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In the dynamic world of finance, the significance of interim treasury management is often overlooked, yet it plays a crucial role in corporate strategy. Companies are increasingly relying on interim treasurers for their expertise in financial guidance and risk management in response to ever-changing business demands and economic landscapes.
We have the privilege of insights from Patrick Kunz, the founder of Pecunia Treasury & Finance. Pecunia, a leader in offering top-notch interim treasury solutions and financial advice, benefits from Patrick’s rich experience in this niche field.
In This article, we will have an in-depth look at interim treasury management. We will cover the roles and responsibilities of an interim treasurer and examine the unique knowledge they contribute to the corporations they serve. We also explore which types of companies commonly seek these services and delve into the professional and personal pros and cons of being an interim treasurer.
Interim treasury management refers to the role of a treasury manager or treasurer, hired for a short-term period. This differs from a permanent staff member in that an interim manager begins their assignment with a predetermined end date. This approach offers clear planning advantages, as it allows both the interim manager and the company to know the exact duration of the engagement.
Interim treasury managers, often referred to as ‘job hoppers’, transition from one assignment to another, serving multiple clients with a set time horizon. Their role doesn’t imply less loyalty to a client; rather, it involves embracing the flexibility and diversity of working with different clients.
Why Do Companies Opt for Interim Treasury Managers?
Companies often choose interim treasury managers for their immediate availability and flexibility. Unlike the lengthy process of hiring a permanent employee, interim managers can start almost immediately, often the day after they are called. This rapid onboarding is particularly valuable in scenarios where a company requires urgent support, such as in the case of an unexpected vacancy, maternity leave coverage, or a significant project that the existing team cannot manage due to its size or scope.
Interim managers bring a wealth of experience and expertise, having worked with various clients and tackled diverse treasury challenges. This extensive background means they require minimal training and can provide immediate, effective solutions. They are typically employed for full interim management, covering roles in the absence of permanent staff, as well as for specific projects or advisory roles.
Key Differences Between Interim and Full-Time Treasury Managers
The main distinction between a company hiring an interim versus a full-time treasury manager lies in the contract and compensation structure. Interim managers work under a different type of contract and are compensated based on hourly rates rather than a salary.
This arrangement is similar to hiring an external consultant. Moreover, interim managers often possess a broader range of experience than in-house staff, as they have worked with numerous companies, gaining varied insights into treasury management.
Benefits of Hiring an Interim Treasury Manager
Hiring an interim treasury manager offers several distinct benefits over traditional hiring methods. One key advantage is the immediate effectiveness of an interim manager. They typically require less training due to their extensive experience with previous clients. This experience not only enables a quick start but also brings fresh perspectives and best practices to the company.
Interim managers often identify and implement improvements in processes and practices. For example, they might streamline cash management processes, reducing the time and resources required. Their role transcends that of a mere fill-in for an absent employee; they often act as consultants, using their expertise to suggest enhancements, find cost savings, and provide a positive return on investment for the company. They effectively balance their higher cost by generating substantial savings for the company.
Handling Specificities in Different Treasury Departments
Treasury management, while consistent in its core functions across industries, can vary in specifics such as risk types or specific processes. Interim managers tackle these variations by:
Relying on Handovers: When possible, interim managers use handover periods to learn specific processes from predecessors or team members.
Asking Questions: If unfamiliar with certain aspects, they proactively seek information from the team or other knowledgeable sources.
Conducting Research: In cases where necessary information is not readily available, interim managers take the initiative to educate themselves through research.
This proactive approach ensures that interim managers quickly adapt to and efficiently manage the unique aspects of each company’s treasury department.
The Decision to Remain an Interim Manager
Interim managers often receive offers for full-time positions due to their impactful contributions. However, many choose to remain in interim roles. This decision is driven by the nature of interim work, which aligns with their desire for diverse experiences and the ability to bring about significant change without being hindered by internal company politics. The role of an external consultant often carries more influence in initiating changes, as they are viewed as experts with fresh perspectives.
The choice to stay as an interim manager reflects a preference for variety and the opportunity to continuously engage in new challenges and environments. This dynamic work style suits those who thrive on change and enjoy the process of consistently bringing new ideas and improvements to different organizations.
What Motivates an Interim Manager?
