Although the EACT Summit unfortunately could not take place this year, 200 treasury professionals from across Europe shared their thoughts on treasury’s role and priorities as part of the EACT survey. Survey responses were received between 11 March and 15 April 2020, a period that coincided with the start of Covid-19 lockdown in many locations. Although some participants responded before the official lockdown in their countries, many companies had already implemented measures such as stopping business travel and moving to home working. Markets were also experiencing significant volatility at the start of the survey period and supply chains had been disrupted. Consequently, it would seem fair to assume that most people responded to the survey in the context of crisis-related issues.
| Executive Summary|
Cash flow forecasting was the highest treasury priority for 55% of respondents. This is not surprising bearing in mind that cash and liquidity profiles, supply chains and customer behaviour were already affected by the pandemic before lockdowns were imposed. However, the focus on cash flow forecasting is not a ‘crisis phenomenon’. The issue has consistently appeared at the top of treasurers’ list of priorities, as reflected in the most recent bi-annual PwC Global Treasury Benchmarking Surveys in 2017 and 20191.
Likewise, technology and treasury digitalisation, and working capital management have remained significant priorities. The value of automation and digitalisation has been emphasised by the pandemic, particularly as people rapidly shifted to home working, with manual, paper-based processes becoming all but impossible. Similarly, optimising working capital has become essential, not simply improving individual metrics, e.g. days payable outstanding (DPO) and days sales outstanding (DSO) but a holistic approach to optimise liquidity and increase supply chain resilience2.