ATEL supports treasurers to remain employable
One of our role as Treasury Association is to make sure current and future members have access to best in class services in order for them to remain employable together with supporting those who are looking for new challenges. There are a lot of tools available to succeed in this project, and we must explain how to use them in order to ensure the future of the function.
As companies constantly seek to create value to satisfy their customers, a competitive workforce is a must-have to achieve their long-term objectives, and this goes with efficient support functions, just like treasury. Without a real dynamic of passionate learning, innovation, and the eager for value creation, treasury centers will certainly fail to provide the service level required by their company to succeed.
Do we Corporate treasurers have an attractivity issue with young financial professionals? Is it difficult to convince the millennials and generation Y to join treasury function?
I believe it is a visibility more than an attractivity issue. The treasury function is not well known nor fully covered in University courses (except very recently for of few of them), and therefore young financial professionals are more likely to be oriented towards the banking or audit industry (more popular) for their first job. That being said, I see it becoming a changing trend. Indeed, the new generation is looking for something different: they want to avoid monotony and be able to grow in their company. In that sense, the Corporate Treasury world is a perfect fit since it is constantly evolving. From Junior Treasury Analyst to Group Treasurer, there are lots of opportunities available for truly motivated and passionate treasury professionals. This function is becoming more and more strategic, and expectations getting higher each year, which makes it almost impossible to be a repetitive role.
"Working in treasury will put
you at the crossroad of your company’s activities and therefore will bring opportunities with it."
-Benjamin Defays, Treasury Analyst, Koch
Retaining treasurers can however be difficult, and this mostly (but not only) relies on the company’s management. Young professionals will not look for a boss at first, they will be looking for a mentor, a coach, a guide. They will seek challenges with clear objectives so that they can have a career vision. It is definitely not only about the salary. It is key to attract and retain talents within our organizations for the attractivity of the function, and therefore its sustainability.
How to remain “employable” in treasury? Is there any recipe or tips?
There definitely are some tips for that, and the receipt is simple: change your ingredients regularly, otherwise they’ll become quickly out of date and so will you.
This does not only apply to the youngers, since the function looks different each year. This applies to all treasury professionals.
You must read, learn, share and talk. There’re so many materials available (online and paper-based), training programs at all levels proposed by treasury associations across Europe (some available online as well), and most of all so many passionate professionals ready to share knowledge and best practice during treasury conferences, … Really, everything is out there to keep you up to speed and employable. That being said, it is true that treasury training programs are not always affordable and that not everybody has the opportunity to take on its holidays to free up some time and participate to those events. Employers have an important and key role to play here by supporting their employees in their approach. This must be seen as a long-term investment and a way to retain their staff.
What are the qualities treasurers must have these days to fit into their new evolving role?
Not speaking about the basics like foreign languages for example, team spirit, analytical skills, … there’re no doubts that technical knowledge is essential to fit and succeed in this role becoming more and more specific. Besides, strong IT and excel skills are often required. You also need to be open to change (e.g. new technologies), be proactive and creative.
Then, soft skills come into play of course. Communication is a good example, since you must understand your customers (the businesses) if you want to add value and be a strategic partner. By the way, ATEL proposes various training sessions in Luxembourg on soft and technical skills to help our members be more prepared. Don’t hesitate to visit ATEL’s website to be updated.
Do you think we can imagine a career in corporate treasury and how being successful?
Absolutely can. Working in treasury will put you at the crossroad of your company’s activities and therefore will bring opportunities with it.
That being said, it has broad and very specific responsibilities at the same time, which makes it sometimes complex to change role. It can be relatively easy to move from Back to Middle Office responsibilities for example, or become Cash Manager and then move to a more Front Office function. However, coming up through the ranks will require patience (and a bit of luck). This is important for the millennials and generation Y to assimilate: be patient, take time to learn, make mistakes (and learn how to avoid them), meet people, and take opportunities as they arise. These will be great assets in your career.
Also, one of the best ways to improve your skills in treasury is to see what others are doing, so… be curious! Invite your peers to visit your offices and show them what you’re doing, how and why. Ask them to share their best practices and try adapt it to your company the next day.
Do you think that the younger financial professionals and treasurers are developing their networks? (when I mean networks it is not LinkedIn or any other virtual network)
Surely not enough and the digitalization of (every)things is not really helping. It’s easier to stay at home and publish, share or like articles but you cannot truly believe this is networking. On top of that, even if it seems easier, you must take great care of your digital footprint. This is sometimes forgotten at the expense of reputation.
To be clear: no network, no sustainability, no job. It might seem a bit exaggerated that but I’m convinced that if you want to “guarantee” or at least protect the long-term perspective of your career, you have no choice but to build and maintain a real network. You cannot just be registered in an association and never show up or do nothing (what’s the purpose anyway?)
Luxembourg is very small and you can easily get weekly events on at least one subject you like, not too far away, and most of the time for free. It is good to talk with people and get a sense of what is done elsewhere, get out of your daily routine and bring something back at work the next day. I think this is truly adding value to your company, and your employer will certainly see it. Who doesn’t want employees who stay up-to-date?
"On one hand, treasurers are responsible for their own employability."
-Benjamin Defays, Treasury Analyst, Koch
I hope the new generation is aware of the stakes concerning the longevity of its career and the opportunities a real network can bring. I am confident that what we do at ATEL goes in the right direction and helps improve the situation.
What is ATEL doing to help its members to remain “employable” and to get the right skills? Have you launched some initiatives to give support to your members?
ATEL is composed of passionate people who make everything possible to make the function constantly grow overtime. Regarding the employability, we have launched several projects last year which we should reap the benefits of very soon: there is a conference on the Sustainability of the Treasury Function to happen in May 17th 2018 with key speakers on how to remain employable, how to retain talents and how to take care of our digital footprint (stay tuned on our website for more details) ; we have built partnerships with profilers and recruiting agencies to provide free assessments to our members when one gets lost or needs guidance (or even loses his/her job); we are working on giving more clarity and visibility on the so-many training centers and programs available using partnerships as well ; and we are spreading the word about treasury in local and foreign Universities in order to attract talents to Luxembourg. This is just the beginning of a long and yet interesting journey.
Although it might seem challenging, the sustainability of the treasury function is not that complicated to achieve: treasury professionals must keep informed about changes on the market and listen to career stories, advices from specialists and knowledgeable professionals, visions shared by treasury-peers, and maintain a real and dynamic network thanks to conferences organized by the various treasury associations. Most of all, they must have appetite for continuous learning. This is what is truly valued by companies who never stop trying to keep up with the competition. On one hand, treasurers are responsible for their own employability. On the other hand, ensuring a sustainable treasury function is also the responsibility of heads of treasury departments (employers) who have to attract new treasurers and retain them over time. It is their duty to train, guide and mentor their teams by sharing their skills, experience and tips, therefore safeguarding the quality, diversity, and variety of the job.
With qualified and trained treasurers who embrace change, treasury will become one of the most strategic partners of their company.