Interim treasury managers are driven by the dynamic nature of their role, thriving on the ability to make impactful changes in various organizations. They find fulfilment in:
Improving Processes: Elevating treasury operations by replacing outdated methods with modern, efficient systems.
Seeking Variety: Enjoying diverse experiences across different companies and treasury environments.
Interim Manager vs. Treasury Consultant
While similar, the roles of an interim manager and a treasury consultant have subtle differences:
Interim Manager: Often involved in full-time assignments, replacing staff or filling specific roles within a company.
Treasury Consultant: Focuses more on specific projects or challenges, working outside the traditional organizational structure.
Dual Role in Operational and Project Tasks
Interim treasury managers are versatile and adept at handling both operational tasks and project management. Their involvement depends on client needs:
Operational Role: Managing day-to-day treasury functions to allow internal teams to focus on major projects.
Project Management: Leveraging expertise in areas like TMS implementations, offering specialized knowledge and experience.
Filling Various Roles and Levels
An interim manager’s level of involvement can vary widely, from cash manager roles to treasury director or group treasurer positions. Their adaptability allows them to fill different roles effectively, regardless of their official title. They bring extensive experience and knowledge, which can be particularly valuable for covering short-term needs like maternity leave or temporary gaps in staffing.
The Journey to Becoming an Interim Manager
Becoming an interim manager doesn’t necessarily require decades of experience. Passion and a solid understanding of treasury basics can be enough to start. The initial phase might involve starting in lower-level roles, but with each successful assignment, an interim manager’s credibility and level of expertise grow.
Over time, they become suitable for higher-level positions, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to each new assignment. Their journey is marked by continuous learning and adaptation, making them valuable assets to any treasury department.
Continuous Learning and Opportunities for Interim Managers
Interim treasury managers, like the one discussed, often change positions every six to twelve months. This frequent change allows them to absorb a vast amount of knowledge, which they then apply to subsequent assignments. This experience is highly beneficial to various organizations, not just corporations.
Opportunities Beyond Corporations
Diverse Assignments: Interim managers may find opportunities with banks, fintechs, and system vendors. Their experience in multiple environments makes them valuable for roles beyond traditional corporate settings.
Collaboration with TMS Vendors: For instance, they can assist TMS vendors with implementations, especially when these vendors are overwhelmed due to high demand.
Functional Implementation Consulting: Sometimes, a system vendor might recommend an interim manager to a corporate client to facilitate smoother implementation of treasury management systems (TMS) or to make critical initial decisions.
Managing Multiple Assignments
Interim managers often juggle multiple assignments simultaneously. The nature of these assignments can vary – some may be full-time, while others are part-time or consultancy roles. This flexibility has been enhanced by the rise of remote working, allowing them to work efficiently from various locations.
Remote Working and Flexibility
Work Location: Theoretically, interim managers can work from anywhere with an internet connection, provided the client’s systems support remote access.
Client Negotiations: The balance between office and remote work depends on each client’s needs and the specific assignment.
Time Management: Managing time zones and working hours is crucial when working remotely from different locations.
Handling Team Pushback
Interim managers sometimes face resistance from existing teams within a company. This resistance can stem from perceptions that the interim manager might disrupt established processes or leave the team with new systems they’re unfamiliar with.
Improving Processes: The interim manager focuses on improving processes and efficiency, rather than criticizing existing methods.
Creating Business Cases: By presenting solid business cases for changes, they gain support from CFOs and wider teams, facilitating smoother transitions.
Change Management: Effective stakeholder and change management are key to overcoming resistance and ensuring successful improvements.
The role of an interim treasury manager is multifaceted, involving continuous learning, adapting to various environments, and effectively managing change. Their ability to bring fresh perspectives and implement improvements makes them valuable assets in diverse financial settings.
Hiring Process for Interim Treasury Managers
Interim treasury managers are hired through various methods:
Direct Hiring by Treasury Departments: Some departments request HR to find an interim treasury manager. However, HR often lacks the network and specific treasury knowledge, leading them to involve external recruitment firms.
Headhunter or Recruitment Agencies: These specialized agencies have networks to source interim treasury managers, creating a competitive environment for such roles.
