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How to explain what treasury is to family and friends?

| 09-08-2019 | by Pieter de Kiewit |

Your mortgage, credit card, holiday money and current account have business equivalents. They are managed by corporate treasurers. The title question, or variations, is one I have to answer quite often. Even more around the holidays, when I always meet my relatives. I am tweaking the answer constantly. Connecting private and business is my current strategy. Perhaps you (expert in the field or layman) can let me know if this explanation works for you.

You have a current, savings and perhaps other account. You pay the rent, groceries and a beer. You use a debit or credit card, cash, a cheque, paypal or other channel. You take care only you and the people you trust have access to your money. Corporate treasurers build and maintain a banking infrastructure that allows payments. They think about who is allowed to make payments (often they are), who can authorize (not a payment person), what bank to use and potential other payment channels.

You have a mortgage or personal loan so you could buy a house or pay for groceries when at the end of your paycheque the month did not come to an end yet. Corporate treasurers find funds necessary for their company and have a wider set of products available like bank credit facilities, bonds or new equity.

You feel fluctuations in interest and currencies when you cross the border to another currency country. Your mortgage, current account and credit card come with an interest. Both currencies and interest change over time: financial markets are not stable. Many of us just accept these changes. Corporate treasurers think and manage these risks: they think about the currencies in commercial contracts, about the length & price of various funding products and about mitigating the risks, for instance using derivatives.

Of course the above description is an oversimplification of the position. Treasurers have many other tasks and the complexity in a corporate environment is higher than a standard household situation. Furthermore I want to stress is that treasurers are not bookkeepers or controllers: they do not send or receive invoices and do not write the annual report. They manage actual money flows.

 

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit

Owner Treasurer Search

 

Give your career a boost and become a Register Treasurer

| 29-07-2019 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

Over the last weeks we shared blogs with profiles of Register Treasurer (RT) graduates with their motives, experiences and career paths. The blogs give you a better insight in the type of treasurers that are “RT material”.

You can read the following RT stories:

Jarno Timmerman | Treasury Director at Nike

Michel van Baardewijk | Treasurer at Vestia

Richard Blokland | Corporate Treasurer at NewCold

Mathieu Ummelen | Interim Treasury and Corporate Finance Professional

The RT program brought all the above graduates to a higher level in their career as Register Treasurer.

Executive Treasury Management & Corporate Finance programme

The post-graduate Executive Treasury Management & Corporate Finance programme combines two finance disciplines: Treasury Management and Corporate Finance. These disciplines largely overlap and are inextricably connected.

This post-graduate executive programme has now been running for more than 20 years at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. It is a unique programme both in the Netherlands and abroad.
The programme will be delivered entirely in English to appeal to the increasingly large community of non-Dutch-speaking finance professionals in the Netherlands.

Participants successfully completing this post-graduate executive programme will be awarded with the title of Registered Treasurer. This title is well-known and widely recognized within the treasury professionals’ community.

The curriculum consists of 6 modules, each of which covers a clear sub-discipline in Treasury Management and Corporate Finance. Each module comprises approx 8 lecture days on Thursdays (from 15:30 until 20:00). It is an intensive and efficient 18-month programme.

The post-graduate Executive Treasury Management & Corporate Finance programme is a strategic partner of the Dutch Association of Corporate Treasurers (DACT). Partners in the programme are KPMG, Orchard Finance, PwC, and Zanders Treasury & Finance Solutions. Senior affiliates are programme lecturers.

Exemptions apply to alumni of Dutch RC and RA programmes.

More info here

Corporate Treasury have a problem and this is why…

| 23-07-2019 | by Pieter de Kiewit |

Cost savings created by good treasurers easily exceed the sum of salaries of their team. They can help open doors that otherwise stay closed for their business colleagues and they can help avoid risks. Then why do they have this modest seat at the table of CFOs and are they often not considered for succession of her/him? Why are SMEs complaining about the lack of funding opportunities, when treasurers have them available? Why are Basel regulations made by bankers and politicians, where are the corporate treasurers? Why does treasury education not have a more prominent place in education? Why do bankers earn the bigger bucks? Corporate treasury has a PROBLEM!

