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TD Bank’s latest survey provides transparency into 2017 treasury management trends

 As every facet of the financial services industry faces the imminent shift to digital platforms, more than one-third of treasury and financial professionals have heightened awareness of the growing risks of fraud and cyber-attacks, shows TD Bank’s Treasury Management Survey. Heading into 2017, corporate treasury and finance professionals cite protecting assets, securing transactions and cybersecurity as top priorities.

 TD Bank surveyed more than 350 financial professionals at the 2016 Association of Financial Professionals conference to learn more about their concerns and opportunities.

 “The transition to electronic receivables and payables can improve organizational efficiency and reduce costs in financial departments, but these moves do create additional organizational risks,” said Rick Burke, Head of Corporate Products and Services, TD Bank. “While there are numerous benefits to automating these processes, companies need to work with a trusted partner that will help provide safeguards to protect data, transactions and company assets.”

 The Digital Shift

 Financial executives’ increasing concerns around cybersecurity are merited, as more and more organizations are expected to move into digital transactions. Only 17 percent of respondents said that they have paper-free receivables today, this is set to dramatically change as 69 percent reported they expect their organization to begin the transition to electronic payments in the near future.

 While corporate treasury is undergoing a digital transformation, it is not going to happen overnight. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they expect it will take between one and two years for their organization to move most receivables from paper to electronic, and 20 percent said it will take three to four years. When the shift does happen, more than half of executives believe it will save 6-15 percent of their departments’ work hours, indicating that automation of receivables is worth the investment, saving companies both time and money in the long haul.

 Corporate Inertia

 The majority of respondents said they expect the implementation of electronic systems to save their company a significant amount of time, so why aren’t all organizations migrating to paperless processes? The results indicate that corporate inertia is a major obstacle. Approximately two-fifths (42 percent) of respondents believe the biggest barrier to adopting paperless receivables is resistance to change as their organization is ‘content with the current process’. Other barriers include:

  • The lengthy transition time and required IT resources – 24 percent
  • Antiquated company infrastructures – 18 percent
  • The expense of implementation – 8 percent

 Challenges — and Changes

 Although the overarching trend from the survey was growing anxiety around cybersecurity, these professionals have additional concerns, including:

  • The strict regulatory environment – 30 percent
  • The ability of their organization to adapt to faster payments – 20 percent
  • Impending interest rate hikes – 15 percent

 In response, organizations plan to invest in cyber and fraud security protections (31 percent) and faster and integrated accounts payable capabilities (26 percent) in the next year. Other considerations include investment management and monitoring systems (21 percent) and mobile/online self-service capabilities (20 percent).

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