ATLANTA and CHERRY HILL, N.J., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — While companies hinted at waning optimism in 2019, COVID-19’s impact on almost every aspect of business operations led to a significantly more negative organizational outlook, according to the 2020 Treasury Perspectives survey, released today by Strategic Treasurer and TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. The survey, in its third year, was fielded from April 20 to July 10 at the onset of COVID-19 restrictions and polled bank and corporate respondents across a range of categories, including technology use, economic outlook, credit access and regulation.
The majority of survey respondents anticipate 2020 will end on a significant economic downturn, with 81% expecting gross domestic product (GDP) contraction. This economic concern is solidified by the mere 14% of respondents who have a more positive outlook for their organization in 2020. However, there are some bright spots on the horizon as 46% forecast some level of GDP restoration and 44% expect their sales to increase by the end of 2021.
The rapid move to a remote work environment has also created a positive catalyst for the adoption of new and established technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA) and application programming interface (API) as corporations adjust to a new normal. The majority of respondents (80%) are excited about these technological changes, with use of APIs expected to reach 69% adoption within the next two years and AI or Predictive Analytics incorporation nearly doubling to 47% by 2022.
Other key findings from the 2020 Treasury Perspectives Survey include:
- COMPANIES SCALE UP THEIR FRAUD DEFENSES: Cyber fraud remains a top global economic concern and was identified as such by 62% of respondents, only to be surpassed by the global health pandemic’s impact on customer supply chain (82%).To combat potential fraud exposure, which has significantly increased in this remote work environment, firms have bolstered their fraud defenses by adopting multi-factor authentication (MFA), encryption and monitoring software/anomalous behavior detection/tracking. Concerns about accounts payable fraud grew in 2020, with 82% of organizations identifying it as the most susceptible group as compared to 67% in 2019, while treasury and payroll fraud concerns subsided from 53% in 2019 to 46% in 2020.
- CORPORATES LIMIT EXCESS EXPENDITURES: Despite this challenging economic environment, 48% of corporates report they are in a stable stage and 35% are in a growth stage. However, corporates plan to hold on tightly to excess funds due to ever-changing COVID-19-related restrictions and the virus’ unpredictable trajectory. Thirty-two percent plan to hold onto excess cash for future financial investments, 29% for capital expenditures and 28% for debt repayment. Very…