This course 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 get to grips with fundamental areas before moving onto the full Certificate in International Cash Management.


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
  • 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


This qualification 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 the two units below and five others, as well as a compulsory tuition school 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, ie 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.


⬤  How you study
Course materials are online so you can start your studies any time. There are five online assessment windows every year. This means you can study until you feel ready and then you can book your assessment time for the next available window.

⬤  Study time
1 - 3 months; 40 -45 study hours

⬤  Learning licence
Access to the online course for 9 months.

⬤  Assessment
One online multiple choice assessment (2 hours).
You can take your assessment from anywhere in the world, wherever you have a reliable internet connection. Find out more.

⬤  Fees
Course fee £590  
Student membership fee £100 (valid for the duration of your 9 month learning licence, or until you pass your full qualification, whichever is soonest.)
Assessment fee £100

⬤  Entry requirements
There are no entry requirements for this award.

⬤  Exemptions
If you are CIMA or ICAEW qualified, you are exempt from the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals. Click here to check the accountancy exemptions. You are eligible to fast track onto Units 3-7 of the Certificate in International Cash Management.

The Award in Cash Management Fundamentals is delivered online, through the ACT Learning Academy learning management system. Study guides take you through the learning step by step. You can also download them if you want to study offline. You will have access to your online content for 9 months, giving you plenty of time to choose when you want to sit your assessment.

24 / 7 access so you can study when and where you want


Specimen exam, study techniques and tips


Online dedicated tutor support and student discussion forums


When booking onto the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals you will need to become a student member of the ACT.  Your AwardCMF 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 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.


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. The bursary covers the Award in Cash Management Fundamentals course fee (£590) and assessment fee (£100). Please note, the Certificate in Cash Management (the next stage after the Award) is not available under the bursary scheme.

More information, inspirational stories and application details can be found here 


When you are ready to book, you will be asked to create an ACT Learning Academy account if you haven’t already got one. You will need to provide your date of birth, full postal address, telephone number and email address.

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

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.

Online course fee: *
GBP 590 AED 2,765 I USD 755 

Student membership fee: *
GBP 100 AED 470 I USD 130 

Buy qualification

Exemption fee:*

If you are eligible for an exemption from this qualification, you can buy your exemption here.

GBP 100 | AED 470 | USD 130

* Fees are subject to local rate of VAT where applicable


Your online assessment can be booked at any time through the ACT. You can book straight away or wait until closer to the booking deadline. 
Fee: £100  *

* Fees are subject to local rate of VAT where applicable

Book assessment


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

Would like a 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.