For transformation finance has to be robust

Some of you may already be familiar with the LASER framework for assessing a finance function. Great finance functions are: Lean Accessible Speedy Engaged and above all Robust. The position of robustness at the base of this list is significant: it supports everything else. If accounts are wrong or controls are weak then you can be as lean and speedy … Read More

What seems to be the problem?

You run a business that has reached a decent size (let’s say, £12m turnover). You love what you are doing and want to kick on, raise some funding and scale-up to the next level (why not £50m turnover?). But there is a problem… Cash-flow is tight and you are not sure that your finance function is up to the job. … Read More

Be Informed: 10 Questions that your Management Information Should Answer

Running a business without good management information is like driving a car with your eyes closed: the chances are that you are going to crash. But what information is useful? What things should you be seeking out on a regular basis? Although businesses vary, there is a core set of management questions that need answered in most businesses on a … Read More

What’s the point?

What’s the point? I am sure that there are quite a few of you out there who think this now and again. First, let me be precise in what I mean by the question: What is the point in running a good finance function? And the answer is…. happiness for all. What? The boring people with the calculators create happiness? … Read More

Management: the Netflix way

Most of us know Netflix for its innovative entertainment business, not for its management. In the last few days I’ve been learning about its ground-breaking management culture and high performance working environment. I’ve been really impressed how it has got rid of processes that are a complete pain in too many businesses and invested in a culture that encourages responsibility … Read More

Big Stuff for Finance Functions

As the senior manager of a finance function you know that new technology is transforming the financial management landscape. But you may not know which competencies you should be focusing on to keep up. If you want to find out the big stuff to concentrate on, this article is for you. The diagram above shows how the amount of effort … Read More

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

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

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