A career in treasury
- 1. What is treasury?
- 2. Where do treasury professionals work?
- 3. What is role of the treasury professional?
- 4. Why are treasury skills valued?
- 5. What types of people are suited to treasury?
- 6. What are the career opportunities for treasury professionals?
- 7. How much do treasury professionals earn?
- 8. Want to progress your career?
What is treasury?
Treasury is a key finance function that is vital to the financial health and success of every business, large or small.
Treasury involves the management of money and financial risks in a business. Its priority is to ensure the business has the money it needs to manage its day-to-day business obligations, while also helping develop its long term financial strategy and policies.
Where do treasury professionals work?
Treasury offers a diverse career in finance with lots of opportunities. You could be working anywhere around the world, and for any type of business, from large global organisations, not for profit and government departments, to start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
The treasury function will vary depending on the size and nature of each business. Whatever business or type of organisation, treasury activities will always exist even if there is no treasurer or treasury department.
Large and multi-national businesses (such as FTSE 100 companies) are likely to have a team of treasury professionals across multiple regions and countries that operate as part of a wider finance division.
In small businesses sand start-ups, treasury will not be a standalone role/function. Instead staff in the finance team will carry out specific treasury activities as part of their day-to-day responsibilities.
Senior management may also be familiar with some treasury activities, and will know when to seek out expert advice as it’s needed. For example, if the owner needs to raise more money to grow the business, he’ll need advice from a treasury professional.
What is role of the treasury professional?
As a treasury professional you’re essentially a trusted advisor to the business on financial matters, always looking forward and planning how you can add value and drive success. The decisions you make will have a direct impact on performance and profits.
Your role is about managing the money and financial risks in a business. This involves making sure the business has the capital it needs to manage its day-to-day business obligations, while helping develop its long term financial strategy and policies. You’ll do this by focusing on how and where to put money – while managing any associated risks – to add value and drive business success.
Every business takes risks. It’s the treasury professional’s role to identify, assess and manage these risks so they support the business’s objectives. You’ll also help to identify and create new opportunities that could benefit the business.
Treasury in action – some examples:
- A business wants to expand its operations into a new region, which will generate significant revenue and create a competitive advantage. Your role is to assess the risk, weigh up the pros and cons and determine if this is a good move for the business. If it is, you’ll develop and implement a financial strategy that supports the business expansion.
- Economic factors such as interest rate rises, changes in regulations and volatile foreign exchange rates can have a serious impact on any business. Your role is to monitor and assess these market conditions, determine how these external factors could or will impact the business; and put strategies in place to mitigate any potential financial risks to the business.
Why are treasury skills valued?
Treasury is a diverse and exciting area of finance to work in. It’s a career that will see you make a real difference to the success for any organisation. Your role and responsibilities will vary depending on the size and nature of the business you are working in.
The skills you build will be highly transferable, valued and internationally relevant. They can also set you up for the most senior roles in business and finance by helping you develop important communication, leadership and people skills which make for a well-rounded professional. Whether you decide to stay in treasury or move into other roles, your experience will be enjoyable, challenging and full of variety and your skills and knowledge in demand.
Treasury skills - what makes the difference?
So what are the skills you need to be a successful treasury professional? These are outlined in the ACT Competency Framework, which sets the global treasury standard. As the chartered body for the profession, this framework defines the must-have technical, business and behavioural skills and competencies you need to be recognised as a well-rounded treasury professional. ACT qualifications and learning programmes are a recognised way of building accredited skills.
Technical skills – the expertise to shape and enhance corporate strategy and business growth.
For example you could be required to:
- Manage the business’s cash flows and liquidity by making sure it has enough money to pay its bills and meets its short and long term objectives
- Manage investments, this includes handling surplus cash and borrowing requirements
- Identify, assess and manage financial risks. Business leaders need to think about what could go wrong with their plans and part of your role is to help them do that
- Raise money to fund new business initiatives and put funding solutions in place so money is available whenever it’s needed
- Be involved in mergers and acquisitions. This includes raising capital and assessing the associated risks and opportunities
- Monitor external market conditions, determine how they may impact the business and plan accordingly eg are interest rates rising? How volatile are foreign exchange rates?
- Stay up-to-date on accounting rules, tax and regulation and how they may affect the business and your treasury activities
- Develop the financial strategy and policies to support business objectives.
Business skills – how you use your treasury knowledge and experience to work with and communicate with a range of stakeholders to meet the business’s treasury objectives.
For example you’ll need to:
- Be a confident communicator when talking to key stakeholders both inside and outside the business.
