The Award in Cash Management Fundamentals (AwardCMF) is designed to provide students with an understanding of the essentials of cash management and working capital, allowing those who are new to the subject the opportunity to grasp the fundamental areas before moving onto the full Certificate in International Cash Management (CertICM).


Perfect for you if you:

  • are looking to take the first step in developing the essential skills and knowledge required for a career in cash and liquidity management, and you’re not ready to commit to the full Certificate in International Cash Management (CertICM)
  • have recently moved into a cash management role (or would like to), either within corporate treasury or as part of a general finance remit, and would like to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of this topic
  • are a banker or a consultant who needs to understand the basics of cash management from the perspective of the corporate in order to advise clients more effectively


Two online units

1-3 months study time 

(40-45 study hours)


One online exam

2 hour multiple choice exam


You are a Student member of the ACT while you study and once qualified, you are eligible to become an eAffiliate member.


The Award in Cash Management Fundamentals is made up of the two units below. Once you have completed this award, you can then use these two units and the assessment towards the full Certificate in International Cash Management, which includes five additional units, as well as a compulsory tuition school/Tuition Webinar Programme and an additional assessment.

Unit 1: Cash management – the essentials

This unit is designed as an overview of both the corporate and banking worlds and provides insights into their respective contexts. 

Firstly, the role of the treasurer is examined and where cash management fits within that role. Most importantly it offers a working definition of good cash management and the resulting benefits to the company. Fundamental cash management concepts are described including the operating cycle, the cash flow cycle, the nature of cash flows, the importance of liquidity, finality, availability and float, where it arises, what causes it and how to reduce it.

Secondly, this unit explores the basics of banking. Topics include the role of the central bank, different roles a financial institution can play, types of account and the documentation required to open them, as well as how banks make their money and ways in which companies can seek to reduce their overall banking costs. The impact of Basel III on how banks manage their credit risk and balance sheet is also examined.

Lastly this unit reviews the various instruments that are used for making payments and their respective impact on cash flow.


On completing unit one you will be able to:

  1. Describe the role of treasury and cash management including the factors that influence how those functions are performed within a company.
  2. Define cash management from both the bank and corporate perspectives and explain why it is important to companies.
  3. Explain the significance of liquidity to a company and the sources, uses and cost of maintaining liquidity.
  4. Comprehend important cash management concepts such as the cash flow cycle, float, finality, availability and the time value of money and describe how these concepts are used by cash managers.
  5. Recognise where float arises in the supply chain process and recommend what can be done to reduce float
  6. List the main duties of a bank and describe the differences between types of bank account.
  7. Calculate interest on a bank account.
  8. Describe the different types of charges levied for bank services and the techniques that can be used to reduce bank fees.
  9. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different payment types (electronic and paper–based) and recommend appropriate payment vehicles for different transactions and situations.
  10. Be aware of regional preferences and know which payment instruments are favoured in which countries.
  11. Explain the impact of Basel III on the banking sector and treasurers.

Unit 2: Working capital management

This unit explains how the financial statements are used by different parties to better understand and manage the company. It reviews and defines the components of the balance sheet, income statement, statement of changes in equity and statement of cash flows. It also describes the important ratios used by cash managers and financial institutions in assessing a company’s liquidity and cost of capital.

The current accounts (current assets and current liabilities) are also the key to managing working capital, i.e. freeing up liquidity to fund current operations. This unit discusses how the cash manager can improve these balance sheet items by ensuring that monies due in (receivables or debtors) are received as quickly as possible, and that monies due out (payables or creditors) are timed to be paid only when due. While not strictly responsible for inventory, the cash manager can also influence business practices to accelerate the conversion of inventory into receivables and cash. Analysing certain balance sheet items provides valuable insights into the cash conversion cycle and how efficiently a company is using its liquidity. Nonetheless, these aspects have to be managed within a broader business context, taking into account:

  • Commercial relationships
  • The economic environment
  • The business environment (whether domestic or international)
  • The banking environment
  • The company’s own corporate culture and organisation

Lastly, this unit reviews the trade financing vehicles that can be used to release cash back into the operating cycle and the specialised bank services designed to help a company manage float.

On completing unit two you will be able to:

  1. Analyse how a company is being managed through the interpretation of a company’s financial statements.
  2. Perform simple financial analysis by computing important financial ratios, such as liquidity, gearing and performance ratios.
  3. Critically assess accounts receivable and accounts payable in order to recommend how the organisation can optimise working capital.
  4. Recommend improvements to the cash conversion cycle through the calculation of the cash conversion cycle and the value of trade discounts.
  5. Identify the ways in which cash can be released back into the operating cycle using trade financing vehicles.
  6. Evaluate the benefits of banking services designed to manage float, and quantify the benefits of using a lockbox.


There are no entry requirements for this certificate.

Our qualifications pathway is designed to support you at every level of your career. There are however a number of ways for you to get recognition for what you have already learnt and achieved through your previous studies of either professional qualifications or at university. This may result in exemptions ranging from one study unit to the whole qualification.

Qualified accountant

If you are CIMA or ICAEW qualified, you are exempt from the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals.

You are eligible to fast track onto Units 3-7 of the Certificate in International Cash Management

Take a look at the accountancy exemptions information to see which exemptions apply to you.

If these accounting exemptions apply to you, you will be able to buy your exemption from the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals at the same time as you buy your Certificate in International Cash Management units.



The ACT Educational Trust is a charity that promotes the treasury profession through education and support. The Trust offers bursaries to assist students from developing countries who are unable to fund or gain sponsorship for their studies, to study for an ACT qualification. If you are a national and resident of one of the countries listed here, and are unable to gain sponsorship for your studies from your employer, you can apply for a bursary for the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals. The bursary covers the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals course fee, student membership fee and assessment fee.

The next bursary application deadline is 24 June 2020.

Find out more and apply


Both units of the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals are delivered online through the ACT Learning Academy study site. As they are accessible online, you can start your studies at any time.

There are four assessment windows every year. This means that you can study until you feel ready and then you can book your assessment time for the next available window.

Each unit will take you approximately 22.5 hours of study time to complete, with 45 hours study required in total. We estimate you should be able to complete the course in one to three months alongside your full-time work.

Learning licence

When you buy your learning materials you will have access to them for 9 months upon booking.

You can complete the learning for all the units in 1-3 months (45 study hours in total), so the 9-month learning licence gives you plenty of time to choose when you want to sit your assessment.

Learning materials

Online learning materials include:

  • Study guides take you through the learning step-by-step
  • Study guides can also be downloaded, if you prefer to learn offline
  • Practice progress tests after each unit
  • Practice exams

Learning support

Online learning support includes:

  • Student discussion forum
  • Online tutor support forum
  • Access to study techniques and tips
  • Access to additional resources

To help you plan your learning around your existing work/life commitments, take a look at the following suggested study plan.

It provides a guideline of how you can complete the course in 3 months.

Would you like a free sample of the study materials for the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals so that you can try before you buy? You can request for a sample to be emailed to you by filling in your details in the form below.


Whilst you are studying it’s up to you to decide when you are ready to opt in and take your assessment. You can take your assessments from anywhere in the world, wherever you have a reliable internet connection.

The assessment is one online exam. There are four exam windows each year to choose from.


120-minute exam

90 Multiple choice questions


You can view all the 2020 dates and detailed assessment information here:

Find out more


When booking onto the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals you will need to become a student member of the ACT.  Your student membership is valid for the duration of your 9 month learning licence, or until you pass your full qualification, whichever is soonest.

This gives you access to lots of great things: 

  • booking your assessment
  • subscription to The Treasurer magazine
  • careers resources
  • events, regional groups and webinars
  • policy and technical updates
  • mentoring service

Remember to take advantage of these benefits - they really help make your introduction into treasury a fuller experience and will ensure you make valuable contacts which can impact your career, especially if you’re just starting out! When you have successfully completed the award, you will be eligible to become an eAffiliate member and use the designatory letters AwardCMF. These are the internationally recognised letters that go after your name that recruiters and employers look out for as they show you are a very credible candidate. You can find out more about ACT membership here.


Award in Cash Management Fundamentals learning materials, membership and assessment fees:

When you start studying, you buy your online learning materials and student membership at the same time. Your assessment can be booked at a later date, when you feel prepared and ready to sit the exam.

Online learning materials GBP 610
Online assessment GBP 105
Student membership GBP 105

Fees are subject to local rate of VAT where applicable.

Award in Cash Management Fundamentals exemption fees:

The following fee applies if you are eligible for an exemption from the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals.

Exemption GBP 105

Fees are subject to local rate of VAT where applicable.


When you buy your learning and membership, you will need to log in to your ACT Learning Academy account. If you do not have one, you will be prompted to create one.

Have your credit / debit card details to hand; you will be required to make online payment through WorldPay. Upon submission, you will receive an automated summary email.

A student membership fee is payable on booking. Your student membership is valid for the duration of your 9-month learning licence, or until you pass your full qualification, whichever is soonest.

Your booking will be processed within five working days. 

You will be sent a booking confirmation with information on how to start your studies and at this time you will become a Student member of the ACT.

Buy qualification

Next available assessment window 14 - 17 July 2020
Bookings open 06 April  2020
Booking deadline 19 June 2020, closing at 4pm

When you buy your assessment, you will need to log in to your ACT Learning Academy account. If you do not have one, you will be prompted to create one.

Have your credit / debit card details to hand; you will be required to make online payment through WorldPay. Upon submission, you will receive an automated summary email.

Your booking will be processed within five working days.

Buy assessment

The Award in Cash Management Fundamentals was recommended to me by my colleagues. I interact quite a lot with the corporate banking product team, operations, and also treasury. I believe this certification will help me to be more confident in talking to the business, as well as potential career switch.
Erlin Diana, Global Transaction Banking, Deutsche Bank

We can also deliver cash management learning to companies with teams that are interested in taking either the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals, or the full Certificate in International Cash Management, and tailor it to your business needs. Find out more about in-company solutions here