‘I KNEW RIGHT AWAY THIS WAS THE PROGRAMME FOR ME…"
"I started my career studying languages in my home country of Switzerland. German is my mother tongue and I also speak English and French. I knew that working as a translator wouldn’t be the right fit for me, though. I like interacting with people.
A good friend suggested I send a blind application to PwC, where I worked as an auditor for a couple of years. Everything in finance fascinates me and that fascination has grown stronger since studying treasury with the ACT.
I joined L&P Luxembourg in 2005. Prior to COVID-19, I travelled internationally a lot, helping our internal audit team and also performing treasury reviews in Europe and China.
In Luxembourg, I divide my time between treasury and accounting and many treasury opportunities come my way as project manager or project leader.
The companies that I am responsible for are the holding companies for almost all of L&P’s international subsidiaries. Most cash repatriations to the parent company flow through Luxembourg. The first notional cash pool that we put in place was a single currency pool in euros, sterling and US dollars. In 2015, we changed our corporate bank for Europe following a request for proposal process. With our new corporate bank, we implemented a multicurrency notional pool for Europe in euros, sterling, US dollars and renminbi.
The new structure allowed us to consolidate 130 manufacturing facilities in 19 countries. We opened 84 new bank accounts, completing the process in under 12 months. That was our biggest treasury project of recent years. Additionally, I have also set up three corporate card programmes with different providers and I am researching opportunities for China.
Right now, I am working on the implementation of Concur in Europe and a global multilateral netting programme.
When I was looking into treasury qualifications in 2017 and came across the ACT, I knew right away that this was exactly the programme for me. Originally, I intended to just complete the Certificate in Treasury (CertT) but I discarded this plan after my first exam. I just couldn’t stop learning. I am curious by nature, I love change and challenges; I don’t like to stay in my comfort zone for too long.
I signed up for the Diploma in Treasury Management (AMCT) as soon as I passed the CertT in May 2019. I got my last results in December 2020 and I have now started the Advanced Diploma in Treasury Management, which I’m very excited about."
STUDYING FOR THE ACT QUALIFICATIONS: ACQUIRING MUCH MORE THAN JUST TECHNICAL SKILLS
"These qualifications have done much more than just adding to my technical skills. They have shaped me into a different person. I have gained resilience, emotional strength and so much joy and satisfaction on my journey. I think much more widely and admire diversity as it doesn’t scare me anymore. If we gain more knowledge and a better understanding of all areas of treasury, we start to appreciate new and different ideas.
The highs and lows of studying have been considerable. But the important thing for me is not only gaining a better understanding of treasury but working through those ups and downs. Two months after I began the Diploma, I reached a real low point in my life. I was ready to quit. But the ACT has amazing tutors. One of them – who I now consider a friend – convinced me to keep going. He said: “Why would you give up on your dream? It is tough now, but you will come out of this situation much stronger.”
I actually failed my first written assignment for the Diploma – and I was devastated. I had never failed an exam in my entire life. On my next attempt, I just scraped through.
Again, my tutor helped me grow. He suggested I read as many professional papers as possible to understand how to write them. Additionally, I signed up for two Coursera courses online, one on academic writing and another on project management. I passed my next assignment with distinction.
I don’t use the word failure anymore. Whenever I identify an area that I feel uncomfortable with, I look for the growth opportunities. For example, I don’t like speaking in public, but I know that for the Advanced Diploma I must present my dissertation to a panel of experts. Toastmaster is my solution. I have signed up for an annual membership of this public speaking group and participate in meetings twice a month. This helps me become more confident and also helps me improve my spoken English.
I would like to have a more focused career in treasury, with a stronger focus on the non-profit world. I think that every professional should focus more on the why than on the what. We need more purpose in what we do. I am a big believer in ‘paying it forward’ and I have accepted two voluntary roles with the ACT, which I absolutely love. Again, these roles require me to go outside my comfort zone, but with every hour spent contributing, I can see the gains I make professionally and personally."
“If we gain more knowledge and a better understanding of all areas of treasury, we start to appreciate new and different ideas.”