Do You Need a Treasury Certification? With Chris Van Dijl
In the demanding and ever-changing world of treasury management, it’s essential to keep your skills sharp and knowledge current. For treasury professionals dealing with a multitude of responsibilities, this can seem like a Herculean task.
This article offers valuable insights into the world of treasury certification, directly from an expert in the field, Chris Van Dijl. He is a veteran in the treasury field with over 25 years of diverse experience. From his early days as a treasury analyst to becoming a group treasurer in multiple countries, Chris’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable.
Chris is also the founder of Cugavadi, a consultancy and training firm specializing in corporate treasury and transaction banking. Established in 2014 with offices in Dubai and Charlotte, USA, Cugavadi is the go-to place for clients seeking top-notch treasury solutions. Not to forget, Chris previously served as the global lead trainer for the Certificate in International Cash Management (CERTICM) by the Association of Corporate Treasurers.
By reading this article you can expect to learn the following:
- What is a treasury certification to begin with?
- What skills or knowledge does someone gain from earning a treasury certification?
- What kind of commitments, time, study, and examinations do each certification require?
- What are the main treasury certifications available worldwide?
- What is the typical cost associated with earning certifications and keeping them?
- Are there alternatives to treasury certifications?
- And like always, much more.
Grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive in!
What Is a Treasury Certification and Why Is It Important?
First off, let’s talk about what a treasury certification is. According to Chris Van Dijl, a treasury certification serves two main goals:
- Enhancing Knowledge: It helps treasury professionals understand and learn about essential treasury concepts that can help them in their careers.
- Validating Skills: It’s also a way to show others, including employers, that you have a certain level of knowledge and skills in corporate treasury.
Why is This Certification Important?
Now, why would someone want to accomplish these goals? Chris points out that treasury certifications are more than just a shiny line on your resume. They are about continuous learning and professional growth. Here are a few reasons why:
- Filling Educational Gaps: Universities often don’t cover corporate treasury as a subject. So, if you’ve got a degree in business or finance, a certification can fill in those knowledge gaps.
- Up-to-date Information: These certifications offer a deep dive into the most current concepts and practices in corporate treasury.
What About Transaction Bankers?
Interestingly, it’s not just treasury professionals who benefit from these certifications. Transaction bankers, those who work on cash management and trade finance, can also find these useful. Why?
- Customer Understanding: Knowing how a treasurer thinks can help them better serve their corporate clients.
- Expanding Skills: A lot of these bankers may know how a bank functions but don’t have a deep understanding of how a corporation operates.
A treasury certification isn’t just a piece of paper. It’s a way to better yourself and better understand the field you’re working in. It offers valuable insights that can be a game-changer for your career, whether you’re in corporate treasury or transaction banking.
When is the Best Time to Get a Treasury Certification?
Ever wondered when it’s the best time in your career to get a treasury certification? Well, Chris sheds some light on this intriguing question. According to him, the early stage of your career is a golden time to consider getting certified.
Why Early Career Is Key for Certification
Chris points out that most people who pursue a treasury certification are early in their careers, much like those who go for ACCA certifications between the ages of 20 and 30. The reason? It’s a powerful way to show you’ve got the skills and knowledge for the job. For example, if you’re involved in cash management but have your eye on front-office roles like funding and issuing bonds, getting certified can prove you’re ready for this new challenge.
Are Certifications a Must for Job Advancements?
So you may be wondering, is this a “must-have” for climbing up the career ladder? According to Chris, it becomes increasingly important as you aim for higher-level positions. Job posts for roles like treasury analysts often say they “prefer” candidates who are either studying for a certification or willing to do so. Why? Because when you’re aiming for roles like treasury manager, certifications often become a requirement. So, if you start your career as a junior treasury analyst with no certifications, that’s okay. But know that you’ll need one to break into mid or upper-level management.
What Do Treasury Certifications Teach, and When Should You Get One?
