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Expert Exchange

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What’s on the CFO’s mind: Dealing with the uncertainty around Brexit

by Eoin Canty on 18 Mar 2019

We held a breakfast discussion focusing on how businesses are dealing with the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The feeling around the room was that UK businesses are tired of working through uncertainty.

The political agenda is a continuation of the Brexit campaign, focused on borders not businesses, which is impacting on contingency planning and decision-making. But the room agreed there was a real opportunity to create a positive tone and grow ‘Brand Britain’, through promoting the assets the UK has to offer.

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Reflecting on BIE's 2018 research and thoughts for the year ahead

by Marty Jaynes on 07 Jan 2019

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed a great holiday season and are excited for 2019.

In our previous post, we reflected on the most viewed BIE blogs of 2018, which covered the popular topics of business transformation, interim management, and innovation.

In this blog post, we wanted to recap the research projects we carried out last year. We tapped into the latest trends in three functional areas, including business transformation, finance, and supply chain. In case you missed them, here’s a rundown of the key findings and themes from each of the reports.

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Transformation as a means of succession planning

by Simon Moore on 22 Oct 2018

In an environment where there are fewer and fewer roles in finance because of outsourcing, transformation is one of the best areas where you can still give people succession development opportunities to make them ready for the next step.

Transformation projects mean exposure to different experiences and dealing with a variety of people. It means working across different functions, whether it’s IT or HR, as well as with external parties like consultancies and systems integrators. This experience will be vital when you get to the top and need to engage and liaise with the board.

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Is finance still leading the decision support function?

by Simon Moore on 08 Oct 2018

Companies have more data than ever at their disposal. But knowing how to interpret this data to inform strategic and operational decisions is easier said than done. And organisations are grappling with how to fuse together meaningful data from a plethora of systems.

Often the responsibility falls to finance, because it's numbers. But these numbers aren't just financial - they come from all areas of the business.

It’s here that we can expect the world of decision support to come into its own. This function will be made up of a number of different skills. There will be finance expertise; data specialists who can find patterns and theories in the numbers. But then you need people who can paint that picture and explain the patterns in the numbers to the board.

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Where is the next CFO coming from?

by Simon Moore on 26 Sep 2018

The silos of technical, commercial, and shared services in the finance function are creating a problem. In ten years’ time, it will be much harder to find well-rounded finance talent. As discussed in a previous post, this increasing focus on specialisms within the function are hindering succession planning.

Currently, the most common route to becoming CFO is to come up through a group finance role, move into FP&A, followed by getting divisional FD experience, before heading finally towards the number one position. But with the development of specialisms, what does the future path to the top look like? Where will the next CFO come from?

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How is the finance function investing in people in 2018 and beyond?

by Simon Moore on 12 Sep 2018

Commercial finance and FP&A were the top areas that organisations were looking to invest in during 2018, according to BIE's Finance Succession Planning and Transformation Report

This is no real surprise as we see organisations drive towards an increased use of technology and decision support functions, as well as using analytics to predict and develop decisions for the future. Everyone is looking to the future which naturally means the focus is on planning and commercial support.

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A question of responsibility: The CFOs role in succession planning

by Simon Moore on 28 Aug 2018

CFOs today need to be focused on more than just the numbers. They need to be able to play a central role in enabling the business to operate effectively, especially when going through business transformation.

But how much of a role are CFOs playing when it comes to succession planning and people development within the function? And how much of a role should they be playing?

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How do you get the experience to become CFO?

by Simon Moore on 16 Jul 2018

As we explored in a recent post, the development of finance specialisms means organisations are at risk of not being able to find someone rounded enough to become CFO.

In a PLC environment, unless you have previously been a CFO of a listed company, the shareholders are wary of anyone being promoted internally because they are worried they don’t have the necessary experience. Additionally, in a PE environment, if you haven’t been the CFO of a PE-backed business, PE houses don’t want to talk to you.

So how can organisations find a better balance between breadth and expertise across all financial disciplines, to allow senior finance executives to step up into the number 1 role?

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Are finance specialisms hindering succession planning?

by Simon Moore on 09 Jul 2018

In a recent survey by BIE, 43% of respondents felt that the development of specialisms within finance was hindering CFO succession planning.

This highlights a challenge for the future leaders of finance in today’s heavily siloed business environment. They need to find a balance between specialising in a financial discipline and getting broad exposure across all aspects of the function in order to develop more rounded experience necessary to progress to the top.

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Eoin Canty joins BIE Executive's Finance Practice

by Marty Jaynes on 29 Jan 2018

BIE Executive is delighted to welcome Eoin Canty to their Finance Practice.

Eoin joins as a Consultant, after 15 years’ experience in the finance profession, most recently at Kingfisher plc, where he held various commercial finance positions, as well as Group Head of FP&A. He will be focusing on supporting BIE’s executive search capability across the finance function.

His appointment is fundamental to increasing BIE’s ability to use a mix of consulting, interim management and executive search services, to provide expertise and talent to support organisations deliver transformation programmes that leave a positive legacy in order to achieve continuous growth and success.

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