We wish the treasury community around the world a very Happy New Year!

In my first communication of the year, I’d like to reflect a little on 2020 and what we have achieved together, before talking a little bit about 2021 and what I think it offers, if we grasp hold of it and make the best of our opportunities.

So, first of all I would like to thank all of you for your support in 2020. We have hugely enjoyed working with our colleagues in the treasury community around the world and I’d like to share some of the highlights:

  • four large-scale virtual conferences, with 8,300 delegates from 100+ countries, with 78 hours of content
  • 12 webinars on key treasury topics
  • 6 issues of The Treasurer magazine in print and 133 online articles
  • 1480 students studying virtually for ACT qualifications
  • 75 people attending our training courses, live and virtual
  • 22 treasury awards presented to leading treasury professionals, and
  • one unforgettable virtual Annual Dinner!

We are delighted to have a fantastic social community of 14,987 followers on LinkedIn, 3,989 on Facebook and 3,082 on Twitter, so why not join us there to keep up-to-date with all the latest ACT news?

2020 has really been the year of the treasurer, and we have been delighted to be able to support the essential work of these professionals who have been sustaining their organisations’ liquidity – the lifeblood of any company. The treasury community has risen to a challenge that has never been experienced before, and they ‘done good’.  The ACT similarly has not let anything come in the way of our objectives, our students being able to access learning as well as their assessments at all times (and we even moved some qualifications onto ‘on demand’), and we pivoted quickly to put on our first major virtual event in May. The team, like our treasurers, has kept up its energy and focus throughout, and I would like to thank them for all the hard work, including working at 80% pay for six months – voluntarily.

As we enter 2021, of course it is a natural time for real reflection. Treasurers are taking time, as are many others, to really think through what they want in life. As Viktor Frankl, the psychotherapist who survived the Nazi camps, writes, man or woman needs meaning in their life. We have sometimes been so caught up on the work hamster wheel however that, although we might enjoy our roles and the challenges we face each day, we have not taken time out to reflect.  But the pandemic has really accelerated the growing trend of mindfulness, and provided an opportunity, especially as we are faced with real life/death situations both closer to home and in numbers greater than we are used to, to consider what is really important in our lives. This may mean for some early retirement, and for others a change in career. But for many we are seeing that they are looking at self-development, and how they can enhance their business and behavioural skills as well as their technical skills.


The ACT has been leading the way in developing programmes which address the non-technical aspects of the treasurer’s role, whilst focusing very much on the technical, as ever. Our Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management for instance has an element to it in the (now virtual) residential that simulates a board presentation experience, and the dissertation is now presented to a panel as part of the assessment of the qualification. We also run seminars on strategic influencing and have a series of podcasts on self-development. We are seeing an uptick in interest in such self-development from our members and others, and this is healthy.  Not only as it’s good to focus on yourself at times and check in with yourself to see if you are going in the right direction, but it’s also a good way to take control of life whilst we are restricted in so many other ways. Study and learning bring both resilience as well as a certain structure to life, which can be helpful.  And to look back on these challenging times and say ‘I used my time well, and didn’t forget about me’ would be an achievement. Because we often do put work or others before ourselves, we will likely not be as effective as if we focused some time on our own development, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.


The other thing I would encourage, without trying to create further concern around the future, is to really embrace the virtual world. There are challenges with fatigue, of course, but the ACT has tried to be innovative and avoid that as much as possible. Also, we’re very adaptable as human beings, and whilst there are certain things ingrained in us that provide challenge when we are carrying out all communications through technology rather than in person, we are no doubt adapting and adjusting all the time.  So, we don’t know what the future will bring, though we hope to be meeting our friends and colleagues in person within months, and there will no doubt be further challenges of this nature over time, - so let’s be prepared and face them head on!

In the meantime, I’m going to be thinking of all the lovely things I will do when physical meetings and travel are again allowed, as well as creating new and different experiences within the constraints currently in place.

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