Are you trying to decide if a career in treasury is right for you? In this article, Caroline Stockmann, Chief Executive of the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) explores the basics of treasury to help you decide.
- what is a treasurer?
- what does a treasurer do?
- how long does it take to become a treasurer?
- how much do treasurers get paid?
- is a career in treasury right for you?
I always like to compare treasurers with accountants, given I, myself, was initially trained as an accountant. My observation is that treasurers look more externally and to the future, whereas accountants often look internally and to the past.
It’s natural that treasurers are reflecting on what has happened and are translating it into financial performance, or, when looking at forecasts they are basing them on trends and history in many cases. On the other hand, treasurers are looking at, for example:
- how to raise funds for a future project
- how to de-risk foreign exchange transactions for the future, and
- how to invest spare cash to make the best returns for the company.
These are just a few examples of what a treasurer does in their often very varied role, and hopefully you can see how forward-thinking much of that is.
Treasurers look at the financial markets as part of their role, so they are always thinking about the geo-political environment and its impact on their work – not necessarily as a specialist economist would, nor are they required to gaze into a crystal ball; however, they do get to engage in interesting conversations with senior stakeholders and offer their own expertise from their sound knowledge of financial risk (and opportunity).
There are various roles within treasury, and very large organisations might have roles which focus on one area of treasury, whereas smaller organisations might have roles that cover a broader variety of activity. The Group Treasurer role will oversee everything but will not necessarily be the expert in every area, as they will rely on experts in their team for things that are quite specialised.
For those of you wondering how long it takes to become a treasurer: well, it all depends on your ambitions. The Certificate in Treasury Fundamentals can get you to a basic level understanding of treasury in a few months. If you want to progress to work as an analyst or even manager, the next level, the Certificate in Treasury, could take 9 months to a year, but less time if you already have an accounting qualification. Our on-demand system allows you to take assessments at your own pace.
To become an Associate member of the ACT, an AMCT, completing the Diploma in Treasury Management, would take a further 12 to 18 months alongside working in a full-time job.
Having treasury credentials will of course help you progress in your role – not only due to the recognition that you have passed the requisite exams, but also because you will learn things you can apply to your role the next day. That’s something we pride ourselves on. And we support you all the way, so our pass rates are not a lottery where we only let a certain percentage through. If you work hard, know your stuff and perform well in your exams, then you will pass. We believe this is the only way to work, as quotas are unfair and outdated.
The expected salary for a treasurer varies depending on job level and the type of business you work for and tend to be higher than those of their counterparts in other areas of finance such as Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A). You can find out more about the skills and competencies a treasury professional needs in both financial and non-financial organisations and a guide to expected salaries in our Competency Framework.
First and foremost, I suggest to people thinking about a role in treasury to consider what it would be like, and whether it appeals to you after reading about it; and if you are excited about it, then just go for it! Then get yourself engaged in the community (becoming a member of the ACT offers lots of opportunity for that), get yourself learning, and you will have a bright future ahead of you!
Author: Caroline Stockmann, Chief Executive, Association of Corporate Treasurers
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