Corporate treasurers help to shape a company's financial strategy and are responsible for managing its financial risks and investments
As a corporate treasurer, you'll play an important role in improving or maintaining the financial health and success of a business. You could be responsible for:
- determining financial strategy and policy
- advising on what businesses to invest in
- arranging appropriate funding
- managing financial risks in an organisation.
This is a varied and responsible role that ensures a company has the capital to meet its obligations, involving raising funds from banks, debt and equity markets and, in some companies, actively trading in the foreign exchange, commodity and money markets.
Other activities may involve dealing with property, taxation, insurance and pensions.
There are five core treasury functions that you could specialise in as a treasury professional, as defined by The Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), the chartered body for treasury. These are:
- capital markets and funding
- cash and liquidity management
- corporate financial management
- risk management
- treasury operations and controls.
Within these functions, typical work activities may involve:
- managing daily cash balances and trading in the financial markets
- ensuring that a company's cash flow allows it to operate effectively
- forecasting payments and anticipating challenges from limited cash flow
- undertaking risk management activities to protect financial well-being
- analysing impact of financial markets on performance of products or services
- making decisions about the use of company finances
- progressing financial projects, such as acquisition of another business
- evaluating the financial impact of new business ventures
- negotiating loan or overdraft terms with company bankers
- creating solutions to new financial challenges by applying financial or treasury knowledge
- liaising with other departments on a range of issues
- providing advice on financial matters impacting on the company as a whole
- supervising, and taking responsibility for, more junior members of staff
- liaising with bankers and investors to maintain positive working relationships
- keeping up to date with financial and industry developments
- attending board and senior management meetings
- making presentations to the company board on specific financial issues.
- Graduates entering corporate treasury at assistant or junior level can earn a starting salary of £25,000 to £35,000, increasing to £40,000 to £50,000 for starters above graduate level.
- Salaries for professionals with several years' experience range from £50,000 to £75,000.
- Typical salaries in senior positions depend on the company, location and complexity of treasury operation, but range from £65,000 to figures in excess of £150,000.
For corporate treasurers with professional qualifications and sufficient experience, there are opportunities for self-employment in consultancy or in interim management during times of change or crisis in a company. Average rates are between £300 and £1,000 per day.
Salaries generally tend to be higher in London and the South East and vary according to the type of role within a treasury department. Bonuses and benefits packages are also usually provided.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
Work is generally Monday to Friday with standard office hours, though these are often subject to extension during busy periods for meeting project deadlines and attending meetings.
Part-time roles are extremely rare.
What to expect
- The job is office based, but you'll travel frequently to company sites and for meetings with external organisations.
- You'll usually be based in the head office of a company, so opportunities can arise anywhere in the UK, although there is a strong concentration in London and the South East.
- Only companies of a certain size need corporate treasury, so opportunities tend to be within larger organisations.
- Treasury continues to be a male-dominated profession. Current figures show that 22% of ACT members are female and that females make up 33% of the student total.
- The job may be stressful at times and carries considerable responsibility.
- Business dress is usually required, particularly for meetings with City contacts, such as company bankers. Otherwise, dress will depend upon the culture of the company.
- There may be occasional travel to meetings and possible overseas travel, particularly if the company has international interests or is multinational. These tend to be short, planned trips.
This area of work is open to graduates from most academic backgrounds, but business or finance-related degrees are most relevant. The following degree subjects might be useful:
- business studies
Entry with an HND or foundation degree alone is highly unlikely.
A Masters in a financial or management-related subject would give you an insight into areas such as treasury and may give you an edge over other candidates.
Entry tends to be competitive due to the limited number of direct-entry graduate training roles.
Corporate treasurers, and other financial professionals who require knowledge of treasury management (for example, accountants or public sector financiers), take examinations administered by the ACT.
The key ACT professional qualifications are the:
- Certificate in Treasury Fundamentals (CertTf)
- Certificate in Treasury (CertT)
- Diploma in Treasury Management (DipTM)
- Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management.
The ACT also offers the Award in International Cash Management and the Certificate in International Cash Management, which are often relevant to those who work in financial institutions and banks who provide cash management solutions for corporate customers. Employers may provide funding and time off to study for these examinations.
Working towards professional qualifications as soon as possible may be helpful to your career development.
You'll need to show:
- strong interpersonal and communication skills, for liaising with senior management, operational staff and company bankers and investors
- good numeracy and analytical skills as well as IT literacy
- an interest in the financial markets and how they operate
- excellent attention to detail and accuracy, for dealing with company funds and managing substantial contracts and capital projects.
Having some relevant work experience will enhance your job applications, as it's important to be familiar with the nature and demands of the job.
Specialist financial recruitment agencies can be a source of permanent and temporary opportunities. Becoming a member of the ACT will be helpful and will get you networking early on to build up contacts.
Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.
Corporate treasurers work in the head offices of large companies in the private sector, many of which are based in London or the South East.
In the public sector, treasury specialists work in central and local government, health and education and the larger charities.
Experienced treasury professionals may also join management consultancies and advise clients on improving their cash management, capital raising and risk management procedures.
Current recruitment levels for treasury are positive and increasing and there is growth in demand for corporate treasurers in all industries. Financial institutions offer more specialist treasury opportunities.
The size of treasury departments varies in extremes from company to company. A large company will have anything from 3 to 50 treasury staff, while a medium-sized company would usually have 1 to 3 employees to fulfil its treasury functions.
Most aspiring treasurers will join as graduate recruits in the finance divisions of medium to large companies and multinationals, where the training programme may include placements across several specialised functions such as:
- financial and management accounting
- financial reporting
Look for job vacancies at:
Corporate treasurers usually undertake training for professional qualifications such as the Diploma in Treasury Management, offered by the ACT.
This is its core treasury qualification and delivers understanding and knowledge of the essential topics within treasury, risk and corporate finance. It includes three mandatory subjects:
- corporate finance for treasury
- risk management for treasury
- the treasury manager.
And a further choice between:
- financial reporting, tax and regulation for treasury
- working capital and trade finance.
For further information, see ACT - Diploma in Treasury Management.
The ACT also offers the Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management. This diploma is especially useful if you aspire to hold a senior position. It's pitched at an MBA level and is the UK's only professional qualification in treasury management.
Keeping up to date with developments in accounting and treasury is an essential part of the job. The breadth of many corporate treasury roles and the demands of increasing legislation can make this challenging, but gaining membership with the ACT may help.
The Treasurer magazine is published monthly by the ACT and is available as an online subscription. This is a good source of information on current developments within the industry.
There are not as many jobs in treasuries as there are in other areas of finance and if a department is small, opportunities for progression may be limited. However, many companies do have treasury departments, so taking a position in another company may be helpful for opening up opportunities or for increasing knowledge and experience. Being flexible about your geographical location can also help.
You'll need to take responsibility for your own development. Treasurers liaise with many departments inside and outside of their own companies, so there is potential to branch out into other financial areas.
From more junior roles as a treasury assistant or analyst, treasury professionals may progress to more specialised roles, perhaps as treasury manager in:
- corporate finance
- liquidity management
- risk management.
With sufficient experience and qualifications, you may be able to progress to the position of group treasurer and even more senior roles such as director of finance or chief financial officer (CFO).
Alternatively, some experienced and qualified treasurers may progress to other senior financial positions on the basis of their knowledge of accounting, tax and administration.
Companies not large enough to support a treasury function might consider applicants who have a treasury background and qualifications from the ACT for senior financial posts.