The financial crisis and the recession that followed putconsiderable strain on U.S. businesses and elevated the strategicrole of corporate treasuries.

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The sluggish economy continues to underscore the strategicnature of treasury activities. Although the economy seems to beslowly picking up steam, cash and cash-flow forecasting remaincritical concerns, according to the senior finance executives whoresponded to Treasury & Risk's 2012 Strategic TreasurySurvey.

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Once again this year, the vast majority of respondents attestedto the strategic nature of their job.

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Focus on cash

More than a fifth (21%) of the senior finance executives whoresponded to the survey say cash-flow forecasting was the area mostrelevant to making their job more strategic over the past year, upfrom 14% in 2011. Only 5% of respondents cited cash management,down from 15% last year.

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Squeezing more cash out of operations was cited as their topresponse to the sluggish economy by 66% of senior financeexecutives, up from 57% in last year's survey, while 42% saythey're adding technology to boost their visibility and controls,up from 27% last year.

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When respondents were asked what areas required improvedtechnology or more outsourcing, cash-flow forecasting led thelist.

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When respondents were asked where they expect to realizeimprovements in the coming year, liquidity management was the topcontender.

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Treasury's evolving relationships

Being strategic can involve new activities and relationships fortreasurers, and according to the survey respondents, that oftenmeans working more closely with the company's CFO andcontroller.

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Treasury departments' relationships with their company'sbusiness units range from occasional consulting or regular meetingsto having corporate treasury professionals embedded in the businessunits.

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Majority say treasury work is'stimulating'

The majority of executives seem to enjoy their work, with thenumber that describe their job as “stimulating,” rather than“frustrating,” increasing since last year's survey.

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Fewer respondents expect upward pressure on bank fees than wasthe case last year.

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To view the complete survey results, clickhere.

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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.