You’re working in treasury and you’ve got some experience under your belt. Now, you’re wondering if you should pursue a treasury certification to climb the corporate ladder. According to Chris, there are some real benefits to getting certified.
Skills Acquired in Treasury Certification
- Technical Skills: Treasury certifications originally focused solely on technical skills. This includes things like cash management, financial risk management, and a dash of accounting and tax knowledge.
- Soft Skills: More recently, certifications have started to include soft skills like people management and leadership. These skills are especially crucial for senior treasury roles.
- Role-Specific Skills: Different certifications focus on varying aspects of treasury. While entry-level certifications tend to stick to the technical side, advanced certifications delve into broader skills essential for senior management roles.
When to Get Certified?
- Early Career: Chris Van Dijl suggests you should consider certifications in the early stages of your career. These are especially useful if you’re aiming for a managerial role down the line.
- Mid-Level and Beyond: Once you’re looking at mid-level managerial roles, certifications become pretty much mandatory.
So, if you’re serious about your career in treasury, think about which certification could be the right fit for you. Whether it’s technical skills or leadership qualities you’re looking to improve, there’s likely a certification that fits the bill.
How Do Treasury Certifications Impact Careers and Are They Region-Specific?
Are you wondering how a treasury certification could make a difference in your career, or how these certificates are viewed in different parts of the world? Chris shares some valuable insights.
The Importance of Treasury Certifications in Different Regions
According to Chris, if you’re in the UK, having a certification is almost like a social norm. Why? It’s because of how the educational system is set up there. Universities in the UK give you a broad knowledge base, so professionals often pursue specialized qualifications later on. In contrast, European educational institutions offer more specialized courses right from the start. This means that in Europe, getting a professional qualification isn’t as common, although this trend is starting to change.
What about other countries?
- Netherlands: They offer the Registered Treasurer course, which is specific to Dutch Treasurers and closely resembles the AMCT certification.
- United States: The CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) certification is well-respected and has been around for years. It acts as a seal of quality, showing that you know your stuff.
Why Get Certified?
The main reason to get a treasury certification? It shows your boss and potential employers that you’re not just talking the talk, you can also walk the walk. Treasury is a specialized field, so having a certificate proves that you’re well-equipped for the job.
Decoding Acronyms: What Do They Mean?
Chris mentioned a lot of abbreviations that might sound like alphabet soup if you’re not familiar with them. Let’s break them down:
- ACT: Association of Corporate Treasurers (UK and Europe)
- AFP: Association for Finance Professionals (USA)
- AMCT: Associate Member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers
- MCT: Member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers
- CTP: Certified Treasury Professional (USA)
- CERT-P, Award ICM, CERT-ICM, AMCT, MCT: These are a range of qualifications offered by ACT, from entry-level to advanced.
These are just a few examples. Each has different levels and focuses, ranging from purely technical skills to including management and leadership qualities.
Understanding Treasury Certifications and Their Value
If you’re in the treasury world, certifications are a big deal. They not only boost your resume but also deepen your understanding of the field. Chris discussed the wide variety of certifications available to treasury professionals and their significance in different job markets.
Types of Certifications Available
In the United States, the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) is the go-to certification. It’s provided by the IFB. But the options don’t stop there. In the Netherlands, you can aim for the Registered Treasurer (RT), which comes from the Free University of Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Australia has launched its Certificate in Corporate Treasury (CCTA).
The Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) also offers an extensive range of certifications. These range from beginner-level ones like the certificate in treasury fundamentals to advanced ones like the Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management (MCT). As Chris points out, the MCT is the one to aim for if you’re looking to become a group treasurer.
In addition to these major ones, there are some local and specialized certifications. For example, in the Netherlands, there’s also a Qualified Treasurer (QT). So, there’s something for everyone, no matter where you are or what level you’re at.