The non-treasurers (CFOs and business owners) often do not know, so they do not consider this a problem. I think they should, given my introduction. The treasurers I meet often experience the problem: they want to be educated, make career progression, be involved in business and have better salaries. Why do controllers or non-financials not encounter this issue, or at least in a lesser degree?

Based upon my many interview notes and the first results of the dataset of the Treasurer Test I have a first hypothesis (there will be more): the personality of people working in treasury. A Big5 personality assessment has been done in a treasury population of 100. What I see is that treasurers, on average, are easily as driven as the general population. That should be a proper foundation. Where they score substantially different is in two aspects:

  1. They do not make contact quickly
  2. They are not focused on convincing other people.

The two obvious solutions are bringing people with a different personality into the treasury field and stimulating the current population to speak up. As recruiters we hope to contribute by bringing (for example) bankers into corporate treasury. Bankers often show a different personality profile. Furthermore I think we should not try to change the personality of the current population, but skills training will most definitely help.

Do you see the problem and want to step up? I hope so.

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search

 

A deeper dive into the Treasurer Test Technical Knowledge part

| 19-07-2019 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

Different from the multiple choice questions in the Big5 Personality Profile assessment, a number of treasury technical questions require you to make calculations. Furthermore, there is a time pressure component: there are more questions than you will be able to answer within the limited time. You will have to balance between answering questions right and answering as many as possible. It is not possible to skip questions.

In previous blogs and in the Treasurer Test example report  we mention the four corporate treasury sub disciplines we work with. For each discipline you will have a limited time of 10 minutes to answer the questions.

In below summary you can see what topics you can expect:

  • Risk Management: future contracts, FX, interest, inflation, hedging, ALM, derivatives

 

  • Corporate Finance: various bond types, valuation, equity, dividend calculations, rating agencies, bank loans

 

  • Cash Management: zero balancing, liquidity management, bank account management, notional pooling, netting

 

  • Treasury Miscellaneous: transfer pricing, withholding taxes, capitalization rules, investments, treasury organization, reporting & analysis, accounting & accounting principles, treasury technology and tender processes.

Together with industry and university experts we continuously work on updates of the questions catalogue. A challenge is to balance what is always relevant in corporate treasury, what is new and what will remain relevant.

It is possible to send your input for the further design of the questions catalogue. We are currently discussing topics like tax reforms, trade finance, treasury technology, alternative funding sources.

On behalf of Team Treasurer Test,

Kendra Keydeniers
Community & Partner Manager at treasuryXL

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Does your payment land in the correct currency account?

| 16-07-2019 | by Pieter de Kiewit |

Recently I received signals from a treasurer working in a mid-sized company about payments in various currencies landing on the wrong account. In a payment of USD 1 million, this could lead to extra cost of about USD 9,000! This results in extra cost and should be avoided…

In most SMEs in Europe a payment from US clients will be transferred in US dollars and lands in EURO’s. Banks facilitate this process and their fees consist of two parts:

  1. a transaction fee that is often a fixed fee or maximized percentage of the amount transferred
  2. a price to make Euro’s out of US dollars, following a conversion rate (the price you pay for buying dollars is different from the sell price, the difference is called “the spread”).

If you receive payments in US dollars regularly, you can consider opening a US dollar bank account. Therefore, you will avoid constant payment of the conversion rate. This is most relevant when you also make payments from this account. All big banks offer bank accounts in various currencies as a paid service.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the signals that I received: A foreign client made a payment in dollars with his dollar account. He transferred the dollars to the Euro account of my contact. This was all documented. Nevertheless, the bank charged transaction and conversion fees. Luckily this was discovered by my contact. After informing the bank about this issue, the bank repaired it all.

There could be various reasons why this happened. We all know that the global IT landscape in traditional banks consists of many different systems of a different age. A network problem could be a possible issue. The likelihood of this happening again is high, so be aware! Also, although we do not like this, it could be that this payment was handled manually. A mistake is easily made, hopefully not too frequent. It would be the worst case scenario when banks manipulate payments in order to claim fees. Let’s assume this is not the case.

