At a fundamental level, working in treasury means you will be helping to ensure that your organization has enough cash in the right place at the right time to continue business uninterrupted, even in times of stress. Working in treasury means working as the link between your organization and the financial markets.
The treasury function plays a critical strategic role by raising the appropriate type of funding at a reasonable cost to the organization and allocating this financial resource dynamically, responding as the needs of the business change.
Successful businesses have effective treasury management at their core, with large companies investing in skilled treasury professionals and technology to manage liquidity and its associated risk. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in 2023 offers stark evidence of what can happen when liquidity within an organization dries up.
Working in Treasury
Liquidity management is at the heart of treasury management. Incoming cash flows and short-term funding must be sufficient to meet outgoing cash flows. Treasury professionals will take the company’s excess liquidity (i.e., cash) and invest it in short-term investments, where security, liquidity, and yield are carefully analyzed.
Risk management is the other central area that treasury professionals manage. External risk factors, such as FX, interest rate, and commodity risks, will impact access to appropriately funded liquidity. Treasury management will monitor, measure and mitigate these risks based on the business’s risk appetite.
Managing liquidity and risk in large, complex organizations is a huge challenge, and today’s treasury management is more dependent on technology than ever.
A Typical Day for a Treasury Professional
A typical day in treasury will depend on your organization’s industry and whether you are a treasury analyst just starting your career or a senior treasury professional.
As a treasury analyst, you might start your day by analyzing and interpreting financial data extracted from internal ledgers and financial databases. You will need to highlight any areas of concern to the business, such as breaches in liquidity thresholds in certain lines of business.
Later in the morning, you have meetings with senior business leaders. You will present treasury reports and other financial market information you helped prepare. These reports will form the bases of important decisions that will be made to support the business’s strategy.
After lunch, you might work on data management for one of the financial management systems your department uses. You’ll collaborate with your treasury technology colleagues to ensure accurate data, providing confidence in your decision-making.
Later in the day, you will attend meetings about upcoming regulatory changes directly impacting the treasury team. Colleagues from liquidity and market risk could also participate in this meeting.
You will report directly to the Chief Financial Officer if you work in a senior treasury role. You’ll collaborate with other senior business leaders to ensure day-to-day business operations and longer-term strategic objectives are supported from funding, liquidity, and risk perspectives.
You’ll play a key role in advising internally concerning regulatory management of capital and liquidity requirements and be the key relationship holder with banking and other funding providers.
Treasury Qualifications and Experience
At the analyst level, organizations prefer accounting, finance, economics, or math degrees. Some universities and colleges offer treasury-related qualifications.
You may need to complete a professional qualification, such as the Certified Treasury Professional or Chartered Financial Analyst program.
Due to the link between the financial markets and treasury, many people working in treasury have experience in the finance or banking sector. People with expertise in risk management are highly regarded when seeking roles within treasury.
Required Skills for Treasury
Working in treasury requires exceptional analytical skills, particularly financial and numerical skills. Excellent computer skills with programs such as MS Excel, Access, and Power BI are critical as you will work with and analyze large amounts of data.
Effective time management is required as you work on regular day-to-day activities and longer-term projects. You need to be detailed-oriented but able to translate this detail into a high-level commercial view.
You will need strong communication and interpersonal skills to work successfully with diverse internal and external stakeholders, including businesses, external funding providers, and regulators.
Compensation and Career Development in Treasury
Working even in junior treasury roles will see you earning a competitive salary. As you progress in your treasury career, your compensation will increase significantly, reflecting the critical strategic importance of the treasury function within an organization.
Working in treasury offers many benefits, which have increased in recent years as the treasury function becomes more critical to large, complex organizations. Further, working as a treasury professional is industry-agnostic, as all medium-to-large organizations require expertise in treasury management.
As your treasury experience grows, you may have the opportunity to move into treasury management roles before progressing to senior business positions, such as financial director or chief financial officer.
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