Her education, a degree in accounting and finance, was the perfect backdrop to the career path she started down: working for one of the big four audit firms. But despite enjoying aspects of the job — the environment, working with a variety of clients — it wasn’t where her heart was. So, when Christiana Lim was offered a role in the Regional Treasury Center at a fast-moving consumer goods company (FMGC), she grabbed it.
What she’s doing now
Today, Christiana is assistant treasury manager for Daimler South East Asia Pte. Ltd. In this role, she is responsible for the analysis of daily and monthly cash flows and the execution of management strategies regarding working capital. “I also perform transaction processing and settlements for the major markets in the APAC region,” she said.
Keeping herself abreast of the financial news and developments in the region and around the world helps Christiana to appreciate and understand the decisions the APAC markets sometimes make. In addition, the rigorous policies in place at her company ensure the team remains compliant in the delivery and execution of its critical processes.
When it comes to current challenges she’s facing in her job, Christiana said remaining relevant to their internal stakeholders and customers in the region is number one. One of the more recent examples of this came from worldwide lockdowns and a remote work environment. This atmosphere made it logistically difficult to obtain documents for KYC purposes or to obtain ink-based signatures on instructions sent to the banks. So, the company implemented electronic signatures with its financial providers.
“The process of implementing electronic signatures was not easy, but we have seen how the benefits far outweigh the efforts,” said Christiana.
Look to the future
Christiana feels that technical skills can be easily acquired with on-the-job experience and training. What she really wants to work on developing in the next couple of years is her emotional intelligence. “To be able to communicate and influence effectively, display emotional empathy and leadership traits is imperative in order to navigate the increasingly challenging and complex environment,” she said.
What Christiana wants to achieve in the future is focused on her team in treasury and the positive changes that come with digitalization. First, she wants to automate more of the mundane day-to-day processes and tasks in order to provide her team with more time to devote to the real value-adding work. “We need to be more sensitive to the ever-changing technology trends and digital landscapes so as to remain relevant as treasury professionals,” she said.
The CTP led to personal and professional growth
Christiana went for the CTP certification “for personal and professional growth.” She said she really enjoys the work and cross-functional collaboration with various departments that treasury undertakes, and she wanted to earn a certification that would provide credibility, as well as enhance the value she brings to the team and the company.
Studying for the CTP certification allowed Christiana to think more strategically. She now has more structured knowledge and a solid foundation of corporate treasury. With that, Christiana performs her role with better awareness of the end-to-end processes and how some decisions affect the downstream processes.
Christiana’s recommendation of the CTP came with a warning: “It will not be easy, especially for full-time working professionals who have to juggle work and family commitments in addition to studying for the CTP certification, but there is a sense of achievement in becoming certified. Increasingly, more treasury roles require a CTP certification, in addition to a degree; therefore, armed with a CTP, it could give you an edge over the others.”
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