How Certifications Translate Across Borders
But what if you’re in the UK with an MCT? Would that hold the same weight in the U.S.? Well, Chris suggests it might not be that straightforward. In the U.S., job listings for senior treasury roles typically ask for an MBA or a CTP. European qualifications like the MCT are generally not mentioned. However, if you’re in Europe and aspire to work for an American company, having a CTP might give you an edge.
MBA vs. CTP: What’s the Better Investment?
When it comes to educational requirements for senior treasury roles, companies often list an MBA or CTP. But here’s the catch, An MBA can cost you over $100,000 while a CTP costs less than $2,000. Chris advises that if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to climb up the ladder, going for a CTP is a no-brainer. However, he adds that an MBA offers more than just treasury knowledge. It opens you up to broader business and strategic skills.
Specialized Certifications in Financial Risk Management
But wait, there’s more. If you’re more into the nitty-gritty of financial risk management, then certifications like FRM (Financial Risk Management) and BPRM (Bank Treasury Risk Management) are up your alley. These are particularly useful if you’re in a highly specialized role, say in a billion-dollar company like GE or Shell. These certifications are extremely technical and are most useful for people who are or aim to be experts in risk management.
How to Obtain Treasury Certifications and What They Cover
If you’re keen on climbing the career ladder in the treasury sector, getting certified is almost a no-brainer. Chris walks us through the process and nuances of treasury certifications like CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) and ACT (Association of Corporate Treasurers). He provides valuable information on how to get certified and what each certification entails.
Steps to Get Certified
- Online Registration: Most certifications have moved online, especially since COVID-19 hit. You begin by registering on the website of a professional organization like ACT or AFP (Association for Financial Professionals).
- Self-Study: After paying the fees, you’ll get a PDF syllabus or you can buy the book on Amazon. You become your teacher.
- Additional Resources: You can buy extra learning modules. For example, with CTP, you get access to AFP’s learning module filled with practice questions and case studies.
- Interactions: Though mostly self-study, you can ask questions to a tutor, and sometimes even attend webinars or group sessions.
When you pay for a treasury certification, you’re not just paying for a fancy line on your resume. You’re paying for the course material, and you’ll probably pay again when you decide to take the exam. Chris notes that most exams are now virtual; you’ll either head to a test centre or take it from home with surveillance to prevent cheating.
Certification Focus Areas
So, you may wonder, “What’s the big deal about these certificates, and how do they differ?”
- Core Subjects: Both the ACT and the CTP cover fundamental areas like cash management, risk management, and financial markets.
- Regional Focus: ACT tends to be British and European-centric but is expanding to be more international. The CTP is US-focused, delving deep into the American cash management landscape.
- Regulatory and Tax Implications: Both certifications integrate tax and regulatory factors into the syllabus. Especially when talking about international treasury, they keep you updated on the latest tax and regulatory developments.
The key takeaway? If you work for a U.S. company but are based in Europe, a CTP certification might be more beneficial because it will help you understand the U.S. landscape better. Conversely, if you’re in the UK or Europe, an ACT certification might be more in line with your professional requirements.
The Changing Landscape
What’s interesting is how quickly the material for these certifications can change, particularly because of FinTech innovations. Both certifications update their syllabus every two to three years to include the latest technology developments.
So, if you’re considering getting certified, it’s an ongoing learning process. But one that can make a significant difference in your treasury career.
How Do Treasury Certifications Stay Current and What’s the Commitment Level?
If you’re a treasury professional, you know how fast the landscape changes. That’s why your certifications need to be up-to-date. According to Chris, staying current is crucial in this industry.
Keeping Certifications Up-to-Date
- Syllabus Updates: Treasury certifications usually update their syllabus every three to four years. For example, CertICM was updated in 2021 to include topics like FinTech and blockchain.
- Ongoing Resources: Once you’re certified and a member of the respective treasury association, you gain access to research reports, market updates, and technology developments to stay updated.
- Webinars and Updates: The associations often run webinars and provide site updates to keep you informed about the latest trends and changes.
