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How Treasury Can Benefit from the Government Threatening to Default

June 21, 2023

Corporate treasury teams can leverage the recent debt-ceiling standoff to improve their preparedness for future crises.

One of the most important lessons learned from the recent debt-ceiling standoff is that the U.S. government is capable of having cash flow problems. Obviously, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen faced a very different situation than the typical corporate treasurer trying to overcome a temporary cash crunch. Still, the threat of running out of cash struck a nerve with many treasurers.

The federal government was able to solve its recent liquidity challenge by raising more debt—extending the borrowing ceiling and kicking the proverbial can down the road for another two years. That’s where any analogy with corporate America stops, as companies’ treasury and finance leaders operate within a very different playbook than Janet Yellen does. But the narrowly averted crisis does offer some important takeaways for CFOs and treasury teams, strategies and tactics they can apply to their own cash, liquidity and risk management practices.

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