Name: James Harvey
Degree and University: Management Science, Loughborough University
Job Title: Financial Risk Manager, Rolls Royce Plc
What do you do?
I work within corporate treasury, at the heart of an organisation, dealing with key financial functions. Corporate treasurers work in-house within a corporate organisation, managing financial risks and ensuring that the business has enough liquidity (cash) to meet both short and long term demands. Large organisations usually have their own treasury department, whereas smaller companies will include treasury activities within a broader finance function. Professional services firms also employ treasury specialists to audit or advise on their clients’ treasury operations.
Most business projects will require treasury input at some stage, whether it is for financial evaluation, funding or risk management. Typical activities will depend largely on what the business is involved with at a particular time but junior-level employees can expect to spend some of their time managing cash and providing advice to different areas of the business. A typical working day lasts from 8.30 am until 5.30 pm. However, as with most jobs, days can become longer if there is an important transaction being undertaken.
How did you get into this role?
Graduates can usually gain experience in a treasury department as part of a broader finance training scheme but if you want to go straight into treasury it might be worth approaching a head of treasury with your CV. Common entry-level positions include
treasury analyst and treasury accountant.
Graduates can expect a combination of on-the-job training along with the opportunity to take professional qualifications with the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), including the AMCT Diploma in Treasury and MCT Advanced Diploma. Corporate treasury is also an area you might choose to pursue after taking an initial accounting qualification, however, accountancy is not a pre-requisite for entering this area of work.
What are the skills needed to do this role?
Working in treasury allows you to see what’s going on in an organisation as a whole so the work requires a good understanding of business and economics. The role can be very important and therefore highly visible to senior management.
The sums of money involved are often large and the transactions undertaken require an individual who can stay calm and focused under pressure. Aside from analytical and numerical competence, corporate treasury requires good decision-making skills, the ability to work to procedures and explain complex issues in a simple way.