In September 2023, the global treasury community gathered at the flagship 32nd annual International Treasury Management conference in Barcelona. A global community of over 2,000 delegates were interviewed, download a summary of treasurers’ sentiments on key treasury challenges and opportunities below.

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The theme of the conference was ‘navigating a new world’, code for the challenges of inflation, elevated rates and geopolitical change. With 2,300 treasury professionals attending, Herman Van Rompuy, the former President of the European Council, gave a keynote analysis of the complexities and challenges in global trade, with the message that geopolitics now overshadows economics, and his hope that common interests will prevail.

With over 80 sessions across seven streams, the conference left no stone unturned in the drive for excellence in international treasury management, with sessions delivered by leading treasurers from global companies including Amazon, Under Armour and Mattel, as well as 180 speakers from the global treasury and banking community.hsbarcelona23 0703

Focussing on the themes of core treasury controls, technology, operations, risk management, managing change and building partnerships, speakers and delegates shared their experiences, challenges and solutions to treasury’s toughest tests over the past year, which has seen a transformed economic landscape and business environment.

A packed exhibition floor played host to all of the world’s leading treasury and transaction services from global investment banks and liquidity providers, as well as a myriad of technological solutions for treasury, from ever more accurate cash forecasting solutions to liquidity management to investment solutions.dabarcelona23 680

With an abundance of insight and intelligence present, Eurofinance took the opportunity at the conference to survey treasurers on their views around some of the critical areas of development in the treasury over the next 12 months.

Looking out to 2024, elevated rates is the greatest challenge that treasurers face, with inflation remaining a core concern for a third of treasurers. In cash management, over two thirds of treasurers pointed to trapped cash as their most perplexing problem to solve, whilst cash pooling remains an ongoing challenge for many.

Centralisation will be the greatest change to treasury over the next year with over half of respondents focusing on central challenges and over a third of respondents saying that more services will be outsourced, although most do not anticipate that treasury teams will be leaner.

Turning to technology, the greatest technological changes occurring in treasury systems focus around API connectivity and interoperability, closely followed by the implementation of artificial intelligence, with a few focussing on upgrades to existing ERP and TMS systems.

Striving for ever more efficient and automated processes, treasurers thought that accounts payable processing and electronic bank account management are the top areas for improvement, followed by pooling and netting as an area of development.

On reporting, the great challenge for treasurers going forward is changing company tax rules, with ESG reporting, and real time payments implementation also a focus for some.

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Overall the conference revealed that there is much excellent work being done, yet much still to do, on the path to creating ever more intelligent and efficient treasury systems to enable companies to use cash in the most optimal way to support business growth.

These core treasury concerns are vital to the growth of a sustainable economy in Europe and beyond, and EuroFinance will be developing these themes in greater depth in Copenhagen in 2024.

Our global community of over 2,000 delegates were interviewed in Barcelona. Download a summary of treasurers’ sentiments on key treasury challenges and opportunities here.

Download infographic here (1)

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