What is the “right” next step for a Treasury Manager to further their career?

Author Sam Roberts
March 12, 2024

Over the last 12 months there has been strong demand from businesses for permanent, mid-senior treasury professionals. Each position at this level will have its nuances and key points of difference, which means that there are many things to consider when deciding what the right next move looks like.

When discussing the “next step” with candidates currently working at Senior Treasury Manager (or equivalent) level, the first question we ask is: Would you like to be part of a bigger business/team with less responsibility, or part of a smaller team, and lead the function?

How do different sized businesses impact the Treasury Manager role?

Large businesses

Typically, the larger components of the FTSE100 (or equivalent size) will have bigger treasury teams that could consist of 15+ individuals. This results in a narrower remit of day-to-day responsibilities for individuals in the team given the larger volume of work and more complex nature of the treasury functions.

Being in a larger business, reporting lines will also be impacted. The Senior Treasury Manager would often report into an Assistant Treasurer, as opposed to the Group Treasurer or Head of Treasury in a smaller business. Given this extra layer of hierarchy, the Treasury Manager will likely have less impact on strategic decision making and be further from the “high-level” conversations.

In spite of these things, a larger business will often have a broader geographical footprint and therefore a more complex risk framework. Therefore, while it may be a sidestep in job title, it is a valid role to consider when looking for the next step, as there is progression to be had in the exposure gained in a more complex business.

Further to this, given the complexity of a larger business, there will likely be the opportunity to gain more in-depth experience. For example, the risk management framework of a larger business will generally be far more complex, allowing an individual to take a real deep dive into that area, becoming an expert. There might also be a path to become even more specialised and you could become an expert in particular areas such as risk management, cash management, or financing.

Medium businesses

The treasury function of a mid-sized business will have a different team structure and responsibilities. Compared with a larger team, a Senior Treasury Manager role within a slightly smaller business will most likely report directly into the Group Treasurer, meaning that this role could have full remit of operational treasury and day-to-day responsibilities and will be slightly closer to the more strategic conversations. These kinds of team structures are also likely to bring more management responsibilities alongside the day job. That said, it is also likely that in a medium-sized business there is a smaller geographical remit and therefore, there is less to consider with regards to the treasury footprint, making the function of the treasury team slightly more operational.

Small businesses

On the extreme end of the scale, there is also the chance to move into a smaller business in a Head of Treasury role. This role would most likely report to a Finance Director, or even the Chief Finance Officer and therefore, this position would be heavily involved in the strategic conversations. This would be a move to really develop strategic thinking and leadership skills. Being involved in these more strategic conversations will give you the opportunity to develop your commercial skills as well as the increasing need to interact with more departments and teams around the business.

Being the most senior person in the treasury team can sometimes mean being the sole treasury professional. This might also mean no management responsibility, however, if you come in as a sole treasury professional, in the longer term there could be the chance to build and grow a team which would give you the opportunity to really develop those leadership skills further.

Ultimately the decision of what type of business to develop your skills at is very much going to come down to what your personal goals are and where you want your career to go to in the longer term. There could also be other factors at play in your decision making. For example there might be a particular sector you want to experience and learn about or an interest in a particular geographical region. If you have already identified that you want to develop your leadership skills to manage and grow a team, moving to a smaller business might give you a great steppingstone to this. But if you love the technical nature of treasury, then a big business could give you this chance.

For more information on the current treasury recruitment market please contact Sam Roberts.

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