- Be the main point of contact when talking to banks, credit agencies, investment analysts, consultants and regulators etc.
- Collect, analyse and translate data into easy to understand information to help with problem solving and decision making across the business.
Behavioural skills – how to be a commercially driven professional who is accountable for your own actions, has persuasive influencing skills and can work effectively as part of a team.
For example you’ll need to:
- Persuade others in the business to support a particular idea or plan of action which could add value to the business.
- Work closely with people from across all parts of the business to ensure they have the money needed to fund projects.
- Work as part of a team to achieve both the team and business objectives.
What types of people are suited to treasury?
A career in treasury is for you if you are curious, interested in financial markets, technically skilled, enjoy making things happen, are good at problem solving, and love working with lots of different people.
In essence, you need a combination of technical, finance and social skills, together with a willingness to become closely involved in the business and its people. It’s also important you can win trust, are ethical in approach and act with integrity when making business decisions.
In-demand skills and character traits include:
- Good with numbers
- Technically capable and willing to learn and develop your skills
- Problem solving, big picture thinker
- Good at strategic thinking and planning
- Curious about the wider business with a desire to be in a pivotal role
- Open to variety and challenge
- Very good at attention to detail
- Driven, hardworking and self-motivating
- Outgoing and sociable
- A good communicator
- Excellent at building relationships
- Confident to work with people at all levels and from different fields
- Conservative in terms of financial risk and confident in handling it
What are the career opportunities for treasury professionals?
The treasury recruitment landscape is currently very positive. 2014-15 saw a marked pick-up in recruitment at all levels including an increasing number of opportunities for graduates, with more organisations now looking to place talent at entry level direct from university.
You can expect to be well rewarded, highly valued for your expertise and gain real satisfaction from knowing what you do can make a real difference to the success of any business.
Whether you want to work for large multi-national organisation, a charity, government agency or a start-up, treasury offers a diverse and lucrative career that can set you on the path to the most senior roles in business and finance and open up doors to international opportunities. Adding a recognised ACT qualification and membership to your CV can further enhance your employability by demonstrating your commitment to achieving and maintaining the highest professional standards. It can also give you a valuable edge in a competitive marketplace.
From entry level to board level, there are a huge variety of roles and job titles that include aspects of treasury. Some of these include:
- Treasury analysts, treasury dealers and treasury accountants
- Risk managers and cash managers
- Credit risk and financial analysts
- Group treasurers, head of treasury operations and tax directors
- Relationship managers and transaction services analysts
- Finance directors, financial controllers
- Managing directors, company secretaries
- Small business owners and entrepreneurs
- Non-executive directors
- Chief financial officers (CFOs) and Chief executive officers (CEOs)
How much do treasury professionals earn?
Salaries vary depending on the size, location and nature of the business. The role and your level of experience will also influence how much you are paid. Professional qualifications can also make a real difference in terms of earnings potential, eligibility for promotion and the speed at which you progress. Recruiters Brewer Morris and Hays are seeing increased demand for ACT qualifications which they say make candidates more marketable.
Broadly speaking, salaries for graduate and assistant level roles will start from £25,000 per year. In senior roles such as group treasurer you can earn from £100,000 per year. Bonuses and benefits packages may also be provided.
Broad salary expectations based on recruiter Hays 2015 salary survey for key treasury roles at different levels of seniority within FTSE 100/250 companies and Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) across London and the UK can be seen on the ACT Competency Framework overview by job level
Want to progress your career?
Qualifying is the biggest step of all. It’s the small steps you take after qualification that will continue to take your career from strength to strength. The following will help keep you on goal.
Keep your CPD up-to-date
Whatever stage you’re at in your career, ACT's Continual Professional Development scheme can help you plan and manage your professional development to meet your career goals. If you’re new to treasury, CPD can help you keep track of the skills and knowledge you develop along the way. But if you’re an experienced practitioner, CPD is relevant throughout your career as a way to add to your skills, support others and strengthen the profession as a whole.
If you have been keeping up to date with your CPD the chances are you technical know-how is more or less where it should be, it's the softer skills associated with leadership and communication that you may want to take a look at in your goal to become an in-demand well-rounded professional.
Develop your business and behavioural skills
The ACT career hub is a new resource for members and students providing information, tools and advice to support your career development.
If you are considering a move it can help you perfect your elevator pitch, and interview techniques or create tailored versions of your CV.
But the career hub is not just about looking for a new role. It’s about your development. By working through the online learning courses we have available you can develop the business, behavioural and character + commitment skills sections highlighted by the ACT Competency Framework.
Use the full online library of courses in career management and self-development to take control of your career and to develop your skills.
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