Direct Contact with Known Interim Managers: In some cases, treasury departments reach out directly to known interim managers, bypassing intermediaries. This can be more cost-effective but requires more effort from the treasury team.
Competition with Consulting Firms: Interim managers sometimes compete with larger consulting firms, which can be a more expensive option for companies due to the premium for brand names.
Over time, many interim managers build their reputation and networks, allowing them to source work independently or through LinkedIn, reducing reliance on intermediaries.
Types of Companies Seeking Interim Treasurers
Interim treasurers are often sought by larger companies with complex treasury needs. The likelihood of requiring an interim treasurer increases with the size and complexity of the treasury. Industries vary, but the core principles of treasury management remain consistent across sectors. Specialization in a particular industry is not typically seen as necessary for interim treasurers, as their skills are broadly applicable.
Cost Comparison with Full-Time Employees
When considering the cost of hiring an interim manager versus a full-time employee (FTE), it’s important to recognize the different budgeting and payment structures:
Hourly Rates: Interim managers usually charge an hourly rate, starting around 100 euros, with the average being around 125 euros or higher, depending on the assignment’s complexity and the manager’s experience level.
Budgeting: The costs should not be directly compared to FTE salaries, as they come from different budget categories. Interim managers are often paid from a consultancy budget, separate from the HR salary budget.
Temporary Nature of the Role: While more expensive in the short term, interim managers are a temporary cost and can bring extensive experience and efficiency, reducing the need for training and enabling them to complete tasks in fewer hours.
Negotiation and Flexibility: Costs can be negotiated based on the essential tasks and budget constraints, ensuring a fit for both parties.
In summary, the hiring process for interim treasury managers varies depending on the company’s approach, the complexity of the treasury, and budget considerations. Their role offers flexibility and specialized expertise, making them valuable for temporary or project-based assignments.
Starting a Career as an Interim Treasury Manager
For those aspiring to become interim treasury managers, the journey involves more than just technical know-how. It requires an entrepreneurial spirit, as securing assignments demands proactive networking and self-promotion. The technical knowledge of treasury functions is foundational but equally important is the ability to convincingly present one’s skills and experiences to potential clients.
Personality and cultural fit within a team are significant factors. Beyond technical expertise, how one integrates and collaborates with existing teams can greatly influence their success in securing and retaining assignments.
Building a strong personal brand, particularly on professional networks like LinkedIn, is crucial. An effective LinkedIn profile acts as a dynamic CV, showcasing skills, experiences, and professional achievements.
LinkedIn Strategies for Interim Managers
Interim managers should focus on regularly updating their LinkedIn profiles and engaging with their network to maintain visibility. This can include sharing insights, commenting on relevant posts, and responding to industry trends.
Balancing personal and company branding on LinkedIn is essential. While personal profiles can offer more immediate engagement, developing a company page can enhance long-term brand credibility and reach.
Growing a LinkedIn following, especially for a treasury-specific page, involves consistent and engaging content. Understanding and leveraging LinkedIn’s algorithms can help increase visibility. Regular, relevant posting and active engagement with the community are key strategies for building a following.
The Role of an Interim Treasurer: Balancing Pros and Cons
The career of an interim treasurer offers a dynamic and diverse professional journey, marked by both advantages and challenges.
Diverse Experience: Moving from company to company, interim treasurers gain extensive knowledge and insights into different treasury practices.
Monetary Benefits: While it should not be the sole motivator, interim treasurers may find the financial compensation appealing.
Lack of Job Security: Unlike full-time employees, interim treasurers lack a fixed salary and job security.
Income Instability: Holidays and periods without assignments mean no income, requiring effective financial planning and risk tolerance.
External Perception: Sometimes, as external consultants, interim treasurers may feel excluded from certain company events or dynamics.
Being an interim treasurer is akin to being an entrepreneur. It requires a mindset that can handle the uncertainties and fluctuations of freelance or contract-based work.
Services Offered by Interim Treasurers
Interim treasurers are not limited to a specific set of tasks; their services are quite varied. They are prepared to handle a range of treasury-related tasks, even operational ones. However, considering their higher rates, they must judiciously select assignments that justify their costs. For instance, tasks like KYC processes, while essential, might not always be the most cost-effective use of their time.
