even the most developed treasury department. Some of the reasons for continuing to use spreadsheets were:
Nevertheless, there were clearly identified limitations - and risks - where spreadsheets were used instead of a treasury management system. Among the issues raised were:
Of the treasurers who were using spreadsheets extensively, all were considering introducing or upgrading their TMS to automate some functions, reduce eros and reduce risk. Getting board approval for the expenditure required was often a barrier - but so was the diversion of staff and resources to implementing such a major change.
A common theme was that the real driver for change came when outside consultants were brought in to audit data security and financial processes. “After their report came in, it became clear to our board that we had to invest in a TMS,” said one treasurer.
As the meeting closed, it was pointed out that the next wave of automation, including APIs and machine learning is already vastly improving the flexibility and adaptability of TMSs in many of the areas where spreadsheets have traditionally been used - and that bigger change is on the horizon.
This was the second Treasury Dragons Virtual Round Table, sponsored by Bottomline TreasuryXpress.