bob's guide to treasury management systems: About to invest in a new system? Read this first

By Leonie Mercedes | 23 May 2017

Last month, we launched a survey among bobsguide readers who are in the process of procuring a treasury management system, or have worked with vendors to implement one. Nearly 200 of you responded – thank you again for your time – giving us illuminating insight into your experiences with treasury management systems and the evolving challenges you face as a treasurer.

Over the next five weeks we’ll be sharing the findings from the survey, and exploring the issues it has uncovered to create a series of articles aimed at helping you with the TMS procurement process, including how to select the right system for your organisation and what you should consider before making your decision.

The series will form the foundation for a comprehensive guide to procuring a new TMS which will be available next month – register your interest in receiving the full report at news@bobsguide.com. To whet your appetite, here are three of the survey’s most significant findings.

Respondents to the survey included corporate and banking treasurers, though we also received responses from many consultants, analysts, and vendors. The findings that follow reflect the attitudes of the entire sample. On occasion in this article, we have referred to respondents as a whole as ‘treasurers’ for simplicity.

Being a treasurer today

The majority of respondents to the survey have a TMS. Of the remaining 40% who have not invested, slightly more than half (21%) plan to in the next 12 months, but 19% have no plans at all.

Larger companies are more likely to use a TMS: while less than half (45%) of smaller companies (those with an annual revenue of up to $500m) have a TMS, 79% of larger organisations (taking more than $5bn a year) do. Smaller companies are also, unsurprisingly, far more likely to say that they have no plans to implement a TMS than their larger counterparts; 28% and 4% respectively.

As regulatory pressures and shifting economic conditions promise greater volatility in the near future, and TMS providers develop offering that are perhaps more suited to the pared down needs of smaller organisations, we’ll be interested to see which way the needle moves in coming years.

Overall, satisfaction with treasury management systems is high. 82% of respondents to the survey said that they are at least ‘somewhat satisfied’ with their TMS, while the remaining 18% say they are either ‘not very satisfied’, or ‘not at all satisfied’ with theirs.

Meanwhile, unsuitable functionality, difficulty of operation and need of an upgrade are some of the most common reasons for dissatisfaction with a TMS. Treasurers also cited systems not being fully utilised, limited capabilities, and difficulty learning to use as reasons for their dissatisfaction.

Treasurers’ concerns

When it comes to buying a new TMS, treasurers worry most about the potential difficulty of integrating their new solution with existing systems. Of the four options we presented, this was selected most frequently – by nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents. However, treasurers are almost equally worried about the cost of adopting a new system – 58% of respondents selected this as one of their premier concern.

In fact, cost was by far the most cited reason among those who have not invested in a TMS for not doing so. 67% of non-TMS owners said that investing in a system would be ‘too expensive’, while the next most common reason for not investing, 30 points behind, was finding spreadsheets are sufficient for the needs of the organisation, selected by 37% of respondents.

Other concerns the survey identified included perceived complexity of the treasury management system. One respondent said that their greatest concern was being able to use all of the system’s capabilities – if your organisation is investing a lot of time and money into a solution, it’s important that you can take advantage of everything it offers.

Treasurers are also concerned about possible disruption to their everyday business processes during the process of implementation, how long the implementation might take, and not having the adequate and appropriate resources to do so.

We asked respondents to select up to three of their greatest concerns, and found that not far behind ‘lack of cash visibility’ (cited by 51% of respondents), and ‘FX risk/exposure (41%) was ‘regulatory compliance’, cited by 39% of respondents.

With PSD2 and GDPR on the horizon, ensuring compliance with these regulations and avoiding fines will be high on treasurers’ agendas over the coming months. In the next article of this series, we’ll explore what organisations need to comply with different regulations, and how a treasury management system might help weather the changes.

What do you think of the survey findings so far? Does anything resonate with your experiences? Did you find anything to be unexpected? We invite you to share your comments with us at leonie mercedes contentive com.

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