When you hear the word “treasurer,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Most likely, you imagine a person in a club or organization who handles the money. They're the folks who collect dues, keep an eye on the budget, and pay expenses.
College applications and early-career resumes are chock full of statements like, “I served as treasurer of the [fill in the blank: French club, baseball team, Oozma Kappa fraternity, sophomore class].” And while that keeping-track-of-the-money definition is accurate, when you’re talking about the role in a business setting, the answer is certainly much broader and definitely more interesting.
What does a treasurer do?
While a treasurer job description may vary depending on the specific organization and its needs, the basic answer to “what does a treasurer do?” isn’t far from the typical layperson’s definition. In simplest terms, he or she oversees and manages the financial resources and operations of an organization. At a larger organization, this may mean leading an in-house finance department. In a smaller organization, it may mean being responsible for recording business transactions, tracking expenses, and depositing funds.
In addition to the role of money tracker, a treasurer's job includes monitoring, planning, and forecasting. The job of monitoring includes handling a company’s investments and the risks associated with those investments. It also involves preparing an organization’s annual budget and the budgets for various business segments.
In their role as planner, a treasury professional often acts as the financial planner for the entire company, especially when investment capital is involved. They also prepare financial forecasts that can help executives make strategic decisions, including mergers and acquisitions.
Another key part of the treasury professional’s job is to oversee cash management procedures. This means following established processes or even creating the processes in the first place. Setting up these processes requires a great deal of business know-how.
Does the job involve more than money?
Yes! Treasurers are also responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with an organization’s banks, vendors, and ratings agencies. They often act as the company’s liaison with these outside resources and must keep communication clear and open so that both the company and the outside organization continue to enjoy an excellent working relationship.
These outside resources are vitally important because they help to provide funding, goods, and services. Keeping a good relationship with a ratings agency is also critically important. After all, a company’s rating can have a significant impact on its access to capital.
Treasury professionals need people skills, too—skills that make them good managers. They usually oversee a staff of bookkeepers. That means they need to be able to empower other employees, remain a firm but encouraging supervisor, and look for opportunities to innovate.
They also need to be able to communicate with senior management, including the CFO, CEO, and board of directors. They need to be trusted to deliver sound advice to senior financial leaders regarding investment or strategic decisions, even when the news is difficult.
What kind of education, personality traits, and technical skills does someone need to be a treasurer?
If you aspire to this role, you’ll need, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in a field such as accounting, business administration, finance, or economics. Having a master’s degree (such as an MBA) will also give you an advantage when searching for jobs.
There are opportunities for certification as well. While holding a certification is not required, many treasury professionals see their job prospects improve when they invest the time and effort to earn the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP). Other certifications that are popular include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Having any of these certifications will help your resume stand out and may give you an edge over other job candidates.
What kind of person makes a good treasury professional? Those who are in the best position to succeed in this role have a detail-oriented, analytical personality. And it goes without saying, they're good at math. Someone who excels in a job like this also needs strong organizational and interpersonal skills. They also should be able to work well with junior and senior members of the organization.
In terms of technical skills, it’s an advantage to have solid working knowledge and experience with financial management software, such as SAP or Oracle.
What kind of job experience is needed for this role?
Companies usually consider a treasurer as part of their executive team. Typically, they report directly to a company’s CFO. Getting to this position often requires a minimum of 10 years in finance and treasury-related roles. Typical entry-level and early-career roles that can help prepare you for this role include treasury accountant, staff accountant, and assistant treasurer.
Who does a treasurer work with?
In larger companies, he or she works closely with and may even report directly to the company’s CFO. He or she may also consult with a company’s attorneys or compliance officer/team.
Where can I find a treasurer job?
Treasurer jobs provide a lot of opportunities for someone who wants to be involved in the daily financial operations of an organization. Fortunately, there are many organizations that need someone in this role. These include private companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and public companies.
When seeking out opportunities in this field, however, be aware that the job sometimes goes by different names. It all depends on the type of organization and the exact needs they are looking to fill. Sometimes, people refer to the role as chief investment officer, corporate financial analyst, or vice president of financial planning and treasury.
What are the benefits of becoming a treasurer?
Pursuing a career as a treasury professional provides significant financial rewards. The position offers a good opportunity for career growth. It could lead to promotions to more senior roles within the finance team, even the CFO. According to the 2024 Salary Guide by Robert Half, the pay range for the position in the United States is between $131,750 and $241,250, with a median base pay equal to $209,500.
The employment outlook for treasurers is very positive, according to research by Recruiter.com. It is estimated that there are around 800,000 jobs in this career today and that is expected to grow to 903,941 jobs in five years, for a growth rate of 13.4%.