Maintaining Your Certification: It’s Not a One-Time Thing
- Renewal Process: Certifications like CTP require you to score a certain number of points within a set timeframe to maintain your qualification. It’s not about retaking an exam every year, but about continually developing your skills.
- CPD Points: Various activities like attending conferences, participating in webinars, and even in-house training can earn you Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.
Can Listening to Podcasts Earn CPD Points?
Yes, podcasts can also contribute to your CPD points, but there’s a catch. The podcast needs to be certified for CPD points by the respective treasury association, and it usually has to be at least 45-50 minutes long.
Keeping Up with Activities
- Internal Training: Many organizations offer in-house training sessions on treasury-related topics.
- Quizzes: Some associations offer quizzes that can earn you points.
By the way, the ACT operates on a self-certification model. So, you just need to confirm that you’ve done all the required activities for the year.
Time Commitment for Treasury Certifications
- Basic Certifications: These usually take between three to six months to complete.
- Intermediate Certifications like CTP: These might take up to six to 12 months.
- Advanced Certifications like AMCT: You’ll need about 12 to 18 months to earn these.
To sum up, getting a treasury certification is not just about passing an exam. It’s an ongoing commitment to stay updated and relevant in the rapidly evolving world of treasury management. And as Chris Van Dijl highlights, the resources and community you gain access to make this commitment not just necessary, but incredibly beneficial for your career.
Time Commitment and Costs of Treasury Certifications
The next big question you might have is how long it takes to earn these certifications and how much they cost. Chris shared some valuable insights on this.
Time Commitment for Certifications
When it comes to how much time you’ll need to invest, the answer varies. For the CTP (Certified Treasury Professional), you have up to two years to complete your exam after paying for it. Here’s a quick rundown on what to expect:
- CTP: One exam with 170 multiple-choice questions. The total time is 210 minutes.
- AMCT (Advanced Member of the Chartered Treasurers): Consists of four to five units, each with a three-hour exam.
The AMCT even throws in a pre-exam case study for you to analyze, adding a layer of complexity. In summary, you might need to commit at least a Saturday each week to studying, especially for the more rigorous AMCT exam.
Typical Costs Involved
Here comes the money talk. You must be wondering how big a hole these certifications are going to burn in your pocket.
- CTP: Around $1,700 for learning materials. Adding a learning platform costs another $960, which totals up to roughly $2,600. Add the membership fee of about $400-$500 per year, and you’re all set.
- Certificate in Treasury Fundamentals: This one is $1,200.
- Certificate in Treasury (Technical): Around $4,100.
- AMCT: A steep $4,700.
And if you’re considering the Registered Treasurer qualification in the Netherlands, brace yourself—it’s a whopping $22,500.
Additional Costs for Training
If you’re in the U.S. and are looking for a training institution to help with your CTP, keep in mind that there will be extra charges. Chris suggests you can opt to self-study and even hire a treasury professional as a coach to guide you through the material.
Discounts for Association Memberships
If you’re a member of another treasury association, like the EACT or ATEB, don’t expect a discount. Chris makes it clear that there’s no “double tax agreement” in treasury associations.
So, there you have it! Knowing the time and financial commitments for these certifications can help you plan better. Consider what Chris suggests—sometimes setting up a small study group within your company can make the journey easier and more interactive.
Navigating the Costs and Funding Options for Treasury Certification
According to Chris, one of the best first steps you can take to manage the costs of getting a treasury certification is to simply talk to your manager. Good companies and managers are generally eager to help their team members grow. Most of the time, they’ll happily sponsor you for a certification like this.
Here’s what usually happens:
- You express your desire to grow and take the certification.
- Your manager agrees but might suggest waiting until you’ve gained more experience or trying a different certification they prefer.
- The company covers the cost, sometimes incorporating it into your performance plan for the next year.
Sounds good, right? Well, that’s not always the case everywhere.
When Companies Don’t Sponsor Certifications
Sometimes companies, especially those outside Europe and North America, won’t cover the cost of professional development. So what then? Chris suggests reaching out to treasury associations that offer the certification. These organizations often have grants or discounted fees, especially for people from emerging markets. So, you’re not entirely out of options if your employer says no.
Budget Allocations in Consulting and Corporates
Now, if you’re in consulting or even in some corporate sectors, you might have a yearly budget set aside just for things like training and certifications. Countries like France and Holland also have policies that let people spend a certain amount per year on personal development. That’s more money in the pocket to fund your training!
But there are some catches you need to be aware of. If you’re planning to jump ship after getting your certification, be careful. Companies often require you to stay for a certain period, like two or three years, if they’re covering your certification costs. If you don’t stick around, you might have to pay back the money.
Also, while some companies might cover the cost of the certification exam and even one re-exam, any more than that could be on you. Plus, good companies often offer study days, so you don’t have to use your vacation time to prepare for the exam.
Alternatives to Treasury Certifications for Skill and Knowledge Development
Diving straight into the heart of the matter, let’s talk about alternative paths to professional development for treasury professionals. Chris acknowledges that while certifications give you that polished LinkedIn title and a competitive edge, there are other ways to stand out and acquire relevant knowledge.
Experience Over Certification
First off, Chris notes that nothing beats experience. If you’ve worked in treasury for years, that counts for a lot. But you might face challenges in an AI-driven hiring world. Many times, hiring algorithms screen candidates based on specific qualifications. So if a job posting says they prefer someone with a CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) or AMCT (Associate Member of the Chartered Treasurers), and you don’t have those letters after your name, your resume might not even reach human eyes.
Awards and Honors
If you’re looking for a way to shine without certification, consider treasury awards. Chris mentions multiple award programs like the ACT Treasury Awards and AFP Pinnacle Awards. Winning such an award not only boosts your CV but also helps you stand out on LinkedIn. But keep in mind, that the significance of these awards can fade over time.
Short-term Training Programs
Chris also points out that there are shorter, non-certification training programs. Organizations like ACT and Euro finance offer 2 to 3-day courses. They can be a bit pricey, but if you need to understand a specific topic like how SWIFT works, it might be worth it.
Company Support for Training
For those worried about costs, Chris confirms that many companies allocate training budgets to their treasury departments. So you can often get financial support for either short-term courses or long-term certifications.
Self-study and Online Resources
If you’re a self-starter, there’s a wealth of resources available to deepen your treasury knowledge. Chris recommends various treasury websites like treasury Excel and PMI, as well as materials from professional treasury bodies. Even your bank can be a resource. For example, if you want to know about virtual accounts, your bank can provide loads of material because they want to sell that service to you.
Which Treasury Certification is the Best Choice?
Choosing a treasury certification can be a bit like picking out a suit. What fits you best depends on where you live, where you are in your career, and what exactly you aim to accomplish. According to Chris Van Dijl, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
Personal Circumstances Matter
Chris emphasizes that your choice should be tailored to your unique circumstances. Where are you based? What’s your career level? These factors can steer your decision. For instance, if you’re leaning towards financial risk management (FRM) or exploring fintech certificates related to blockchain, these can be excellent but are outside the traditional treasury scope. The key takeaway? Your circumstances should guide your choice.
- North America: If you’re in North America, Chris advises starting with the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) certification. This is your solid foundation, and after that, you can explore other options.
- UK or Europe: For those based in the UK or Europe, the AMCT of the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) is the way to go. If that’s a big leap, consider the ACT’s smaller certifications to start.
Testing the Waters
Considering one of the smaller certifications? Good idea! These ‘lite’ versions are also a way to self-assess. Can you study on your own? Do you even like the subject matter? If you find you’re a whiz at these, upgrading to a more advanced certification becomes a lot easier.
How is AI Transforming Treasury Certifications and Training?
