Treasury decision making is getting better, aided by reports that key on real drivers and present actionable analyses. However, a survey of practitioners shows the most useful reports are not necessarily high-tech, vendor-delivered or graphically sophisticated, but homegrown and highly tailored.
Using a Kyriba treasury workstation and several applications built in-house, $1.5 billion Fifth & Pacific (formerly Liz Claiborne) in New York now tightly manages borrowings under its asset-backed line of credit, reports John Engeman, assistant treasurer and vice president. Separate cash, debt and borrowing base forecasts are combined into a “borrowing base availability forecast that predicts how much we can borrow without jeopardizing availability covenants,” he says. “This report is reviewed regularly with the CFO and used to plan the amounts and timing of cash flows.”
Vendor technology improved analytical reports at $4 billion PulteGroup in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., reports Dory Malouf, treasury cash operations manager. Bank fees on transactions are tracked in its Kyriba treasury workstation. When account analysis statements arrive electronically from Pulte’s banks, it’s easy to spot discrepancies in volumes and fees. But the big payoff has been the time saved by not doing manual reviews, as well as the visibility into underutilized accounts and services, Malouf says. “We saw where we could close 68 accounts and bring our total down to 100.”
Canned reports can be generic, while industry- and company-specific reports offer more value. Terry Smith, CFO at $150 million Carlile Transportation Systems in Anchorage, Alaska, explains that by integrating its ERP system into its SQL data warehouse, Carlile got “the detail we needed to act and cut our uninvoiced backlog of freight bills from 15,000 to less than 3,000.