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The critical skills and personal qualities you need for future success in treasury

The role of treasury has become increasingly demanding over recent years, with the rise of globalisation, the onslaught of new treasury technologies, the pressures of regulations and compliance, and not to mention the more strategic role treasury is now playing in boardrooms around the world.

BUT what does this mean for you on a day-to-day basis as treasury practitioners?

What skills do you need to master in order to cope with these evolving pressures?

What skills do you need to consider as leaders in the industry today, to ensure that your teams are future-proofed and ready to take on these challenges?

Well after many months of research and many hours of in-depth discussion with some of the most high-profile treasurers in the industry, we have compiled the ultimate characteristics and skills assessment tool which we are calling…“THE TREASURY SKILLS WHEEL”

Treasury Skills Wheel

The ‘Treasury Skills Wheel’ is made up of 12 key skills and qualities a treasurer needs that have also been identified as critical to success. Skills that every treasury professional should aim to master as part of their long-term career success. The skills are broken down into two categories:

  • Hard Skills – classified as ‘teachable’ skills or those that are easy to quantify, and;
  • Soft Skills – which are a combination of people skills, personality traits and attitudes

The mix and required amount of expertise within each skill will vary depending on your level of experience and the type and scope of the role you are performing, but the principle here is ensuring a full breadth of expertise across each of these core skills – you will ensure you de-risk your future and remain ‘future-proofed’ for the market changes that lie ahead.

Top 4 hard skills

1. Qualifications

In some professions, a specific qualification may not be needed but in treasury and/or finance, the more qualifications, the better. That is not to say that qualifications should be viewed in isolation. Individuals should not be excluded because they don’t have one or included just because they do BUT possessing a qualification can certainly help to add another level of expertise and theoretical knowledge that will unquestionably add value.

2. Diverse Experience

As the role of treasury evolves, gaining as much experience in as many different areas as possible will enable you to flex and adapt to the changing demands. A robust team is filled with people who are able to bring different things to the table. Those that have different points of view and different examples and experiences to draw from.

3. Project Management

As treasury professionals, you are increasingly required to step out of your traditional roles and take on additional responsibilities. This has led to project management becoming an increasingly prominent part of the role, whether through systems implementation, acquisitions or development of new financial models. Whatever it may be, gaining strong project management skills will be a real differentiator.

4. Technical Expertise

Today, the world of treasury and technology go hand-in-hand. As treasury professionals, you need to embrace these developments and recognise the value it can add to the industry and to your roles. It allows you to streamline processes and move to more efficient ways of working. By developing a breadth of systems and technology expertise you will be in far greater demand.

Qualities of a good treasurer – why are soft skills more important than ever?

Soft Skills are behavioural skills – a combination of personality traits and attitudes and in some respects, you could argue that these are the areas where the most improvement is needed. Ten years ago, the corporate treasurer was almost siloed and segregated from the rest of the business. Today it is a different story. Treasury is now much closer to the operation and much more high profile than ever before, which naturally brings with it a new set of skills that the treasurer will need to embrace.

Top 8 soft skills needed

1. Relationship Building

The role of the treasurer has always involved aspects of relationship building and stakeholder management but today, strong relationship-building skills are more critical than ever. Treasury has a real ‘seat at the table’. It has become a business advisory role, supporting in key business decisions compared to the operational function some regarded it to be in the past. This brings with it the need to harness and cultivate stronger relationships.

2. Communication

As the role of treasury has become more valued and recognised across the business from an operational perspective, the need to effectively communicate with a wider audience has become more important. It is no longer treasurers talking to treasurers or other finance partners. It involves articulating complex situations and problems to non-finance people. So mastering your communication skills and adapting them to different environments is key to future success.

3. Propensity to Learn

Treasury continues to evolve and grow bringing new challenges and demands. As a result, it is absolutely essential that any treasurer possesses a desire to learn. A hunger to constantly develop. An innate curiosity to broaden their knowledge.

4. Strategic Thinking

The role of the treasurer has become more strategic over recent years, moving away from the more transactional and operational function it was considered to be in the past. Technology advancements have played a big part in this shift. As processes have become more automated, treasury teams have had to demonstrate and add value in other ways. As a result, being able to think and act strategically has become an absolutely essential skill for success.

5. Risk Tolerance

With any strategy or strategic decision, comes an element of risk. As a result, being open to taking risks will be a critical skill for any treasurer in the future. Naturally, risk management is a major part of the daily life of a treasurer, but when we think about managing risk in the sense of our own personal development, it brings on a whole new meaning. If you can intelligently take on risk, and be courageous enough to rise above your fears, you will certainly find opportunities that others will miss.

6. Change Resilience

The role of the treasurer and treasury function as a whole is constantly changing and this pace of change does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. As a result, being able to embrace change will become an essential skill to master.

7. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is about demonstrating eagerness for a particular task. Feeling energised and passionate about what you are doing. If you lack enthusiasm, the task will feel very laborious and most likely you will feel a bit unhappy with what’s going on. Of course in any job, there are going to be some tasks that you find dull, that’s just life. Although if you are finding that you’re spending more time feeling bored than you are enthused, perhaps you are in the wrong job!

8. Personal Drive

If you were to look at the qualities of a treasurer. Or the people you are most inspired by whether professionally or personally. It is likely one of their main qualities will be ‘personal drive’. This is your intrinsic desire or motivation to achieve a certain goal. People with strong personal drive tend to be very action and results-oriented. They are able to stay focused when times are tough or challenging. They are more determined to bounce-back from disappointments or setbacks. Having people with these characteristics within your teams can obviously be considered very valuable, particularly in the industry in which we operate where change is a daily occurrence!

So, there you have it. The Top 12 skills and characteristics of a treasurer required for future success and an overview of our highly publicised Treasury Skills Wheel.

One final thing to say – please remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time to develop these skills personally, and time to nurture and grow these skills within your teams. It is also, not a case of “YUP, mastered that skill, NEXT!…” It is an evolution. It will involve continuous investment and focus, but it is without question that it will be an investment well worth making.

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