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© Sculpture: Jos Dirix
© Sculpture: Jos Dirix

Leaving the second Treasury Ivory Tower

Pieter de Kiewit 13-03-2020 12:34 PM
Categories: Treasury

Corporate treasury deserves a broader audience. And also calibre experts bringing the field to the next level. There are treasury related business opportunities, there is risk to mitigate and costs to be saved. The next level is achieved by, amongst others, the graduates of the post graduate program “Register Treasurer” at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Over the last decades I have seen many enthusiastic professionals raising treasury awareness among their colleagues in the large organizations they work in. So very big steps have been made in creating a broader audience. Treasurers are leaving their first ivory tower. In this blog I want to address leaving the second one. This might be a bit harder.

Organisations without own experts experiencing treasury exposure find two major hurdles on their way. The first is that they often do not have the awareness about what they miss out on. There are many priorities on their list and why do bank relations, FX management or alternative funding deserve a spot in their top5? There is no time and these topics are abstract and complex. Nobody they know will inform them.

The second hurdle is, that even if they have awareness, they do not know how to handle the problem or act upon the opportunity. Bankers often went from trusted advisors to sales agents, if they even pick up the phone. Big4 consultants often do not have the proper expertise, charge high fees and send a new youngster every year. High calibre treasury consultants have the proper expertise, but also their hourly rate can be quite stiff. 

We will also tear the second  tower down, investing in two paths.

There is a lot of very relevant expertise available. Former bankers, contractors, fintechs are there to step in if a treasury opportunity arises. Permanent employment is not the basis for transferring their knowledge to organisations that need their expertise. So you do not have to hire. Furthermore knowledge can be gained with low threshold education programs, events and through other sources. Parties like Hogeschool Utrecht, Alex van Groningen, treasuryXL and Euroforum open the market for those who are willing to search and learn. 

Then there is the awareness issue. First, treasury topics should be addressed in the environment where CFOs, controllers and entrepreneurs are. So not the specialized and dedicated LinkedIn Groups like “Corporate Treasurers” but in “MKB Nederland” (SME The Netherlands). Second, these topics should be described in language that appeals to the target group. So no showing off with specialistic lingo but clear messages telling about cost saving, risk mitigation and opportunity creation. Third, continuous repetition is the basis for awareness. So we should not stop writing, posting and presenting. It can be done!

I am convinced the treasury community will benefit from an increased awareness and knowledge of their field of expertise in the “mid-market”. We can be trailblazers and I invite you to broadcast your excellent treasury stories about the job you love. Let’s also tear the second ivory tower down!

Cheers, Pieter 

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