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‘Stressury’: Genuine Risk or Fantasy?

by François Masquelier, Head of Corporate Finance and Treasury, RTL Group, and Honorary Chairman of the European Association of Corporate Treasurers

Is the treasurer’s job stressful?

In Forbes magazine’s annual survey of the most stressful jobs, the treasurer’s job has never figured in the top ten. When we think of the most stressful jobs, on the face of it the treasurer’s job does not look to be one of the most stressful. However, if we look at it more closely, nobody would dare dispute the (potential) stress aspect of the job. Treasurers handle millions and billions in multiple currencies to the point of losing sight of their economic reality at times. These are no more than lines of figures and zeros, but they represent astronomical sums, and therefore huge financial and operational risks. Treasurers are also responsible for generating the highest risk-free returns possible, while ensuring there is enough liquidity, minimising cash lying idle here and there and guaranteeing compliance and adherence to ever more numerous regulations, which increases their stress. Does stress stop treasurers sleeping properly at nights? Surely not. After spending the day counting cash and keeping down risks, they can go to sleep peacefully counting sheep.