EACT Survey 2020 results | The Association of Corporate Treasurers

EACT Survey 2020 results

The European Association of Corporate Treasurers is a not-for-profit organisation bringing together 23 national treasury and finance professional associations across Europe with about 14,000 members representing 6,500 groups/ companies. The EACT runs an annual survey and this blog comments on some of its findings.


The survey had around 200 responses from across Europe between 11th March and 15th April and included a number of responses during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. It covered 6 key areas:

  • Treasury Priorities
  • Treasury Innovation
  • Themes of Interest
  • Involvement in Working Capital Management
  • Treasury Centralisation Challenges
  • Treasurers' Involvement in the ESG Agenda

Treasury Priorities

Consistent with the ACT’s own Business of Treasury survey, cashflow forecasting remains the no.1 priority for most treasurers. Listening to treasurers in our conversations with them, it is clear that cash forecasting has taken over the lives of many of them with frequencies shortening (including some performing forecasts twice per week) and greater commentary and detail expected.

The pandemic has highlighted the ability of technology to support a more dispersed workforce that can offer continuity of activities within a well-controlled and secure infrastructure and it’s not surprising that technology has increased in its level of importance.

Treasury Innovation

Unsurprisingly, most respondents focused on data analytics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) rather than crypto currencies and blockchain. Many treasurers we talk with are already using RPA to automate some of their regular activities such as daily liquidity management, bank reconciliations and cash forecasting, and using data analytics as a tool to improve the quality of cash forecasting. The challenge for many treasurers will be the prioritisation of scarce internal IT resource which will be required for other projects that may have more immediate business critical implications. Creating a compelling business case will become increasingly key and it may be that the pandemic provides suitable support for the need for a treasury capability that ensures adequate liquidity to fund the business.

Themes of interest

The top three items raised by treasurers all related to real time – information, liquidity and payments. Treasurers are increasingly aware of the disconnect between their personal lives (characterised by real time balance information and real time payments) and the companies they work for (with updated balance information only available at certain times for certain types of payments and high value payments that can sometimes take all day to be seen by the beneficiary). The New Payments Architecure from pay.uk will transform significant areas of the UK payment infrastructure but this will take most of this decade to deliver. Banks and FinTechs are looking to deliver new services that increase the use of Faster Payments in areas such as payroll processing and balance retrieval.

Working Capital Management

45% of respondents stated that treasury was fully or partially responsible for managing working capital. One trend we have witnessed over the last few years is the increasing number of organisations that combine accounts receivable and payable activities under one team. In our calls with treasurers this has made it easier to monitor working capital at a business level and also for the treasurers and others to manage key aspects of working capital. We anticipate that as economies start to reopen and at different rates, businesses and treasurers will need to pay increasing attention to working capital to avoid it becoming a significant drain on liquidity.

Treasurers' Involvement in the ESG Agenda

 We know that many treasurers are playing a key role in financing business activities – especially those related to transitioning to a low carbon economy. The survey looked at how treasurers are supporting internal initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and 50% were looking at ways to reduce paper-based processes. Given that a single sheet of paper is estimated to produce roughly 0.0092 lbs of CO2 (and a pack of 500 sheets produces 4.59 lbs of CO2), any reduction can have a significant long term impact.

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