As the only treasury management certification in the corporate finance profession, the Certified Treasury Professional® (CTP) designation truly sets the global standard for excellence in treasury. Certified practitioners earn up to 16 percent more than their non-certified peers, as well as experience better job security and greater career flexibility. More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies employ CTPs; in fact, many organizations seeking new employees list the certification as a required or preferred qualification.
As the CTP turns 30, we speak with some practitioners on why they chose to earn the certification, and the changes it’s gone through over the past three decades.
Broadening the focus
As most treasury practitioners know, the CTP actually started out as the Certified Cash Manager (CCM) designation. Since making the transition to the CTP in 2003, the certification has become less operational and more strategic overall.
“When I took the exam in 1996, it was focused on cash management operations,” explained Jim Washam, CTP, FP&A, assistant professor at Arkansas State, whose university has partnered with AFP since the mid-1990s to offer courses in treasury management. “Everything was very operational and very tactical. Over the years, that has expanded quite a bit into a lot more strategic and more long-term material. So while financial risk management has always been there, now we have enterprise risk management as well. And there’s more on long-term markets than there used to be.”
This shift is a reflection of how the treasury profession itself has expanded and become more complex over the past 20 years, noted Jeff Johnson, CTP, CPA, chief financial officer at Amesbury Truth and chairman of AFP’s board of directors. “The added complexity of the treasury world has expanded the more tactical knowledge needed, as well as expanded the need for more strategic knowledge as well, and that’s reflected in the certification,” he said.
Patricia Hui, CTP, senior corporate treasury manager at Mentor Graphics Corporation, agreed that treasury has evolved and thus so has the nature of practitioners’ responsibilities, therefore, it only makes sense that the certification has also changed. “We’ve gotten involved in a lot of other functions, rather than just purely cash management; we get into capital markets, working capital, liquidity, pensions—you name it,” she said. “And so the CTP is not only focusing on cash management like before; it’s well-rounded.”
Roberta Eiseman, CTP, president of Comcast Capital Corporation and former vice chairman of AFP’s board of directors, noted that as treasury’s role has grown within companies, the knowledge base required to earn the credential itself has had to become larger and more complex. “From speaking with colleagues who have taken the exam in recent years, it has become more challenging,” she said. “In my eyes, this makes the certification more valuable.”
Anthony Scaglione, CTP, executive vice president and CFO of ABM Industries Inc. and past AFP chairman, was part of one of the last CCM classes prior to the shift to the CTP, so he has seen firsthand how the certification has evolved into a much broader designation. “When I first took the CCM, it was a primarily U.S.-focused designation dealing with U.S.-centric issues,” he said. “More recently, I’ve seen it evolve to covering a much broader set of issues, including macroeconomic events that have much more of a worldwide appeal. It’s introduced an international aspect that has been broadened over the years since I first earned the CCM.”
Earning the CTP
While earning the CTP is certainly a good way for jobseeking treasury professionals to distinguish themselves among their peers, they need at least two years in a corporate cash/treasury management or corporate finance-related position profession before they’ll be able to sit for the exam. And this is for good reason—the exam is no easy task, as even practitioners who have been in treasury for years will attest.
Ferdinand Jahnel, CTP, vice president, treasurer for Marsh & McLennan, took the exam well into his career, shortly after becoming an AFP board member. “I wanted to get an in-depth understanding about the entire curriculum that is provided and serves as a basis of the exam,” he said. “To be honest—you really have to prepare for the exam, which took me approximately three months of studying.”
Perhaps already being in “study mode” can help one prepare for the exam, noted Eiseman, who earned the CTP early in her career. “I was still in the habit of studying and testing from my MBA work, which helped,” she said. “It’s a challenging exam that not everyone passes, then and now. The key was, and still is, to study and prepare.”
Though Jahnel was a CTP late bloomer, he advises young treasury and finance professionals to pursue the designation as soon as they are able to. “Early on in a finance/treasury career, it helps provide a comprehensive wealth of knowledge that is all encompassing, and can help a professional to look beyond his or her current work environment,” he said. “Over time, it can further contribute to your next career steps as the CTP is very well-respected and known to be challenging to achieve.”