Five key leadership traits that treasury professionals should have

Stability, a coherent vision and openness to new tech are among five key traits vital for treasury professionals

Facing all sorts of pressure from fluctuating foreign exchange rates to lack of liquidity in accounts, CFOs, treasurers and any treasury professional for that matter should be commended for the work they do in making sure a company’s finances are in order. Coupled with the difficulty of finding the right individuals and often having to work in a lean team, treasury professionals often need certain traits to succeed in today’s world. After talking to numerous CFOs and treasurers across the region over the last few months, here are five key traits that stood out and which we think are vital for treasury professionals.

A stable mindset is something any treasury professional should possess particularly when there is instability in the markets. For example, this could mean continuing to support key suppliers via a supply chain finance programme even during a bear market.

Many treasury professionals now look to push the boundaries of what is possible with their banking partner. Treasury professionals must be willing to challenge their partner banks and see what they can do for them regarding their specific issues as opposed to just accepting a product push. Co-creating and working on an industry-wide project together rather than just making a typical RFP (request for proposal) has slowly emerged as a common form of interaction.

Possessing a single and coherent vision that your treasury team can rally behind is critical as well. Instead of just being seen as a traditional cost centre, treasury departments today want to add value to an organization whether it is being a profit centre, generating alpha with excess funds or an offshore regional centre coordinating or centralizing financial activities in a particular sector.

Having an open mind and being willing to test new kinds of technology is important as well. In a transaction banking world where digital is dominating ongoing conversations, any treasury professional should be open to examining new options such as blockchain or API connectivity that can be a game changer for their internal operations by doing things like shortening payment processing times from days to just hours.

And last but not least, being able to ask the hard questions and have the willingness to solve them is a must for any treasury professional. For instance, do we have too many dormant accounts? Is our team large enough to handle the volumes we process? Should we change the banks we work with? These difficult questions should be asked on a regular basis by CFOs and treasurers.

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