What is a Treasurer?
The term “Treasurer” is steeped in rich history, and as such, a Treasurer is many things to many people, or rather, it’s many things to many industries. Therefore it’s vital for both the financial professional and wider corporate and public service industries to understand the critical job role differences between a Treasurer within the corporate sector, government, Courts (in some countries), volunteer organisations and other subdivisions of the above, and the difference between a Treasurer and other senior financial positions in any company.
A treasurer is ostensibly responsible for looking after, raising, and monitoring the flow of money and liquidity in any organisation. The responsibilities of a Treasurer do intersect with other senior finance roles within a company, but the job’s scope is mostly dictated by the size of the company.
A Treasurer is a financial overseer, and in larger organisations they sit or are next to senior leadership, such as an CFO, and generally advise and take responsibility for Credit Managers, Risk Managers, FP&As, Insurance Managers and Financial Controllers.
In smaller companies, or in volunteer organisations like charities, Treasurers are one-person financial superheroes, taking responsibility for cash flow, liquidity, stocks and financial research, cross-organisation financial stakeholder management, compliance, hiring and the training of financial staff.
Treasurers are financial parents, catering for, looking after, monitoring and advising often disparate departments both inside and outside of finance about cash flow and monetary policy and management.
Treasurers in the main require significant financial experience and knowledge to do their job to a high degree. The Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) provides a distinct career framework, training and qualifications for becoming a Treasurer. Whilst financial knowledge and skill sets can be parallel to that of becoming an Accountant, due to the significantly more strategic and overseer nature of the role of Treasurer, the path to becoming one can take a non-accountancy route. A degree in accountancy, business studies, economics, finance or maths will stand you in good stead, and alongside relevant experience provide the background needed to succeed in this role.
The key ACT professional qualifications are:
- Certificate in Treasury Fundamentals (CertTf)
- Certificate in Treasury (CertT)
- Diploma in Treasury Management (DipTM)
- Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management
Work experience is absolutely vital to work as Treasurer. The cash flow critical nature of the role means any individual in this role has to display acute attention to detail and have a solid, and proven, understanding of their market and inter-department communication and collaboration.
Due to the rapidly changing environment of finance, and new models of cash ownership, use, transference and credit, Treasurers are required to be experts in their field – and, due to the fact Treasurers are required in almost every industry (to some degree), there are a wide array of work experience opportunities present to finance professionals interested in a Treasurer career.
An internship within a financial firm or department that has elements of financial controlling, cash management, accounting or credit control will stand any Treasurer candidate in good stead. In theory, the same channels of internship and training that supports a career into accounting are appropriate to become an Treasurer, but take stock of roles that have business, economics and strategic management options also.
What skills are needed to succeed as a Treasurer?
No matter the size of the enterprise you work in, your role as Treasurer means you’ll be sitting at the right hand of financial decision-makers, providing them with up to date cash flow, credit, investment and fiscal health advice. As such, you’ll be expected to be a natural leader, a competent communicator and an authority on fiscal prudence. You’ll be expected to provide diligent leadership-level advice to everyone from investors to credit controllers, CEOs to interns – therefore strong communication skills are vital.
Treasurers have to always have one eye on the money – this means having a dispassionate, eagle eye for financial analysis and the ability to build relationships with analysts, especially risk analysts and individuals who work in credit, insurance, loans and borrowing.
Fund management experience and maths
Treasurers cannot be nervous about decision making. Therefore, any experience in fund management, or skills with managing large accounts is a requisite, but second to that is a confidence and diligence with maths, statistics, modelling and capital fund basics.
A genuine interest in financial markets
Cash is, of course, finite, and your reach as Treasurer hinges on many departments’ cohesion, and their ability to inform you of cash flow data. However much of the wider risk and data crushing can be gleaned in part from your handling of financial markets. Your senior role dictates you should have a profound interest in finance, banking, investments and monetary policy.
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