Relationships matter

1 November 2011

Technology has yielded many benefits since “big bang” a quarter of a century ago however as any experienced treasurer knows, strong relationships with financial institutions are vital to the success of their business. Built over many years, even decades, they are honed by experience, and constantly tested by adversity.

We are in for testing times. Have you done your regular winter service check? Strong relationships are also vitally important to the ACT.

Since I have joined the ACT I have been welcomed by my peers in other national treasury associations. Clearly we have a common worry and a shared purpose. Tougher and more complex regulation beckons. Funding will in all likelihood become more expensive and increasingly polarised. This does not sound at all attractive. We need real growth. Every week we seem to have another proposal or suggestion which has the effect of increasing regulation, complexity or cost to the real economy- often as the unintended consequence of seeking to solve another perceived problem. The impact of regulation and the Voice of Corporate Treasury were topics discussed both by the EACT and at our member meeting recently held in New York. Our members in New York bring a different perspective to practitioners in Europe, as do all our members around the world, giving us a global network to leverage. We have also held member meetings in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Africa in the last year.

New records are being set all the time at the ACT. First of all, welcome to the State Bank of India, London branch. They have become the ACT's 100th corporate member. I am also delighted to report that during the October exam sittings we had more students sitting our exams in more countries than ever before - 1,300 students in 89 separate locations throughout the world. This is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the hard work of James Lockyer’s examinations team. I wish the very best of luck to all our students. Together, with the help of other national treasury associations, we are raising the educational standards of the treasury profession. I would also like to congratulate my colleagues in the French national treasury association (AFTE). They celebrate their 35th anniversary this month – that’s three years older than the ACT. Congratulations to Philippe Messager, President AFTE and his team.

For some time now we have had established global relationships with all of the UK accountancy bodies, and in the coming months will be supporting ACCA CPD events in Hong Kong and Singapore. Also hot off the press: we have just signed an agreement with the Hong Kong Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) who recognise ACT qualifications as an excellent CPD product for their members. Tuition for examinations in the coming year will be offered in at least six countries including Hungary and South Africa, and we will have flagship events in Dubai and Hong Kong. In fact, our Middle East Annual Conference in Dubai is only a few weeks away closely followed by our inaugural Cash Management Conference in Hong Kong in January 2012. These events are truly international - just like our Certificates in International Treasury Management and International Cash Management.

Building the ACT’s international profile with the accountancy profession, the ACT was privileged to attend the October meeting of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)’s Professional Accountants in Business Committee. IFAC’s aim is “leading the sustainable development of the global accountancy profession” and the meeting provided an excellent opportunity to share concerns and visions for the future between the accountancy and treasury communities. We look forward to working further with the PAIB Committee in support of specific projects and further articulating opportunities for accountants to add value to the business, as envisaged in IFAC’s Competent and Versatile position paper.

ACT Policy and Technical was again at the three UK political party conferences this autumn as part of a long term programme of raising the ACT’s profile with national politicians and MEPs interested in financial issues affecting business and commerce. Then as the culmination of earlier inputs by the ACT, we were invited to give oral evidence on the report of the Independent Commission on Banking in front of the MPs on the Treasury Select Committee - a first time for the ACT.

So are the mists clearing? Is it now worth going the extra mile? Find out at our next popular breakfast briefing on 24 November, Basel III for treasurers – are the mists clearing?

However, building the ACT reputation and profile both in the UK and globally stretches our resources, and now more than ever our members play a key part in growing our profession. ACT Regional Chairs will be one of the ways that we will spread the word, make new friends and grow our presence both inside and outside the UK. For more than thirty years the ACT has been shaped and supported by the willingness of our members and non members to volunteer. We need you for the next thirty years! If you would like to be more involved with the ACT please email voice@treasurers.org or contact Ria Robinson for an informal chat.

I hope to see you all at the Annual dinner on 9 November. What a great way to round off a tough year, let your hair down and enjoy the company of others.

By Colin Tyler

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