The point I want to make: check if payments land on the proper currency account or it will cost you!

Any of you encountered misrouted payments?

PS From my own experience: in your ebanking environment, the default currency is not necessarily the currency the account is in. My GBP account had EURO as default currency…

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search

 

Why Big5 and not another personality assessment?

| 12-07-2019 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

Our deeper dive into the Big 5 model continues with our next topic:

  • Introduction
  • Why a personality assessment in the Treasurer Test?
  • Why Big5 and not another personality assessment?
  • What do we see in the peer group?
  • The traits measured
  • A connection between traits and skills?

Since the start of the development of the Treasurer Test we were convinced that including a personality assessment would bring added value. In a previous blog we describe why there are many well-known and documented typologies and standards for personality testing in the market. Without describing others in detail, this is what we like about the Big5 model.

  1. Big5 consists of a set of traits that describe the personality of the candidate that consistently define behaviour. A number of other assessments measure a wide variety of other aspects in a person that do not necessarily predict behaviour

 

  1. The Treasurer Test questionnaire based on theBig5 typology is designed with a working and professional perspective in mind. The questionnaire is not derived from questionnaires that are used for clinical purposes. It is taken into consideration that candidates with various cultural backgrounds will make the test, although these will have an effect that cannot be erased completely

 

  1. As with many other assessments, Big5 is a self-assessment. Our test developers have chosen for accessible questionnaires and paid attention to wording that matches the audience (well-educated professionals). Repetition is unavoidable in order to measure consistency: there is no shortcut that delivers the same quality. The way questions are asked helps the candidate to avoid giving the answers he/she thinks are the socially acceptable

 

  1. Many scientific institutes work with Big5 creating a vast amount of data and thus solidifying the typology. There is no single, commercial institute that owns the concept and has to balance quality and sales. There is no monopoly in the training of experts using Big5

 

  1. Many typologies work with a binary mindset: “if you are red, you are not green” or “you are either introvert or extravert but not somewhere in between””. There are even models that put, for example, rational and emotional on one axis. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. This type of thinking is often quite convenient, but the reality is often not black and white. All this is taken into consideration with Big5: single aspects are measured on one continuum

 

  1. Statistics have proven their value in science and modern life. The fundament of Big5 lies in solid numbers, Gauss curves and related concepts. Results are robust and can be reproduced. Scientists from independent institutes, who focus on methods and techniques helped building Big5.

There is a vast amount of scientific literature on this topic. With your cooperation we will include links to relevant input.

On behalf of Team Treasurer Test,

Kendra Keydeniers
Community & Partner Manager at treasuryXL

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Introduction of two Community Ambassadors: Francois and Marco

| 11-07-2019 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

treasuryXL is happy to announce a close cooperation with François De Witte and Marco Lassche. As community ambassadors they will contribute to further raise the level of the treasury function, both for the inner circle: corporate treasurers, bankers & consultants, as well for the non-treasurers.

François De Witte has worked over 30 years in banking and is founder of FDW Consult, specialized in finance and treasury consulting. With his broad treasury career, his key areas of expertise are International Payments & Cash management, treasury, working capital management, financing & advisory, open banking, digital banking and IT strategy.

“I am eager to share my large experience in treasury, banking and innovation with the TreasuryXL community” said François.

François will bring added value to the community with its innovative and broad corporate finance and treasury experience. He operates from Belgium.

 

 

Marco Lassche started his ‘World of Treasury’ career in 2002 and has become a professional in  banking, corporate treasury both in large, international corporates as well as mid-sized

companies. In 2018 Marco founded ‘Bedrijfskostenexpert’, a Dutch company specialized in Cost Reduction, working on a No Cure, No Pay

base. Marco his core expertise’s are Cash management, Funding, Risk Management, Setup in-house bank and cost savings.

“I am looking forward being part of this growing treasury community. Let’s take treasuryXL together to the next level as a leading portal for treasurers and non-treasurers.” said Marco

 

Marco will give the community an energy boost and he can’t wait to share his knowledge to enhance the treasuryXL platform. He operates from The Netherlands.

