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“Right now, FDs are in the limelight”

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In our second view from top FDs, CSC Media finance director Melissa Foux (2009 Young FD of the Year) talks about success’s fine margins in a tough climate. 

“The biggest influence on FDs in 2013 is going to be the hunt for value for money. That’s very different from cost-cutting. But even companies like ours, looking to 2013 in a more positive mood than the media suggests, want to ensure they’re getting value for money. For FDs, that means being at the forefront of driving efficiencies. We want to grow the business, but responsibly. There’s not going to be much scope for getting things wrong.

“It’s still difficult to raise money, even for successful businesses. We’ve approached banks over the past few months and there’s a lot of  caution about. That places extra emphasis on forecasts. You need to give banks reasons to be confident. There’s an opportunity for FDs to build influence more broadly. When everything is growing fast, everyone loves the sales and marketing guys. But right now, the FD is in the limelight. This year will see plenty of opportunities to show how they can add value to the business.

“For FDs, the other big theme for 2013 ought to be making sure finance is properly integrated into the business. It’s one thing having good basic accounting systems. But we want to generate reports that feed constructively into other parts of the business. That’s central to that idea of delivering value for money alongside strong controls. Like any year, cash will be critical in 2013. It’s the one thing you need to be on top of.

“I’m pretty optimistic. I really think we’re probably through the worst.”

The FDs’ Excellence Awards, in association with ICAEW, are the most prestigious national recognition for UK FDs, financial controllers; and the service providers that support them. 

You can make a nomination in four categories (deadline is March 1, 2013):

  • Young FD of the Year – high-performance finance directors under 40
  • Private Company FD of the Year – finance directors going above the call of duty in a non-quoted company
  • FD of the Future – high-potential financial controllers, finance managers and VPs who are tomorrow’s CFOs and FDs
  • Inspirational FD – a new award for leading finance directors whose work goes beyond finance and inspires others in their business, market and community

Or you can rate the service provided by your bank, auditor, recruiter, financial software firm and other key advisers, in our annual Satisfaction Survey. 

The FDs’ Excellence Awards are hosted by Real Business, and supported by the CBI, London Evening Standard, Ernst & Young, Lloyds Banking Group and business information partner Jordans. 

This article was first published in ICAEW magazine, economia. We’ll be sharing more top FD views in the coming days.

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