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Group treasurers – how to move towards a CFO/FD position

On 25th March 2015, Michael Page Treasury hosted a CFO/group treasurer dinner to give group treasurers an opportunity to get some insight into how to manage their careers and more specifically, how to make the transition from group treasurer to CFO/FD. Stefan Allanson, deputy CFO at Keep Moat and Ronan Murphy, finance director at Mill Group gave some advice having successfully made the transition themselves. 
Here are some of their top tips for treasurers looking to move up to CFO or finance director:
  • Take every opportunity to get involved in wider finance projects including pension funds, insurance, investor relations and transformation projects. Although this will be a demand on your time, it is important to show both willingness to expand your skill set and technical nous. 
  • Do not market yourself as the ‘treasury specialist’. It is important to be known as the person who is closest to the business itself. Maintaining relationships with banks, credit rating agencies is obviously paramount to a treasurer’s role but don’t let this be the only stakeholder focus. It is equally important to go out to the business units and regional centres and actively manage internal relationships.
  • Don’t let the technical aspects of treasury scare people. Most people assume that treasury is an incredibly complicated and niche area and will be reluctant to approach you as quite often they aren’t sure what it entails - raise the profile of your team; make it clear that they can help other teams internally.
  • Understand the boardroom. There is sometimes little scope for treasurers to understand boardroom politics and the softer aspects of a CFO role. It is important to try and get as much of an understanding of this as possible and be sensitive to the dynamics between CFO and CEO.
  • Be mindful that the transition from group treasurer to FD/CFO may require a sideways move to a smaller business. This may seem like a risk and stagnation of your career in the short term but in the long term you are positioning yourself closer to a business, and will be in a stronger position going forward.
  • Make your intentions clear. Approach your line manager and ask them what skills you would need to make the transition. It is imperative that you promote your own agenda. Make sure your intentions to broaden and grow are on senior management’s radar. 

Are you looking for opportunities in treasury?

Are you looking to take the next step in your treasury career? Or are you simply looking for some further advice from our treasury experts? Contact Jessica Timelin, manager at Michael Page Treasury for a confidential discussion.
Jessica Timelin
T: +44 20 7269 2474