The club of treasuryXL ambassadors now exists out of three: François De Witte, Marco Lassche and Pieter de Kiewit – owner of Treasurer Search.

 

 

“Large corporates invest substantially in continuous improvement and innovation of their treasury function. Mid-sized corporates often miss opportunities in, and pay too much for basic treasury. I think there is a lot to be gained in increasing the acceptance of corporate treasury and its’ development. I would like to contribute.” Said Pieter de Kiewit, owner at Treasurer Search.

 

 

Keep an eye out for these treasuryXL ambassadors, they will deliver useful and inspiring topics throughout the year.

About treasuryXL
treasuryXL is built by treasurers to serve treasurers and non-treasurers. treasuryXL offers:

  • professionals the chance to publish their expertise, opinions, success stories, distribute these and stimulate dialogue.
  • a labour market platform by creating an overview of vacancies, events and treasury education.
  • a variety of services in collaboration with flex treasurers.
  • a broad network of highly valued partners and experts.

 

 

Kendra Keydeniers
Community & Partner Manager at treasuryXL

 

Why a personality assessment in the Treasurer Test?

| 05-07-2019 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

Our deeper dive into the Big 5 model continues with our next topic:

  • Introduction
  • Why a personality assessment in the Treasurer Test?
  • What do we see in the peer group?
  • The traits measured
  • A connection between traits and skills?

The personality of the candidate you consider for your job opening consists of a set of traits that determine his/her behaviour. As behaviour is essential for success in the new position, we decided a personality assessment would be a huge asset in the Treasurer Test.

Instruments for candidate screening

There are many instruments you can deploy to predict the success an applicant will have upon hire. Best known are cv screening, (structured) interviews, reference checks, diplomas and on-line or other assessments. Research shows that, depending on the position, skills tests are the best predictors of how good a candidate will do, followed by personality assessments. Combining various instruments increases certainty about the expected success. In the Treasurer Test we combine skill/knowledge testing with a Big5 personality assessment thus aiming high. There are other reasons for including Big5.

Personality Assessments

Many of the instruments mentioned to predict the success of an applicant are not stable. They will give different results with the same candidate if done for the second time and are subjective. Especially interviews and reference checks are proven unstable and interpreted differently. Most organisations did not invest in the training of interview skills of staff members: meetings are often improvised. Personality assessments are proven consistent. All involved in the recruitment process will have the same report, decisions will be better.

With on-line technology getting easier accessible and more cost effective, creating this assessment in 2019 is doable, though still not easy. Five years ago it would have been much harder and potential users would have a harder time to accept the concept.

Research of ‘the treasurer’ personality

No well-known research has been done into the personality and skills of treasurers. The population is not compared among each other and to general population. Neither research has been done into the success variables of treasury professionals. The dataset resulting from the Treasurer Test will, taking GDPR into consideration, be used to do quantitative research into the personality of “the treasurer” and other aspects.

Treasurer Test as matching tool

Let’s not forget that in order to reach the full potential of a new employee and related to this the Treasurer Test, the new working environment of the employee should be analysed in order to find out what personality would match best. The Treasurer Test serves as a matching tool, so two sides should be taken into consideration: the position and organisation on one hand, the candidate on the other.

Although user friendly, it cannot be denied that making the Treasurer Test is an investment in time and money. However, let’s think about the following question: can you quantify the investment lost if you hire the wrong candidate?

On behalf of Team Treasurer Test,

Kendra Keydeniers
Community & Partner Manager at treasuryXL

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Be careful what you wish for in crowdfunding

| 02-07-2019 | by Pieter de Kiewit |

Over the last decade bankers have taken over from civil servants and public transport employees as the ones to complain about. Yours truly is also guilty and I still meet bankers who do not like to talk about their profession because they are annoyed about the bashing. Nobody is perfect but haven’t we all been too harsh on bankers?

