Finance Directors from North West England gathered in Leyland last week to share knowledge, expertise and solutions to their day-to-day struggles.
The networking event, hosted by AFR Consulting, was an opportunity for Finance Directors (FDs) and CFOs to discuss their frustrations and find solutions with the help of their peers.
There were discussion groups as well as talks from keynote speakers, which were designed to give FDs insight and knowledge into areas that would make their jobs easier.
Discussion group topics included‘technology and AI business systems’, ‘the role of an FD in dealing with operational issues’ and ‘working capital issues encountered when dealing with large corporates’.
The event included a speaker from the government’s Department of International Trade, Arshad R. Dadabhoy, who gave Finance Director’s advice on how best to utilise their business services to improve their overall export strategies overseas.
Among other things, he discussed areas that smaller businesses may not be aware of such as potential subsidies, funding for overseas tradeshows and how the government can help with social media and other e-platforms when it comes to exporting.
Security expert David Parkinson from Sapphire talked about the need for business leaders to be aware of the need for Cyber Security and how it affects Finance Directors specifically. He talked about how the most successful organisations take security seriously and the risks of insecure data.
Topics included cyber security within mergers and acquisitions and how it is often left until the last minute, how supply chains are also often a weak link and the importance of the new GDPR legislation.
Following the speakers, there were some interested findings from the FD discussion groups. In the ‘technology development and AI systems’ discussions, areas were brought up such as ensuring your systems ‘talk to each other’ and how implementing the cloud can make your staff members more efficient.
Those in the ‘operational issues’ discussion groups thought it was vital for Finance Directors to be involved as much as possible in other departments, without getting too ‘bogged down’ in the detail. Other ideas raised included ensuring KPIs were kept simple.
The ‘dealing with corporates when raising capital’ discussions uncovered problems such as long or complicated payment terms and difficult paper trails. It was concluded, among other things, that it’s important to have the appropriate staff in place to deal with it, such as credit controllers, account managers and admin support. It is, they said, also important to make a concerted effort to understand complicated contracts and payment processes from other companies.
Simon Speak, of AFR Consulting, said: “Since most Finance Directors are near the top of their respective organisations, they can’t really seek advice from others in similar positions in their everyday lives. These events are designed to remedy that. It’s also great having speakers filling in gaps in their knowledge, which should make their jobs easier.
“We often receive positive feedback about our networking events from Finance Directors because of this format.”