A recent survey by Kyriba of members of the Association of CorporateTreasurers (ACT) provides statistical confirmation of somethingfinance executives have known for years: Spreadsheets are not themost efficient tool for managing the treasury function.

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The vast majority of the survey's 269 respondents, mostly fromthe U.K. and Ireland, engage in operational cash management (78percent) and in cash position reporting and forecasting (75percent) on a daily basis. Many also engage in risk management (66percent); providing data for corporate decisions (58 percent); andhigh-level, strategic financial analysis (43 percent) from day today.

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Nevertheless, 48 percent of companies with less than£100 million in annual revenue use spreadsheets tocomplete their daily cash management activities. Even amongcompanies with more than £10 billion in revenue, 11percent use spreadsheets for cash management, while 46 percent usea client-server-based treasury management system, 9 percent use asoftware-as-a-service treasury management system, 26 percent usetheir ERP system, and 7 percent use a system developed in-house(see graph below).

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Platform by co size graph

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The Kyriba survey also found that the type of platform a companyuses for treasury and cash management has a noticeable impact onthe treasury department's productivity. When asked how much timethey spend each day on manual/operational tasks, such as generatingaccounting entries or gathering bank information, 38 percent ofrespondents indicated that they spend less than an hour, and only12 percent spend more than three hours per day.

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However, among respondents who use spreadsheets for day-to-daytreasury operations, only 31 percent spend an hour or less onmanual tasks, whereas 17 percent spend more than three hours onthem. Among those who use a treasury management system platform,manual activities take less than an hour for 45 percent ofrespondents and take more than three hours for only 6 percent. Thenumbers for enterprise resource planning (ERP) users fall betweenthose for treasury management systems and spreadsheet users. (Seegraph below.)

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Looking at the data another way, respondents using spreadsheetsfor day-to-day cash management spend an average of 1.8 hours perday on manual and operational tasks, compared with 1.3 hours perday for respondents using a treasury management system. Thehalf-hour saved each day translates into more than three weeks peryear that these users presumably can dedicate to more strategictasks.

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Time Per Day Spent on Manual/OperationalTasks

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Time on Manual/Operational Work graph

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