In 2017 we created the Treasurer Test, an online, peer-based assessment that measures the technical knowledge in treasury and the personality profile of the candidate. The idea for this originated from two important observations. First, in most labour markets there is no recognized qualification in treasury like CPA or CFA in other finance positions. Second, most companies do not employ many in treasury and they do not have the expertise to screen potential treasury staff. So how do you know your candidate brings what you are looking for?
Fast-forwarding to 2021, we have almost completed the new version of this online assessment that helps companies answer this question. The tool also proved to be beneficial for educational and coaching purposes. The treasury community, universities, IT and assessment specialists all contributed. We felt it was time to take a step back, evaluate and see if adjustments are necessary.
How did we assess the assessment and what did we learn?
Of course, we asked assessment candidates as well as companies using the report about their experiences. Partly structured, partly in non-structured interviews. Furthermore, after four years, we gathered a lot of, anonymized, data. We asked a mathematician to digest and create information. His analysis taught us a lot. These were our most important findings:
- Many considered the treasury technical questions very hard, often too hard. This is confirmed by the data: the percentage right for some questions is that low that methodological they do not bring value;
- The Free University Amsterdam and University of Applied Sciences Utrecht did a great job providing the first questionnaire. The remark we received is that some questions are too academic and not well connected to the reality of what treasurers encounter in their work;
- A number of questions are considered too local (Dutch, Western Europe);
- Some subtopics in corporate treasury were covered too thoroughly, others insufficient. Cash pooling, for instance, is too dominant in the first version of the test;
- The results from the personality assessment are benchmarked against the treasury population as well as against a general population. The hypothesis is that the personality of an average treasurer differs from that of an average person. The data so far does not validate his hypothesis.
What we did with our findings
As the report shows the results of a candidate as a comparison to a peer group, the test being too hard is in theory not an issue: there is a level playing field. We do consider the candidate experience very important, so decided to take a number of questions out or adjust them. Also, the too academic and local questions are taken out. This gave us the opportunity to bring in more practical and international questions at the right complexity level.
We invited industry experts from around the world to send in one or two questions. These were screened and edited under the supervision of a team with academic and industrial expertise: Francois Masquelier, Maximo Santos Miranda PhD, Frans Boumans and Konstantin Khorev PhD. They shaped and molded a more balanced questionnaire. Upon their approval, the new questionnaire and mathematically adjusted benchmark is implemented. Stay tuned as version 2 of the Test is almost live!
In parallel Team TreasuryXL worked on the website, social media and further information flows. This in preparation to make the Test more widely known and better used. The recruitment agency using most Tests, Treasurer Search, invested further in knowledge and application of the Big5.
We made what was good even better and look forward to helping many make good use of the assessment. As corporate treasury is constantly evolving we are sure we will have to work on version 3 in the future and intend to spend a bigger effort on the personality part of the assessment. So for now stay tuned, the announcement of the Treasurer Test 2.0 launch will be released soon.
On behalf of the project team Treasurer Test