Treasury might not be your specialist job function, but as Steve Hendy proves, when working in finance you will always need to interact with specialist departments. The stronger your understanding of your colleagues task and responsibilities, the smoother the collaboration will be. In particular, tax and treasury go hand-in-hand, in order to understand how to calculate the correct tax and the associated risks, you first need to understand the transaction.
What does your current role entail?
My focus is on supporting the development of Pearson's overall tax strategy, assisting on Mergers and Acquisitions projects and assessing the impact of legislative change on the Pearson group. My role involves interacting with a number of specialist teams including legal, corporate finance and treasury
How did you end up in a career in treasury/finance?
I have always had an interest in business and finance, and took a graduate position in tax with KPMG after leaving university as I was looking for an area which constantly changes and presents new challenges. This has proven to be the case throughout my career so far.
Why did you take an ACT qualification? What was your main objective?
Treasury and tax are areas of the finance function which need to closely together, indeed some companies have a combined tax and treasury department. It is important for tax professionals to fully understand the financial transactions, which are quite often complex, in order to accurately determine the tax implications and risks. This qualification provides a good level of knowledge and in particular, assists me with understanding the commercial rationale behind certain treasury activities.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
Whilst having a strong tax technical understanding is important, the ability to apply it to scenarios, and adapt as necessary, in order to achieve commercially focussed solutions is vital. Therefore, having a broad understanding of the business and commercial drivers is key to the role. Although, these comments focus on my experience in tax, I believe that this applies equally to other finance functions including treasury.
Which specific areas of your job role will ACT qualifications support?
The obvious area is in respect of group financing activities. However, the breadth of the course has also provided useful knowledge in other areas which will help me in my role going forwards. Examples include understanding valuation techniques and alternative methods to measure value creation in a business.
Are there particular areas of treasury/finance that this qualification helped you understand even better?
The Corporate Finance and Funding module really helped with consolidating knowledge around valuation of debt and equity, project appraisal and drivers of value creation. For example, it is now easier for me to understand how a change in a tax outcome in a valuation model could impact an overall valuation of a business or project.
What are the benefits of having professional qualifications to add to your CV/résumé?
Tax and treasury are two areas which work closely together and in a number of companies form part of the same team. I believe holding a treasury qualification will help me if I decide to pursue a broader tax and treasury role in the future.
What happens next in your career and how has this qualification helped?
The immediate impact that this qualification will have is to help improve my understanding of treasury which will help my day to day role. In the longer term, it provides me with more potential to pursue a broader role.
What were the benefits of being able to study online?
The online study materials and forums have given me the flexibility to fit my study around my work and personal commitments. It also allowed me to commence the AMCT qualification whilst I was living and working in Australia. As someone who has also completed professional qualifications where the tuition was 100% classroom based, I have much preferred the online approach.