The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in shaping the future of treasury training and certifications is vast and multifaceted, according to Chris. He has been there and done that—be it leading training programs for the ACT or coaching students through their certification journeys.
Chris’s Role in Treasury Training
Before we dig into the AI subject, you might want to know that Chris has been actively involved in training and coaching treasury professionals. He was the Global Lead Trainer for the ACT’s CertICN and has trained many professionals and corporates. Plus, he’s a go-to guy for anyone puzzled about where to start with treasury certification. Chris even mentioned a handy resource, a website called treasurycertification.com, where you can find a comprehensive list of almost all treasury certifications worldwide. This site makes it easier for you to compare, assess the costs, and choose the one that’s right for you.
AI in Learning and Certification
When it comes to using AI in the training world, ChatGPT is a game-changer. Need a quick answer to a treasury term you’re unfamiliar with? ChatGPT has got you covered. You don’t have to sift through pages of search engine results anymore. The tool helps you get a simplified and straight answer, even if your course syllabus is confusing. Of course, you should double-check the information you get, as AI is not always 100% reliable.
AI-Enabled Treasury Policy Consultation
But AI’s impact doesn’t stop at training. Imagine you’re wondering about your company’s foreign exchange (FX) hedging policy. You could ask an AI-powered bot, and it’ll feed you the needed info right away. Forget the hassle of going through a 150-page policy document. According to Chris, AI bots can even help draft policies for you. Want to know what your policy should look like for hedging 40-60% of your exposure over the next six months? Just ask, and you’ll have your policy.
So, whether you’re looking to pick the right certification or keen on simplifying treasury policies at work, AI seems to be the new treasure in treasury. But remember, while AI is a powerful tool, it’s still a tool, and tools are only as good as the people using them.
Why You Should Consider Treasury Certification Early in Your Career
If you’ve been pondering the idea of earning a treasury certification, Chris has a straightforward message: Don’t wait; talk to your manager now. Chris strongly believes that taking the step toward certification early in your career is beneficial for multiple reasons.
The Right Time to Take Action
Chris advises that the best time to discuss this with your manager is before your next performance review. Most managers will be supportive and even thrilled that you’re showing such initiative. After all, education is an investment in yourself, and by extension, the company.
Benefits of Early Certification
- Carry the Study Momentum: If you’ve recently left university, you’re still in “study mode,” which makes it easier to focus on earning the certification.
- Lifetime Value: This isn’t just a temporary boost; it’s something that stays with you throughout your career.
- Global Perspective: Earning a certification exposes you to treasury concepts from around the world, even ones you might not use in your current job.
- Enhanced Team Conversations: Understanding these global perspectives allows you to communicate better with colleagues, making you appear more knowledgeable.
Practical Steps to Get Started
Chris recommends taking advantage of resources like treasurycertification.com, which provides a list of nearly all global treasury certifications. This helps you compare costs and find the best certification for your needs.
Connect with Chris Van Dijl for More Insights
If you’re eager to dive deeper into the world of treasury, treasury certifications, and other related topics, Chris is quite active on LinkedIn. You can also find more information on his website, www.cugavadi.com, and for anything related to treasury certifications, treasurycertification.com is your go-to resource.
The dynamic and intricate world of treasury is continuously evolving, with technological advancements like artificial intelligence paving the way for more streamlined operations. However, the value of interpersonal communication, the importance of embracing cultural differences, and the significance of continuous learning remain paramount.
From the detailed insights shared by Chris Van Dijl, it’s evident that a proactive approach, coupled with a willingness to evolve and adapt, is key to a successful treasury career. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting, consider broadening your horizons with certifications, tapping into global networks, and harnessing technology to your advantage.
As treasury professionals, keeping pace with the shifting landscape not only benefits individual careers but also adds substantial value to organizations. Embrace the journey, invest in yourself, and remember that every step taken today can lead to a brighter, more prosperous tomorrow in the realm of treasury.