Corporate finance departments no longer operate separately from the rest of the company – increasingly, treasurer’s roles intertwine with the planning, analysis and strategy strands of the business.
This means, of course, that it is not enough just to have finance knowledge and accounting acumen. Treasuries are now looking to build a portfolio of skillsets across their teams that can help them transform into centres of excellence.
Drawn from recent research by the Wall Street Journal, here are six of the best ways to ensure that your treasury can compete.
1. Think very carefully about your talent search
To find people whose skills comfortably bridge the gap between finance, analysis and technology you’re going to have to search hard and pay high. Top of the list should be candidates that can identify patterns buried in data, understand ways that programming can query large transaction systems and are adept in running data queries and regression analyses.
These people will not be easy to find and, rather than hiring someone whose skillset doesn’t quite cut it, you might be better off training up promising people internally. Whichever way you go, be prepared to invest time and money. It will pay off.
2. Give the people what they want
Treasury is an under-tapped resource for information that can shape a business’ future, but if it’s to increase its usefulness to the company’s decision-makers and visionaries, it has to know what it’s actually looking for. Most treasuries understand that they need to share their data across departments, but flooding them with irrelevant material is frustrating for everyone.
Make sure you’re working closely with other departments to work out exactly what their pain points and goals are, what specific questions they need answering and what factors affect their decision-making. Then, use these questions to give laser-like focus to the way you interrogate your data, making you much more efficient and valuable to them. If you’re going to spend all that time gathering and analysing data, you want it to be meaningful.
To really make yourself indispensable in driving forward the business strategy, you can extend this approach to customers and partners, too. Most treasuries may have never seen themselves partnering up with the sales and product development teams, but there may be insights from the corporate finance team that help solve or inspire solutions for those outside of your organisation – not just within it. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
3. Upgrade your technology
Those at the top of their game, and especially at the younger end of the talent pool, like to know they’re working with cutting edge technology. Don’t disappoint them. Well chosen digital technologies can speed up internal functions and enable broader analysis, meaning that team members can feel that they are using their time in the most productive and efficient way, as well as making a difference to the organisation as a whole.
While it might not seem obvious, frustration with the pace and scope of work is a major killer of motivation and if you’re trying to retain the best talent in a tricky, evolving market, you don’t want to give them any excuse to get bored and move on. Investing in technology is one way to show that you are as ambitious and forward-thinking as they are.
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