Large Asian companies are kicking off a large-scale drive to use new digital technology to make their treasury and banking operations better, cheaper, faster, and more transparent.
According to a new report, Asian Corporate Finance: The Treasury Digitization Drive, from Greenwich Associates, the share of senior Asian corporate treasury officials citing “digitization” as a top priority for their companies in the year ahead nearly doubled to 22% in Q4 2018.
“Digitization now ranks behind only core functions like funding and liquidity management in terms of the biggest goals for corporate treasury departments across Asia in 2019,” says Gaurav Arora, Greenwich Associates Head of Asia Pacific and co-author of a new report.
Transforming Treasury and Picking Partners
The new Greenwich Report provides an in-depth look at how companies and their banks are using technologies to revolutionize operations and reviews corporate digitization efforts in four areas: 1) Automation, 2) Digitization of Payments and Receivables, 3) Seamless Integration of Information Flows, and 4) Data Analytics and Insights.
“Prior to the global financial crisis, innovation in corporate finance and treasury meant the rollout of new and increasingly sophisticated banking products,” says Dr. Tobias Miarka, Greenwich Associates Managing Director and co-author of the report. “A decade later, the innovation most important to Asian CFOs and treasury professionals has less to do with financial products and more to do with digital solutions, data analytics and AI that can transform the way they do business.”
When it comes to digitizing corporate treasury functions today, Asian companies can turn to a host of new alternatives from “fintech” providers in payments, FX, trade, liquidity, and even cash management, and full treasury management systems. While fintechs are generally more nimble and easier to work with, many large companies still prefer working with banks. The simple reason: trust and compliance. However, this advantage is unlikely to last for long.