It is fair to say that the last few months have been unprecedented, certainly in my career, and therefore trends in the market have been more difficult to predict. However, there is a rule that tends to apply in any given scenario – that during times of economic uncertainty the role of the treasurer becomes more high profile and important than ever. It is safe to say that this rule has also applied to the Covid-19 crisis and the unusual macro-economic climate it has created.
Most treasurers in my network, regardless of sector, have told me that they have done about three years worth of work over the last 3 months. From bringing forward refinancing, raising additional finance and managing liquidity they have had their heads firmly down and their teams have been working flat out to get everything to where it needs to be in preparation for an economically challenging short to medium term.
Following this period of frenzied activity Treasurers and other senior finance leaders are now finding time to catch their breath. First on everyone’s agenda is a break…this spell has been intense and working from home has seen more treasury professionals working longer hours than ever, often with other family members at home in addition, and it has taken its toll. Most people in my network are taking time away from the desk in August as part of what feels like a collective reset.
Next up is going to be a plan for moving forwards and as companies start to think about heading gradually back into the office, thoughts are also turning to recruitment and people planning. We are already starting to see an increase in roles coming through, initially at the treasury analyst/treasury manager level and often on an interim basis which is exactly what we would expect at this point in the cycle.
As we move towards the final quarter of this year we should see many more Treasury roles coming to the market (including more senior and permanent positions in addition to the current flow) as organisations of all sizes take the decision to up-skill their treasury department or to hire a first treasury professional in anticipation of a less stable and more challenging environment to do business in next year.
Raising finance will undoubtedly be more challenging than in recent years, CFOs will want real-time, accurate liquidity and forecasting information, and treasurers will need to be strategic in their approach to risk management to navigate the challenges, and indeed opportunities, next year could present.
This should all mean that there is plenty of scope for strategic and ambitious treasury professionals to progress either internally or externally over the next 12 months and it will be a good time to attract talent that has been up-skilled more intensely due to this period.
If you are starting to think about your team planning or if you are considering your next career move, please contact me via email or on 0207 332 9598.