How to Become a City Treasurer (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Tara Astbury
  • August 24, 2023

Ever wondered how cities efficiently manage their finances and keep the economic wheels turning? That job goes to the unsung hero of municipal administration—the city treasurer. 

The expertise of a city treasure is indispensable, as they meticulously manage funds, investments, and budgets to ensure the city’s financial stability and growth. A city treasurer’s responsibilities, however, go beyond crunching numbers. They’re instrumental in navigating the complexities of local government and strategizing for the city’s economic prosperity. 

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to become a city treasurer and learn how meeting management software can help you hold effective city council meetings.

What Is a City Treasurer?

A city treasurer is a vital financial steward who’s responsible for managing the financial affairs of a city or municipality. As a custodian of public funds, they oversee revenue collection, budgeting, investing, and disbursements. The city manager acts as a reliable watchdog, ensuring transparent financial practices and compliance with regulations.

Why Are City Treasurers Important?

City treasurers play a pivotal role in maintaining fiscal stability and economic health. They contribute to the city’s growth and development by efficiently managing revenues and expenditures. Their astute financial planning enables governments to fund essential services such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and public safety.

City treasurers also help build the city’s creditworthiness, which is crucial when seeking funding for major projects. Their prudent investments generate returns that can be reinvested into the community, fostering economic progress.

The accountability and integrity of a city treasurer instill public confidence and trust in the government’s financial operations. Citizens rely on them to safeguard taxpayer funds, preventing mismanagement and corruption.

How to Become a City Treasurer

Qualifying as a city treasurer requires a combination of education, experience, and specific skills. Here are the general steps to becoming a city treasurer:

1. Education

The first step in becoming a city treasurer involves acquiring the necessary education. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field. Some universities offer specialized public or government finance programs, particularly beneficial for aspiring city treasurers.

During your academic journey, focus on building a solid foundation in financial management, budgeting, taxation, public policy, and government regulations. Courses in accounting principles, financial analysis, and fiscal administration will be valuable in preparing you for the role’s challenges.\

Related: How to Become a City Manager

Consider participating in relevant extracurricular activities or joining finance-related clubs and organizations on campus. Engaging in internships during your undergraduate studies can provide practical experience and give you a glimpse into the financial workings of various organizations.

2. Gain Work Experience

After completing your education, get some work experience in the financial sector. Look for opportunities in entry-level positions within finance departments of private companies, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations. Roles in accounting or financial consulting companies can also be valuable in developing your financial expertise.

As you progress in your career, seek opportunities that allow you to work on projects related to budgeting, financial forecasting, investment analysis, and cash management. The experience you gain will sharpen your skills and provide real-world examples to draw upon in your future role as a city treasurer.

3. Network and Build Connections

Engage actively in professional organizations like the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) or the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada (APTUSC). Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars related to public finance to connect with industry professionals and potential mentors.

Connecting with experienced city treasurers, finance directors, and government officials can offer valuable insights and guidance. These connections can also alert you to potential job openings and opportunities that might not be publicly advertised.

Maintaining a robust online presence through platforms like LinkedIn can further enhance your networking efforts. Share your knowledge through articles, engage with others in your field, and participate in online discussions to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and engaged finance professional.

4. Pursue Certifications

To stand out in the competitive city treasurer positions, consider pursuing relevant certifications. Certifications provide evidence of your expertise and dedication to the profession, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

For example, the Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) designation, offered by the GFOA, is a widely recognized certification for finance professionals in the public sector. The certification covers topics such as governmental accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, and debt management.

The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) certification, offered by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), focuses on cash and treasury management, providing valuable skills for city treasurers responsible for public funds.

5. Apply and Interview

After acquiring the necessary education, work experience, and certifications, it’s time to apply for city treasurer positions. Search for openings on local government websites, job boards, or through professional networks you’ve established.

When applying, tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills, accomplishments, and experiences. Emphasize your ability to manage public finances, navigate government regulations, and make sound financial decisions.

Once you secure an interview, thoroughly research the city’s financial situation, recent budgetary challenges, and ongoing fiscal initiatives. During the interview, showcase your financial acumen, problem-solving skills, and understanding of the city’s financial needs. Provide concrete examples of how your previous experience and skills make you a strong fit for the role of city treasurer.

Revitalize Your Local Public Meetings With eScribe

Becoming a city treasurer opens doors to crucial responsibilities. You get to work with the city manager and attend city council meetings. The success of these meetings hinges on their effectiveness and the efficiency of decision-making.

To ensure productivity, equip your council with the right tools. eScribe’s meeting management software provides the solution your board needs for highly productive and effective meetings. eScribe’s pricing structure is both reasonable and adaptable, making our services accessible to even the smallest of jurisdictions. 

The eScribe platform offers the following features for city council members:

  • Meeting Manager: Efficiently plan and organize city council meetings, schedule agendas, and manage meeting details in one centralized platform.
  • Meeting Minutes: Capture accurate and detailed minutes, track decisions, and record actions and resolutions to maintain accurate and transparent records of council meetings.
  • Reporting and Workflows: Access data-driven insights and analytics, generate detailed and coordinated reports, analyze trends to inform decision-making, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Collaboration Tools: Foster seamless communication among council members and stakeholders with document sharing, agenda collaboration, and feedback mechanisms.

See eScribe in action: Check out the City of Greensboro case study for a real-life example of how eScribe improves meeting effectiveness for the City of Greensboro, North Carolina.