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The ‘right staff’ drive treasury operations

When it comes to managing corporate cash, people matter most, according to a survey by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). Results of the third annual AFP Treasury Benchmarking Survey showed that human capital factors such as education and training of key finance personnel have a significant impact on the efficiency of treasury operations.

AFP, IBM and Deutsche Bank conducted their third survey of financial professionals across the AFP membership and supplemented the survey group with readers of gtnews. The 2010 survey sought to determine performance levels of participating treasury departments, analyse performance by peer group, define world-class targets and provide a basis for comparison. Organisations use this data to identify performance gaps and evaluate opportunities for improvement.

 Marilyn Spearing, global head of trade finance and cash management corporates, global transaction banking, Deutsche Bank, said: “The global benchmarking survey results allow our clients to offer ‘best in class’ treasury and cash management services by comparing their treasury organisations to those of their peers. This year’s results reveal the importance of human capital.”

Previous surveys found technological systems to be only modest differentiators in treasury department performance. This year’s survey probed human capital differentiators and found that the education levels and tenure of treasury staff can have a significant impact on efficiency. The proper balance of staff, process and technology is dependent on the size and maturity of the department and organisation.

The conclusion was human capital is an area where corporate investment clearly pays off. When important treasury functions are handled by highly educated staff, and/or by those with professional certifications, companies tend to need fewer employees. For example, when MBAs and other advanced degree holders perform most treasury tasks half as many people are needed. When certification holders perform most treasury tasks, a third fewer people are needed.

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