Faster and farther seems to be the motto for treasurers these days when it comes to cash-flow forecasting, as companies work to achieve more timely visibility into their cash positions and extend their cash forecasts over a longer time horizon. Treasurers are getting a helping hand from advances in technology, including the cloud, and better ways to connect with their banks.

"In terms of optimizing cash forecasts, treasurers have been constrained by a couple of different things: one, the tools they're using, and two, the difficulty in consolidating global information," said Andrew Gelb, North America head of Treasury and Trade Solutions for Citi. "There are a range of tools, and there are a range of connectivity options as well, that enable better cash forecasting than perhaps would have been possible a few years ago."

Companies' increased focus on cash forecasting in recent years is generally linked to the financial crisis and the premium it placed on corporate liquidity. But a recent Treasury Strategies survey shows interest in forecasting has continued to grow even as the economy and access to credit have stabilized. Fifty percent of the executives the consulting company surveyed said they were increasing their reliance on cash forecasting, up from 40% in September 2012 and 39% in September 2011.

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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.