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Career Advice Series: Observations from John Lowe, CFO at SquareTwo Financial


I asked John Lowe, CFO at SquareTwo Financial, to help launch a series of interviews with high-level financial professionals. In this series, financial experts will offer some career advice on how to build important skills.

Q1: John, what career advice would you give a person starting off in the treasury field?

John Lowe: The best advice is to try to learn the most you can about the business model of where you are working. Many young professionals start out grinding away the details, without any view of the bigger picture. If you can both grind away (which is extremely important) and also gain an
understanding of a broader view, you can propel yourself well beyond your peers as progress much faster professionally.

Q2: If you were hiring a treasury person for your organization, what skills and attributes would your organization look for?

John Lowe: Since with a decent base, most skills can be taught, I always look for three key attributes in a candidate:

1. Strong work ethic
2. Great attitude
3. Intelligence

Anyone can have (or develop) the first two, but without the first two the third is meaningless. I see a lot of smart people make poor decisions because they have the wrong attitude or are not willing to work hard. I have always said that you make your career in about 5-10 business days each year, and those are the late nights or difficult times where you step above the rest and do so with a great attitude.

Q3: How can a treasury person acquire those skills if the tasks are not currently in his/her job description?

John Lowe: See my response to question 2. At SquareTwo Financial, we try to hire great people and train them. A good company (and boss) will provide that training.

Q4: What skills do you view as becoming more important (or less important) within the coming 5-10 years?

John Lowe: Systems skills and soft skills are important. Systems skills are obvious given that we are in a technology driven environment and every company has systems that must "speakā€ to one another. Soft skills are less obvious. We now live in a text/social media driven communication era, and those who have the soft skills to communicate and articulate effectively will rise above the rest.

Learn more about John Lowe on his LinkedIn profile:

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