The European sovereign debt crisis has created a cloud of uncertainty as businesses head into year-end, and many finance executives expect the situation to deteriorate further. A survey of 75 senior treasury officials, most from European companies, attending an IT2 user conference last month shows 54% expect the eurozone to break up in the next year. And according to Financial Executives International's quarterly survey, 65% of U.S. finance chiefs expect Greece to default, as do 42% of European CFOs.

Companies that do business in Europe could face considerable fall-out if Greece or other countries exit from the 17-nation currency union. Companies could see assets and liabilities redenominated and possibly devalued and the creditworthiness of banks or other business partners called into question. Treasurers might find that hedges no longer make sense or might need to make fixes in accounting practices and treasury software.

Paul LaRock, a principal at consultancy Treasury Strategies, says many companies have already cut their exposure to the euro. "To the extent that large corporations were holding what they might perceive as excess deposits in the euro, I think many of them have solved that problem."

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.