Treasury Talent

Question Answered: Education for all

Published: May 2020
Exam room with tables and chairs

This issue’s question

“What are the benefits of taking professional treasury exams?”

Portrait of Alessandra Mogorovich, FCT, Head of Accounts Payable, YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP

Alessandra Mogorovich

FCT, Head of Accounts Payable

Amongst finance departments, treasury professionals play a critical role that affects the financial health of any organisation.

Since the start of my career, by joining a treasury department, I’ve constantly felt that the team always wanted (and needed) to be one step ahead, not only by understanding and anticipating trends in the financial markets, but also in following the developments of a profession that is constantly evolving.

Even though I had graduated from a business school, I felt the need for a solid technical foundation for the skills that I was applying in my daily job. Through the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) Diploma in Treasury Management (AMCT), achieved in 2015, I’ve gained a 360-degree technical knowledge on the five areas of treasury and the access to up-to-date treasury resources has supported the shift of my focus slowly away from operations towards improving processes, with a positive impact on the quality of the job for both myself and my team.

Since joining YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, the leading online luxury fashion retailer, in 2017, my role as Treasury Manager has been to establish a more sophisticated working environment, by leading several projects necessary to build the operational backbone of the department.

In 2019 I was promoted to Head of Treasury and I felt that the expectation for the role in a fast-growing company required a new set of skills, to enable me to make a bigger impact in the organisation. In fact, in such an industry, I needed to become a forward thinker with a strong commercial acumen, able to face challenges at a more strategic level.

The ACT’s Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management (FCT), which I achieved in 2020, helped me to develop such competencies, not only by building on the technical foundation I had achieved through the AMCT, but also by training to become a “strategic treasurer” and “influencer”, able to use the appropriate leadership skills required in every business situation – particularly in the boardroom.

It was quite natural to change my approach in my daily job and the feedback that I have been receiving from my line manager both for the effort that I was putting into my studies and in the improved quality of the job I was delivering, was really rewarding. I’ve also started sharing the same approach with my team and the main benefit has been seeing them more involved in cross-departmental projects and becoming trusted partners in the organisation.

These achievements and qualifications helped build my confidence, to the point that I felt ready to accept a new challenge by moving into a role outside of treasury. In this role I have helped to redefine the operational processes and strategy, while implementing an innovative culture within the team, a change that was needed to redesign a department at the heart of the company’s business success.

Finally, the networking opportunities offered by professional qualifications are also invaluable: the peer group offers support not only during the preparation for the exam, dissertation and presentation but it also acts as a a platform to share problems, experiences and guidance due to the variety of the participants’ backgrounds.

As a treasury professional you need to accept that you will never stop learning: as the business evolves, you need to keep your knowledge up to date and the resources offered by professional qualifications make them a worthwhile investment.

Kunle Aladewolu, AMCT, MEng, MBA Manager Capital Markets & Treasury, Actualize Consulting

Kunle Aladewolu

AMCT, MEng, MBA Manager Capital Markets & Treasury
Actualize Consulting

Skilled and certified treasury professionals who have attained their qualifications through a recognised body are increasingly in demand for their particular knowledge set and ability to navigate through the critical financial, liquidity and risk management decisions facing organisations regularly.

Part and parcel of a certified treasury qualification, aside from the rigorous examination of the student’s industry knowledge, are a raft of benefits which further enhance the proposition for attaining a certification, including the following:

  • Demonstration of commitment to the treasury profession: a professional qualification is a significant undertaking consuming a substantial amount of time outside of one’s normal working hours. This is a sought-after attribute that employers view as a differentiator when recruiting for positions. A certification adds gravitas to your experience gained to date, in addition to demonstrating that you are well-versed in the principles and foundations of treasury.
  • Certain certifications are globally recognised, allowing qualified treasury professionals to migrate and work abroad more easily than their unqualified counterparts. There are abundant opportunities and rewards for those seeking challenges that will push their personal comfort levels and their limits of understanding when it comes to treasury careers and life goals where travel is concerned. Having a globally recognised professional qualification will speak volumes for you when seeking out such opportunities across the world stage, where the validation of competencies in treasury have been meticulously tested and certified.
  • Knowledge of good practice and current standards through continuous professional development (CPD): a key component of professional qualifications is the need to be up to date with current views on good practice, standards and relevant industry regulations via the accreditation requirement to recertify or enrol in CPD courses. It is paramount that we, as treasury professionals, are armed with the knowledge that can aid us in the ever-changing treasury landscape and keep us up to speed with the rapid evolutionary pace of banking, finance, and technology.
  • Industry networking and career-advancing opportunities: the ability to network amongst peers within the treasury community provides several advantages, especially given the treasury community is generally smaller and close-knit in comparison to other professional communities. Networking within the infrastructure that a professional association has built can prove more fruitful for discovering opportunities. If you’re in the professional services arena, you can obtain more client work. You will also have many opportunities to identify a mentor to aid in one’s career in treasury as well as uncovering other career-advancing or enriching prospects.

To those considering taking a professional treasury qualification, it is a highly rewarding experience that will significantly add breadth and depth to your knowledge, career, and professional network. The commitment demonstrated to the treasury profession through accreditation will undoubtedly pay dividends and is highly recognised by peers and employers alike.

Zarine Swamy, Head of Treasury, SOTC Travel

Zarine Swamy

Head of Treasury
SOTC Travel

Attempting and obtaining a professional qualification is certainly beneficial. Here are a number of points I believe to be worth considering:

  1. Professionals who are already in a particular specialised field of work can refresh their knowledge and upskill. In the corporate dynamic, it is beneficial: all things being equal, an individual with a professional certification will be considered over one without, for bigger responsibilities.
  2. Certification often helps individuals enter a certain field they wish to work in. I personally know of one individual who has been guided by her company towards Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) exams, awarded by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), so she can move into treasury.
  3. All things being equal, it may also play a role in an experienced individual landing a better role outside their organisation.
  4. It gives a direction to professionals to better implement the theories they have learnt in practice. The CTP details regulations and processes around, for example, cash pooling. A treasury professional of a company with branches in several countries can certainly benefit from her prior knowledge gained from CTP when it comes to implementing cash pooling. The qualification may also help individuals create solutions to their company’s existing problems.
  5. Obtaining certification is very beneficial if one wishes to enter the workforce of a different country. Many job listings for treasury roles in the US demand the CTP. Similarly, job listings in the UK demand an ACT qualification. While these may not be the only requirements for the role, the certification does give a certain edge.
  6. Again, the CTP for example, gives one a detailed perspective of US regulations, functioning of US-based treasuries, and best practices. These will help treasurers who are already functioning in US treasuries.
  7. My points 5 and 6 come with their own notes of caution. Prior to going in for a certification, it may be prudent to study the relevance of the certification in the environment in which one wishes to operate. If one wishes to work in a specific country, it may be wise to go in for the qualification most readily accepted there. Dubai, for example, holds the ACT in high regard when it comes to recruiting treasury professionals.
  8. Lastly, qualification/certification from a reputed body like the AFP has opened a lot of doors for me. I am talking about opportunities such as speaking at various finance forums, and the opportunity to share my knowledge in industry publications. These opportunities will also indirectly add weight to a resume.
  9. Lastly, going back to the drawing board to be a student does get those rusty cogs of the brain moving. It helps in keeping ‘over-30’ professionals like me agile and updated!

Next question:

“With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic likely to be felt for some time, how should companies be examining the effectiveness of their treasury policies and approach to financial risk?”

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