A global symbol of excellence, the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation sets the standard in the treasury profession. Earning the CTP signifies that you have demonstrated the knowledge and skills required to effectively execute critical functions related to corporate liquidity, capital and risk management.
AFP recently caught up with Alexander Seelmann-Eggebert, CTP, deputy regional treasurer at Nestlé in Singapore, to discuss his decision to earn the CTP, and how it has affected his life and career journey.
AFP: How did you get your start in treasury?
Seelmann-Eggebert: I graduated with a Master of Science degree in finance at the end of 2008, which was the peak of the global financial crisis. The job market was challenging in those days, but after some months of applications and interviews, I received an offer to join a Spanish automotive company as a management trainee in finance. During my traineeship, I worked in treasury and liked it. Unfortunately, there was no vacancy in treasury at the end the program, and I took over a financial planning and analyst role; however, I was still keen to join treasury at some point in time. In 2013, I received an opportunity to join Nestle’s Regional Treasury Center in Panama. Without thinking long, I quit my job in Spain and moved to Panama to start as a treasury advisor for the Latin America region.
AFP: What are two or three core aspects of your day-to-day job?
Seelmann-Eggebert: My job mostly focuses on overseeing front office operations, including foreign exchange and money market deals based on short-term funding and investments requirements. These operations must be well aligned with the company’s treasury guidelines and daily counterparty limits, as well as properly booked and approved in the Treasury Management System (TMS).
I also follow financial markets and any other global developments that could affect a corporate treasury. Finally, I focus on business partnering for internal stakeholders. These are usually related to short- and medium-term risk and liquidity management, but also general market and macroeconomic updates.
AFP: What is something that you would like to do in the future in treasury?
Seelmann-Eggebert: I would like to leverage more automation, digitalization and other technology solutions within treasury, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. While operations are still the core of our daily work, there are ways to make operations leaner and give us more time to focus on strategic topics. Existing TMSs could level up in terms of their functionalities and reporting capabilities, and corporate and TMS providers could collaborate more to find better solutions.
AFP: Are there certain skills or training that help you in what you do now?
Seelmann-Eggebert: The basic technical knowledge I acquired over the years is still the main tool that helps me to do my day-to-day job. However, it has become increasingly important to also have a strong set of soft skills to interact with stakeholders and colleagues.
As our job is very specialized, it’s important to be able to explain complex topics to a non-treasury audience, which requires good communications skills. Teamwork is also essential, so I try to coach more junior team members, while simultaneously receiving coaching from my manager to be better at my job.
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I am actively trying to improve my soft skills and am fortunate that my employer offers internal trainings around these topics. I also try to use trainings and workshops that the AFP provides on a regular basis.
Furthermore, as treasury can be fast paced, it is essential to have good time management skills and to know how to set priorities.
AFP: What skills are most important to you to add over the next couple of years?
Seelmann-Eggebert: I want to be more flexible and open to changes, and to keep up with innovations and new technologies. A treasurer needs to be able to deal with the changing business environment to stay ahead of the game. It is important for treasurers to challenge the processes regularly and always look for ways to improve. They need to stay up to date with new technology solutions and incorporate them into daily work wherever it makes sense. Examples of this that are proving to be incredibly useful to treasury include PowerBI, cloud solutions, and application programming interface.
AFP: Are there any specific areas that treasurers need to focus on in the coming years?
Seelmann-Eggebert: First, compliance is an increasingly important responsibility for a treasurer and will require even more attention and dedication. Second, it is necessary to have a solid business continuity planning in place that also addresses the increasing risk related to cyber security. Lastly, treasury provides the financial supply chain for a company, and it is fundamental for treasurers to keep this supply chain intact.
AFP: What is your approach to it?
Seelmann-Eggebert: Take advantage of the variety of internal and external trainings available to treasurers. It would also help to search the general dialogue with colleagues, other treasurers, banks and industry experts to stay informed about the latest developments and possible solutions. The key point is always to stay curious and informed. Being a member of a finance community, such as the AFP, can be very useful as it gives you access to a broad range of trainings and the opportunity to network with colleagues from the industry.
AFP: Why did you decide to earn the CTP?
Seelmann-Eggebert: Treasury is an area in finance that is mostly learned on the job. I was curious to learn more about treasury in an academic way and to observe basic concepts independently from the industry. I also wanted to challenge myself and learn more about topics that were not covered in my work, whether I would need this knowledge in my current role or not. Finally, I decided to earn the CTP because I wanted an internationally recognized designation that demonstrates my knowledge and skills.
AFP: How has the CTP credential impacted your life/career?
Seelmann-Eggebert: While I just recently earned the CTP, people not only from treasury, but also other finance departments are reaching out to ask about the certification. This interest shows me that the CTP is well known within the finance community.
In my company, the CTP is not a prerequisite to work in or make a career in treasury, but holding the designation is appreciated, and I am confident that it will help me in my current role. The certification has given me confidence as it shows I have a solid treasury knowledge beyond my current responsibilities. My interest in treasury has only increased, and I continue to look for opportunities to extend my knowledge outside of the usual office hours.
AFP: Would you recommend the CTP to others? Why?
Seelmann-Eggebert: Yes, I would recommend the CTP to others. For someone who is relatively new to the industry, the course material provides an excellent base as it covers all the fundamentals one needs to know. For a more senior person, especially someone who has been at the same company for a long time, the CTP provides the opportunity to look beyond the day-to-day activities and treasury policies, to help fill knowledge gaps and create a different, more holistic point of view.
Learn more about the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation.