- Section 1: A challenging environment
- Section 2: Back to basics
- Section 3: European clearing and payments
- Section 4: Banking
- Section 5: Organising treasury
- Section 6: Liquidity management
- Section 7: Short-term investments
- Section 8: Funding the business
- Section 9: Cash management technology
- Section 10: Tax and legal
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2013 has proven to be yet another tough year, despite muted optimism and hopeful predictions in January. Forecasts from the European Commission (EC) in early May showed annual Eurozone GDP shrinking by 0.4% in 2013, following a contraction of 0.6% in 2012. Interest rates remain at rock bottom, with Mario Draghi, Head of the European Central Bank (ECB), refusing to rule out negative rates. Government debt levels remain worryingly high in many countries, and sovereign and bank downgrades continue apace.
As a result, European corporate treasurers have their eyes firmly focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their cash management technique. Part of this process is to go back to basics – this Handbook revisits the building blocks of cash management so that treasurers can effectively review the tools in their arsenal to see if there is anything missing.
In addition, for those treasurers that have done much already to improve their techniques, this Handbook looks at new developments and identifies up and coming treasury trends.
At this point in the year, no introduction on cash management in Europe would be complete without mentioning the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). With the deadline of 1st February 2014 quickly approaching, many corporates have just started their SEPA projects. At the initial planning stages, they are beginning to grasp the complexity of such a change programme and just how far it reaches into their organisation and supply chain. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but the good news is that there are now a considerable number of treasurers coming to the end of phase one of their SEPA projects who can provide experience, advice and support to their peers.
It is important to remember that the end game is not solely SEPA-compliance, but reaping the benefits that SEPA can offer corporates, including harmonising payments, rationalising bank accounts and centralising treasury and cash management operations, whether that is through payment factories or shared service centres (SSCs). This a huge step towards truly transforming treasury across the region.