Treasurer and Finance Whiz
Fi Caheny dreamed of being an actress at school and she still has a secret desire to win an Oscar. She never played a Shakespeare heroine, but all’s well that ends well, because nowadays she loves her job as a busy treasurer.
What are some of the things you do in your role?
As a Treasurer, I set foreign exchange (FX) rates each day. I buy and sell foreign currencies based on a forecast I prepare that predicts how much our customers will buy and sell. I manage cash and make sure that we don’t run out. I also manage the local relationship with the RBA (our central bank).
Actually, I had never heard of a career in Treasury until I started working for the Bank of Montreal Ireland in Dublin in my mid-20s. I have to say my job is pretty cool. I get to buy and sell foreign currency each day and I need to watch the market to see the best time to do this. Because everything is so crazy in the world with the pandemic, the Aussie dollar goes up and down like a rollercoaster each day. Events going on around the world impact currency movements, so I get to learn about what’s going on globally. That’s super interesting.
Do you have any advice for girls considering a career in finance?
There is absolutely no reason why women can’t do any Treasury jobs. You just need the intellect which is not gender-specific. If you’re interested in this career go for it. I’m definitely not a stereotypical finance person, so don’t let anyone tell you can’t give it a try.
Although I qualified as an accountant in my 30s, you don’t need a qualification to start your career in Treasury. If you want to progress your career, you can learn on the job and study as you need to.
What do you look for when you hire someone?
When I’m looking for someone who is at the start of their career, I look for someone who’s adaptable, willing to learn, a great team player, able to meet deadlines and who has attention to detail.
Did you know what you wanted to do when you were at school?
For sure. I wanted to be an actress! Then I decided to go to uni to study to be a drama teacher. After taking a year off between high school and uni, my love of travel started (I went to Ireland for five months to meet family), so I studied tourism and worked in that industry for a few years. Then I bought a one-way ticket to Dublin when I was 23 (and stayed for 11 years). I had a number of temp jobs to help pay for all the travel I wanted to do. That eventually led to working in finance and then Treasury.
How did you get started?
Well, unfortunately I didn’t believe enough in myself at the time to audition for NIDA to start my acting career. I wish I could go back in time and tell my young self to just give it a go. The way that I got into Treasury was when I was working in a small bank in Dublin. I walked into the managing director’s office and asked for more work. He said he’d keep it in mind. Then I started helping the accounting team and eventually started in Treasury. I have always loved to learn so took it on. I was also lucky to have the opportunity where if I didn’t like the new role I could go back to my old one. It was a win/win result – if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
What do you love most about what you do?
I’m extremely passionate about learning. I love that in my current job not a day goes by without learning something new.
Do you ever feel unsure of yourself?
Sometimes, when I don’t have all the answers but what I’ve learned through experience is that no one does. Just make a note of the question and go and find the answer. You’ll learn and you’ll know for next time.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Being adaptable. When I look back I can see my strengths have carried through in my career. I managed to not only change career paths but also work in different industries. Careers last a long time, so be adaptable and who knows where it will take you.
Who helped you get to where you are today?
My current manager who I’ve been working with for nearly 5 years is an amazing mentor. I’ve learnt so much from her. I have also been doing coaching this year with a fabulous lady and she has been a huge help. But before that it was pretty much all me. I signed up to do all the study, apply for all the jobs, change my career path. We all have the power to shape our own lives.
Do you have any regrets?
Maybe not believing in myself and thinking I wasn’t smart enough for many years, but that was because I didn’t receive much positive feedback or encouragement growing up. But all that has changed now. We are all intelligent and wonderful, just in different ways. I think that’s great because this world couldn’t function if we were all the same, and it would be boring.
Do you have any advice for girls thinking about a career in your industry?
Be curious and do some research about what types of jobs there are. You don’t need a degree or qualification to get started in Treasury.
In your wildest dreams, what would you love to do and get paid for it?
You’ll never take the actress out of me, so maybe there is an Oscar with my name on it!