The credit crisis brought home to finance executives the importance of having accurate and timely information about their cash positions. A recent survey by Bottomline Technologies and Strategic Treasurer suggests that U.S. companies still have a ways to go to achieve that, with just 39% of companies reporting that they get cash position information on a daily basis.

Of the 138 companies that responded to the survey, 13% say they get data on cash positions from regional offices or their headquarters on a biweekly basis, while 30% get such data weekly and 4% get it monthly. And when they get the information, only 9% of the companies say they can consolidate it in real time, while 57% say it takes them less than half a day to consolidate the data, and 22% says it takes a day.

The frequency with which companies forecast cash flows also varied, with 35% doing cash forecasting on a daily basis, another 23% forecasting on a weekly basis, 27% monthly and 8% doing a forecast on a quarterly basis.

Spreadsheets remain the most popular tool for cash reporting, cited by 80% of the respondents, but 56% use bank portals, 38% treasury workstations and 29% ERPs or accounts receivable or accounts payable systems.

Bill Faulkner, a treasury expert at Bottomline, noted on a webinar that the accounts receivable and accounts payable processes are still mired in paper, limiting companies’ visibility. “The reality is that almost 70% of B2B payments and over 70% of invoices remain paper-based,” Faulkner said. “This guarantees a pretty slow and error-prone and more expensive process.”