In addition to typical treasury functions, interim treasurers often provide specialized services like treasury scans and foreign exchange assessments. These tools are designed to quickly identify potential areas of improvement and savings within a company’s treasury operations.
Expanding Beyond Individual Assignments
Interim treasurers are increasingly looking to expand their services beyond individual assignments. This expansion involves moving towards building a company brand that offers a wider array of services. Collaborating with other interim professionals is becoming a popular strategy, creating a network that offers a broader range of expertise and greater availability.
This collective approach allows them to compete effectively with larger consulting firms, offering a comparable level of service but with the personal touch and flexibility that larger firms might lack. Balancing personal branding with company branding is crucial for sustainable growth in the market.
The Role of Speaking Engagements in Interim Treasury Management
Speaking at events (like Eurofinance) serves multiple purposes for an interim treasurer, blending personal branding with professional enjoyment and networking. It’s important to note that the primary goal of these engagements isn’t directly signing clients but rather contributing to a broader strategy of personal and professional development.
Key Aspects of Speaking Engagements:
Personal Enjoyment: The foremost motivation is the enjoyment of discussing treasury management. The enthusiasm for the subject matter is a crucial driver.
Overcoming Challenges: Initially, public speaking can be daunting. However, embracing this challenge can lead to significant personal and professional growth.
Brand Development: Regular participation in panels and webinars contributes to the treasurer’s personal brand, establishing them as a knowledgeable and visible figure in the field.
Networking: Although not the primary objective, these events provide networking opportunities, indirectly assisting in expanding professional connections and reach.
The Indirect Impact on Client Acquisition
While speaking at events might not result in immediate client signings, the long-term benefits include:
Enhanced Visibility: Being visible in industry-specific events increases recognition and can indirectly lead to new client engagements.
Expanded Network: Engaging with a broader audience can lead to new connections, potentially opening doors to future opportunities.
Demonstration of Expertise: Showcasing knowledge and experience in public forums reinforces the speaker’s status as an expert in their field.
In summary, speaking at industry events is a multifaceted endeavor for interim treasurers. It is a blend of personal passion, brand building, and networking, rather than a direct channel for client acquisition. Engaging in these activities, coupled with an active online presence, helps in shaping a well-rounded professional profile that can attract opportunities and collaborations in the long run.
In conclusion, interim treasury management is a dynamic and evolving field that offers both significant opportunities and unique challenges. These professionals, often navigating their careers as ‘job hoppers,’ provide immense value to organizations through their flexibility, immediate availability, and broad range of experiences.
Unlike traditional employees, interim managers bring a wealth of diverse insights, enabling them to implement effective solutions swiftly and efficiently. The key to their success lies not only in their technical expertise but also in their ability to adapt and integrate into various corporate cultures.
The role’s entrepreneurial nature demands resilience and a proactive approach to securing assignments. This involves leveraging platforms like LinkedIn for personal branding and networking, as well as participating in industry events to enhance visibility and establish credibility. Through these channels, interim treasurers not only share their knowledge but also continuously learn and grow professionally.
This career path suits those who thrive on variety and change, and who possess the ability to navigate the uncertainties of non-permanent roles. The journey of an interim treasurer is marked by continuous learning, adaptability, and a strategic approach to both personal and professional development.
As the business world continues to evolve, the skills and experiences of interim treasurers will remain invaluable for companies seeking expertise in navigating complex financial landscapes.
How does an interim treasury manager differ from a traditional consultant?
Interim treasury managers are often involved in full-time, hands-on roles within a company, whereas consultants typically focus on specific projects or advisory roles without integrating into the company’s internal structure.
What is the typical duration of an interim treasury management assignment?
Assignments can vary but typically range from a few months to a year, depending on the company’s needs and the project’s scope.
Do interim treasury managers need specific industry experience?
While industry-specific experience can be beneficial, it’s not always necessary. The core skills and principles of treasury management are applicable across various sectors.
Is there a demand for interim treasury managers in small to mid-sized businesses?
Yes, there is a growing demand in small to mid-sized businesses, especially those experiencing rapid growth or undergoing significant financial changes.
How do interim managers handle resistance from existing teams?
They use effective change management strategies, focus on improving processes and efficiencies, and build strong business cases to gain support from the wider team.
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