In quiet ways, treasuries are using technology to transform operations. Craig Jeffery, managing partner at consultancy Strategic Treasurer in Atlanta, reports that leading companies are deploying flexible treasury technology architecture that allows them to react rapidly to the unexpected threats that seem to emerge every month. "This analytic-oriented architecture represents the most dramatic response from treasury that has occurred in modern time," he says.

Amway, for one, is taking a big step in this direction. With more than $9 billion in annual revenue, the direct seller of consumer products has a large footprint that includes 50 affiliates across the globe. Managing cash flow takes approximately 1,300 accounts at 200 banks, so visibility is a challenge. Until last year, in North America that visibility came from a server-based installation of Treasury Manager, but by 2010, the software, developed by Selkirk, was a product with a long past and a dubious future. Outside of North America, affiliates reported cash positions on spreadsheets, explains Amanda B. Pilipovic, Amway's manager of global treasury.

Now Amway, based in Ada, Mich., is wrapping up the first phase of its installation of a Web-based Kyriba workstation that spans the company's global reach and plans to complete the project in the second quarter.

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