12 Ways to Improve Your Finance Function

There has been a fair amount of comment in the press that UK firms have been poor at improving their productivity. If you are a CFO or FD what can you do to improve the productivity of your finance function? Here are 12 ideas: 1. Paint a picture of what good looks like If each member of your finance team … Read More

Financial Foresight

You may or may not be familiar with the teachings of Peter F. Drucker, something of a god amongst management gurus. I have spent some of my holiday picking through some of his classic writing. I love his requirements for the 3 early stages of a new venture: First, a focus on the market, not the product. Without this you … Read More

Flexible working is in fashion

Whether it is zero hours contracts for shop floor workers or part-time contracts for senior expertise, flexible working is an established and growing way that modern businesses engage staff. Why is this? Well there are a bunch of reasons: It is socially acceptable for people to work for an organisation part-time. The increase in numbers of working women made employers … Read More

10 reasons why annual budgeting is a waste of time

The more enlightened amongst you may have picked up murmurings that annual budgeting has become an increasingly discredited activity: rolling 12 or 15 month forecasting is the way to go. For those of you who have not woken up to this revelation, here are 10 reasons why annual budgeting is a waste of time. There is confusion about what a … Read More

the need for speed

In this newsletter: I return to the subject of speed in the finance function with 10 ways to speed up month-end. A reminder of what a growing business needs from its finance function. Great TEDtalk from Seth Godin on the future of education. And I loved these slightly disturbing images of Clownsville.   Speeding up month-end Speed is so important … Read More

LASER: the 5 questions to pose your finance function

Further to last month’s blog, I have boiled the 5 principles for 21st Century Financial Management into an acronym for you to remember. To consider whether your finance function is up-to-scratch think “L.A.S.E.R.” standing for: Lean Access to information Speedy Engaged Robust. These principles can be applied to any business large or small. They lead into 5 questions that will … Read More

The Need for Speed

One of the 5 key principles for operating a great finance function is SPEED. When your finance function provides information it should be doing this as quickly as possible with plenty of information available in real-time. There are 3 reasons why this is important: 1. Competition: More and more businesses are providing real-time management information about key performance indicators, such … Read More

Where do I start? How to tell if your finance function measures up

So you want to build a high performance finance function. Where do you start? Firstly, find out what the people who use and work in the finance function think. Ask managers across your business, senior and junior, in a mix of functions & roles, including finance itself and some friendly stakeholders outside the business, like investors and key customers or … Read More

10 ways to speed up month-end

If you’re going to create a finance function that is fast enough for the 21st Century, you need to complete month-end accounts in 5 days or less. Here are 10 ways to speed things up: 1. Get the team onside: If they are, they will make positive change happen. If not, they will prevent it. Your people need to understand … Read More