Now into its fifth year, the ACT’s annual survey of contemporary treasurers has been published and provides some enlightening information. Entitled, ‘The Business of Treasury’, the report provides data and findings from a survey on a wide range of issues such as board reporting, the strategic impact of treasurers, sources of funding and the importance of treasury qualifications.
The survey randomly selected 196 qualified treasurers from the ACT’s membership base who gave anonymised answers, which give us all the opportunity to look at what’s at the forefront of treasurers’ minds, what the profession needs and how it’s developing.
The full report can be found here, but drawing on one particular element of the survey, the responses we received on the significance of professional qualifications provided some interesting parallels with information we gleaned from treasury recruiters (read the recruiter blog here) at this year’s ACT Annual Conference in Manchester.
One of the headline findings from the report states that “treasurers are becoming more professionally qualified”, so it’s clearly no secret that, in order to get ahead, getting qualified is necessary. Indeed, 70% of the survey sample say they actively look for an ACT qualification or a willingness to study for them, when recruiting.
Speaking with treasury recruiter Martha Pierce from Hays at this year’s ACT Annual Conference, she also acknowledged the importance of ACT treasury qualifications, but goes even further with her recommendations for those who are relatively early-on in their careers: “To progress, individuals need to be qualified, get involved in projects, process improvements and gain exposure to the strategic-side of treasury.”
Experience of the variety that Martha refers to is clearly dependent on the role in which a new entrant finds themselves and how much exposure to they can get to projects and business strategy, but what they do have access to are qualifications and training courses from their professional organisation. With 78% of our survey respondents citing these as the best way to obtain new skills, ACT qualifications are not only convenient, but also the best approach, according to those we surveyed.
The report goes on to state that, “new entrants to treasury are still seen as lacking certain non-treasury skills such as communications and relationship management, and broad business understanding”, important ‘business and behavioural skills defined in the ACT Competency Framework. This ties in with Daniel Perriton’s, of Michael Page recruitment, experience at the moment. According to Daniel, there has been an increase in demand for staff at the more junior end, but, “with excellent communication abilities.”
Of course, it’s not always feasible to commit to a qualification. Time constraints in work and personal lives can be pose challenges, but there are other options available. Indeed, the ‘Business of Treasury’ report points out that treasurers, “can and do make use of ‘free’ training from banks, consultancies and others, especially in operational areas.” The ACT, for its part, also offers an extensive range of training courses which provide a less costly and faster alternative way of learning new skills that employers and prospective employers are looking for, albeit without formal accreditation. As Daniel Perriton of Michael Page says, “always ask for more! Potential employers love to see where candidates have gone above and beyond in their role and show a desire to learn.”