A WELL-EDUCATED MAN!
Evaldas Balkys is a firm believer in driving forward his own professional development and has done so throughout his career by taking on a plethora of qualifications relevant to his role as treasury consultant. A recent graduate of the ACT's Certificate in Treasury, here he talks about his passion for self-improvement.
What does your current role entail?
Being a Treasury Consultant I have only one objective – to solve my clients’ difficulties by providing solutions in the field of treasury and risk management. My responsibilities change dramatically from one project to another, which is why my job is always exciting. I get to work with global corporates, financial institutions as well as NGOs in different countries. The tasks also vary from short-term, one-man assignments to huge global implementations, from very technical solutions to strategic advisory. Among my most recent assignments were, for instance, a strategic review and assessment of a treasury function and design of target treasury operating model with a 3-year roadmap, development of an IFRS 9 compliant credit loss calculation tool for a long-term sovereign loan portfolio and an implementation of a TMS.
How did you end up in a career in treasury/finance?
During my nearly 10 years of professional experience I have had multiple roles in finance. I felt that treasury, and particularly risk management, are the areas that are more quantitative and at the same time more challenging and interesting, giving me the possibility to combine everything I have learned so far and achieve my potential. Also, I notice that the remit of a traditional treasury function is shifting, making it more prominent and increasing its value and impact on business. All these facts contributed to my decision to stay in this field.
Why did you take this ACT qualification? What was your main objective?
I am a strong believer and supporter of continuous education – it is always beneficial to refresh what one already knows or to learn something new on top of it. As a treasury professional I bring value to my internal and external customers through my knowledge and my past experiences. Therefore, being up-to-date with the latest developments is a must in this age of information and technology. The main reason for choosing the ACT over other options available on the market was the very good feedback from my work colleagues who already passed various ACT qualifications in the past.
Which specific areas of your job role will this qualification support?
I am exposed to many areas of treasury: from operational interim positions to global strategic decisions. While it may sound clichéd, the answer is ‘all areas’. Most of the time it is impossible to say what I will be doing three months from now. Therefore, I am certain that it will support me wherever and whatever I will be doing in the future.
Are there particular areas of treasury/finance that this qualification helped you understand even better?
The world of treasury was not entirely new to me at the time I took my exams. Nonetheless, I was particularly interested in the treasury technology (e.g. bank connectivity) and the cash management sections. These are very specific to corporate treasury and thus gave me new insights.
What are the benefits of having professional qualifications to add to your CV/résumé?
Major professional qualifications share three things in common. Firstly, they are recognized globally as they set a certain standard. It does not matter in which country you sit the exam - it is everywhere the same. Secondly, they distinguish you from the crowd and are often preferred by HR departments during a recruitment process. While it does not guarantee you the job, it helps you to stand out. Thirdly, they create positive vibes by showing motivation and hunger to seek new knowledge.
Do you hold any other professional qualifications? If so, how does it/do they complement your ACT qualification?
As holder of the CFA and FRM designations, I can definitely see and speak about both the differences and synergies of these qualifications. The CFA gave me a very good understanding in multiple fields, especially when it comes to derivatives, financial reporting and quantitative methods. The FRM complemented my knowledge in financial risk management, econometrics and also gave a different perspective from a financial institution’s point of view. Finally, the ACT’s Certificate in Treasury provided me practical insights into daily topics of corporate treasury. While there is an overlap in some topics, I still see the benefits in each of these qualifications.
What happens next in your career and how has this qualification helped?
The Certificate in Treasury is definitely another important milestone in my career. There were certain topic areas where I felt immediately more knowledgeable and was able to apply this knowledge during projects with my clients. Also, passing all five exams with distinction gave a strong signal to my employer about my dedication and intention to grow further. It is still too early to judge what impact this ACT qualification will have but I am sure about the payoff in the long-run. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing with the Diploma in Treasury Management.
How was your experience of studying online with the ACT?
Nowadays flexibility plays a vital role in our professional and personal lives. Both studying through the ACT Learning Academy and sitting exams remotely helped me to balance the two. Having the ability to choose our own studying pace and take exams topic by topic gives the chance as well to those whose workload is volatile and unpredictable. Also, I found additional readings and links on the Academy’s website very useful.