Treasury: Is It Time to Think Big, Be Bold, and Take an Unconventional Approach?

By Rich Bond

I love Meg Waters’s recent Treasury and Risk article “Bright Ideas for Fostering Innovation in Treasury”. Ms. Waters rightfully says most treasury departments are regarded as bean counters. But the article, which is a roundtable discussion of Microsoft treasury team members, shows how that particular company is different. Microsoft was honored by T&R with multiple Alexander Hamilton Awards for innovations in treasury.

My frustration as a recruiter is that most treasury resumes reflect that the candidates are just as Ms. Waters said: bean counters. Very few resumes that arrive in my Inbox show any examples of process improvements or quantified achievements. They are simply a regurgitation of the functional responsibilities in their job descriptions.

When treasury practitioners read articles like this, do they realize you need to evolve, not just stagnate? Too many treasury and finance people are traditionally afraid of taking risks. But if you continue to do the same old, same old, you will become obsolete and disappear.

The article demonstrates how innovative treasury can be. It all comes down to culture. As one roundtable participant said, Microsoft encourages its people to “think big, to be bold, and to use an unconventional approach.”

Microsoft is looking at hiring much differently than they did in the past. The new focus is on diversity of skills, thoughts, and experiences – not just checking the boxes of traditional treasury qualifications. Can they connect the dots across multiple areas and be strategic in their thinking?”

With a growth mindset, people will be able to learn what the company wants them to know. Candidates are asked questions like ‘Tell me about a time where you delivered an innovative solution, and what was the impact”—or, even better, ‘Tell me about a time where you failed and how you handled that.”

I couldn’t agree more with this mindset and approach.


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