Laura Paterson blog, client, Qualified Finance...
To coincide with the start of the new financial year, Cedar asks finance leaders for their predictions for the finance function for 2014/15.
The consensus amongst the executives interviewed is that with the development in new technologies the transformation of the finance function is still prevalent and that it is continuing to evolve even more into a decision-support / business partnering role. With renewed optimism and strong predictions for growth this financial year is shaping up to be the most pivotal yet for the finance function. Here are their predictions…
Gareth Bayliss, Divisional Finance Director, Microsoft
“The big issue facing the finance function over the next few years will be: How will the role of finance adapt as more self-service finance tools become available. There are tools in the marketplace that can deliver very complex and insightful analysis at the push of a button. In my view this means that finance is going to need to become even more of decision-support function where we are using the improved data generated to drive insight and seize new business opportunities.”
Head of Commercial Finance, FMCG Business
“Optimism is returning, but in FMCG and particularly grocery the market is still very competitive and the Big 6 Supermarkets are continuing to push their suppliers hard. This means that the finance function must continue to act as a more and more of a business partner to make sure that we are making the best commercial deals that we can.”
Steve Wright, UK Finance Director, Avaya
“Over the past two years we have put programs in place to increase our margins through cost control and they will continue through 2014/15. However as the market starts to improve we will be actively looking to grow our top line and sales finance will be enabler for that growth. We are also seeing a switch in focus from CapEx to OpEx as our clients continue to adopt cloud-based solutions, and we see this as a great growth opportunity through 2014/15.”
Ricky Singh, Finance Director, Illamasqua
“This is a pivotal point in time for the finance function. We are starting to see growth again, both in the UK and across Global Markets. The key for finance is to strike the right balance between the recession mind-set of controlling costs whilst focusing more on growth.
In order to achieve this there must be a healthy debate between finance and the business over the ROI of every venture. We must avoid getting carried away by the rhetoric coming from marketing and sales but also accept that there is growth predicted by the Bank of England and that we need to capture it before our competitors do.”