CTP Profile: Where There Is None, Create It

  • By AFP Staff
  • Published: 2/28/2023
Hanoi Skyline

For Thong Nguyen, the move to treasury came from what had previously been an unrecognized need in his company. Thong was working for an international finance company (Home Credit Vietnam) that had been running well without a department dedicated to managing liquidity and market risk. Early on in 2018, the financial crisis many countries were facing caused them to rethink this.

The group decided that they needed better oversight regarding its liquidity position and that it also needed to be able to measure related risks more closely at a country level, so they set up treasury department. “At the time, I was a funding manager,” said Thong. “So I was familiar with the capital market and funding investors, plus I regularly communicated with the company’s top management, giving me the inside track on the company’s overall liquidity and risks.” And because of his knowledge and relationships, he was promoted to lead the new treasury department.

Which leads us to today

After over two in that role, Thong moved on to his current position as Director of International Funding, F88 Business JSC – Vietnam. Having been in this role for just over a year, he said there are three core aspects to his job.

Nguyen Quang ThongThe first is liquidity management. “This is more of an operational item,” he said, “making sure the company is able to fulfill its payment obligations.” The second is risk management and liquidity risk where he monitors and manages the duration gap of assets and liabilities, in both the short term (deciding on the duration of new funds) and long term (planning for future pipelines). And his third core task is assessing market risk, focusing on interest rate risk and FX risk.

Clearly you need to have knowledge of treasury to be successful in a role such as Thong’s, but it goes deeper than that. “Others just see the tangible result, but treasury is involved in all of a company’s operations, from policies for the sales team and limits to counterparties to AR, AP and funding,” he said. Treasurers need to be able to view the company from different perspectives — the short-term transactions and the hypothetical view of the long-term horizon.

Relationship management is also critical. “In order to understand the company and apply your knowledge, treasurers have to be able to work with different stakeholders,” said Thong.

Talking about a resolution

When asked about the most critical treasury issue he’s facing today, Thong said unequivocally it is system integration and quality of data. “Most of the company is lacking a treasury management system,” he said. “They rely heavily on spreadsheets.”

Resolving this issue will be a long process, said Thong. It will require the company’s management to take a good, hard look at operations. Most companies have a legacy issue related to data, and to clean it up, you need expert help, which the company has been working on. “It’s a painful process for the operations team,” he said, “But better to do it now rather than later.”

As we look to the future

Looking to the future and his career growth, Thong said he wants to add two skills in particular: emerging technologies and cross-border treasury management. As for his future career aspirations, he aspires to a treasurer/CFO role in a big and complex company so he can apply what he’s learned.

“Vietnam does have a lot potential for this as the economy is developing very fast, and by extension the companies within it,” said Thong. The demand for proper management of liquidity and balance sheet is huge in Vietnam, especially among corporations that have boomed in recent years.

Seeking a complete overview of treasury

While Thong’s understanding of treasury was very good as he came into the field, he felt he lacked a complete overview of treasury and how it really operates. He searched for courses and came across AFP’s CTP credential, which he noted was well recognized. “The curriculum attracted me,” he said.

Acting as an official stamp of his knowledge of treasury was the first benefit Thong noted the CTP provided. He said it also helped him to have a better overview of treasury, which allowed him to successfully build the new department. “It’s not that complex, but in order to explain things to others in a way they’ll understand, you have to really understand the intricacies of treasury,” he said. And the CTP provided him with that level of knowledge.

Would he recommend it to others? “Yes, of course,” he said. The need in the Vietnam market is huge.

And it’s not something only big corporations require, smaller companies do too. “You don’t need to be treasurer for the knowledge gained from the CTP to be applicable. You could be in AR, AP or even fundraising. If you want to develop a career in finance, treasury is one of the critical (and interesting) areas,” said Thong.

Are you looking to make the transition to treasury, or do you want to further develop your treasury aptitude? Get started on your journey to earning the CTP today.

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