Comment: Peter Matza on engagement

The activities of the ACT and similar associations are helping the treasury profession to develop and grow

Many readers of The Treasurer – whether they are members or students of the ACT or not – often ask how the former practising treasurers who work at the ACT distil our accumulated knowledge and experience into an advantage for a professional body. What, for example, does an engagement director do? It’s a good question since we are spread across the functions of the ACT, but it also goes to the heart of how the profession can develop and grow.

I would see our advantage in probably three main ways:

  1. We take our accumulated knowledge and help to give presence to the ACT and other treasury associations, whether that is in education, commercial activities or external interactions. In the European context, that has been amply demonstrated by our partnership with the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (www.eact.eu) over the few years since the financial crisis.
  2. We use our contacts in the financial services and regulatory institutions to support those interactions. The phrase, ‘some you win, some you lose’, comes to mind, but you have to be in the game.
  3. We help the ACT to develop new relationships.

I think two particular areas of focus stand out for the ACT. Firstly, we are able to represent the profession publicly to formal authorities with a stamp of authenticity and credibility. There are many commercial networks and conference providers in the corporate and financial space, but none of them carry the weight that a Chartered body, such as the ACT, can. I make no apologies for having this as a central point for what we do, nor for taking the opportunity to repeat it across social media and other networks.

 We strive to develop knowledge and skills to better educate and train the treasurers of tomorrow 

Secondly, we are instrumental in the way in which the profession develops new relationships. This applies both in the commercial space, with sponsors and supporters, and in the intellectual space, with trade, academic and institutional bodies. It is never enough to stand up and say that we know how the world used to work, so that’s the way it should remain. We constantly strive to develop knowledge and skills so that we can better educate and train the treasurers of tomorrow.

Perhaps less obviously, the ACT draws upon a large network of volunteer treasurers and others to support what we do across all our activities. Even less well known is the non-public interaction we facilitate with legislative, government and regulatory bodies in the UK and EU by bringing them together with practising treasurers so they can better understand the needs of the modern, real economy. I can’t say it’s always to our advantage and, of course, there can be overriding issues, which, say, the G20 is trying to address, that have political dimensions. But the key issue is at least to be heard and appreciated.

From our CEO Colin Tyler (a former treasurer and FD) down through my fellow practitioners and our other colleagues, we are committed to these principles and hope to give the profession more traction and substance to its public and private faces. We can’t be sure, of course, how successful we will be, but I hope that at least we are moving in the right direction.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at the ACT events that we have in our calendar.

Treasury partnerships in action

The ACT is proud that it has partnered with the German treasury association, the Verband Deutscher Treasurer, for the ACT Europe Conference 2015 (see www.treasurers.org/acteurope) and the Hong Kong Association of Corporate Treasurers for our ACT Asia 2014 and 2015 conferences (see www.treasurers.org/node/9802).

About the author

Peter Matza is ACT engagement director

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