This question popped up last week when I read about crowdfunding developments. This relatively new form of funding is growing quickly. I see at least three obvious reasons for this. First, regular banks are reluctant to fund SMEs. Regulatory requirements, ROI and risk profiles of their potential clients are some reasons for that. Second, there is a lot of liquidity in the market and it is hard to make proper investments. Third and last, various platforms, with easy accessible IT solutions, facilitate investors finding those who need funds. Why my plea to go easier on the bankers?

With crowdfunding platforms building a track record, issues are becoming very visible. There are two very prominent problems. Many SMEs using crowdfunding facilitate the payment of extremely high interests, the term loan sharks already came up. The other prominent problem is that the credit risk process in crowdfunding is often very weak. This results in the funding of unstable businesses and weak plans, ending up with funders empty-handed.

I am a small business owner, the chamber of commerce sells my address to whoever pays. On a very regular basis I receive mail informing me how much I can borrow. Crowdfunding is not regulated like banks are. Process and expectation management is being done quite aggressively by platforms and I understand problems are becoming obvious as the market matures. I invite you to read input from Lex van Teeffelen and others:

RTL Z/ANP: Failliet door crowdfunding: ‘Hoge rentes nekken ondernemers’
Lex van Teefelen: Dalend rendement crowdfunding 2019 / Flitskrediet: meer vloek dan zegen! 

This brings me back to where I started with: were we right in bashing bankers? Their processes are more sound, their communication is done with more restraint. There were extremes, mistakes were made and greed was obvious. I think most bankers tried and try to do an honest and professional job. Let’s keep each other informed, educated and ask before we judge. Hopefully we will get better in doing a proper funding job.

 

 

 

Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search

 

Treasurer Test: The advantages of using the Big 5 model

| 20-06-2019 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

In the upcoming weeks we will take a deeper dive into the Big 5 model. What are the advantages? Why did we select this model for the Treasurer Test? The subjects are shown in below summary, starting the first blog with an introduction:

  • Introduction
  • Why a personality assessment in the Treasurer Test?
  • What do we see in the peer group?
  • The traits measured
  • A connection between traits and skills?

Treasurer Test & Big 5: Introduction

The roots of the Treasurer Test lie in the desire to improve selection. A proper recruitment decision is based upon many variables. Often these variables are not objectively measurable: very often apples and oranges are compared. Research shows that knowledge, skills and personality are sound predictors of job success, can be measured objectively and compared to peer groups. This is to inform you about the Big 5 typology that measures personality.

OCEAN

A personality can be defined as a relatively stable set of traits resulting in consistent behavior in various situations and different from behavior of others in the same situation. In the typology there are five clusters of traits defined. Very often the acronym OCEAN (or CANOE) is used to remember the names of each cluster. Below we will describe them and include an example of a trait, projected on potential tasks of a treasurer:

  1. Openness for new experiences. Being innovative, having original ideas can be relevant for treasurers in a build-up situation.
  2. Conscientiousness: goal oriented, organized. A treasurer who is methodical plans, creates a structure and shows predictable behavior.
  3. Extraversion: energy focused externally or internally. A convincing treasurer will focus on influencing others, making sure they will align with the goals of the CFO and/or the treasury team.
  4. Agreeableness: focus on others (also altruism). A treasury manager who scores high on empathy will easily sense the emotions and feelings of his team.
  5. Neuroticism: emotional stability. If a treasury interim director is unfazed, he will not be affected by the crisis situation he might have to act in.

Self-assessment

As this is an introduction, we will not create a comprehensive overview but do want to stress the following; Big 5 does not put people in blue or red boxes but makes sound comparisons with peer groups according to statistically sound gauss curves. This is also the reason academic institutes like to use the model. The traits and scores are without value. High or low scores are only relevant if a specific behavior is desired. Big 5 works with a self-assessment, which is the best method to measure but will never result in an absolute truth.

Next

In following articles we will elaborate on relevant Big 5 questions like “why Big 5 and not another typology?”, “what are the traits measured and why are these relevant” and “what do we see in the Big 5 results of the peer group?”. We are open for questions and input and will continue to provide further information.

On behalf of Team Treasurer Test,

Kendra Keydeniers
Community & Partner Manager at treasuryXL

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