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“The key is to keep it all in perspective and trust your team”, says Adapt CFO

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First awarded a Directorship at 34, Brainch’s proven commercial acumen has won her several key leadership roles in enterprise transformation initiatives. Over the course of her career to date, her responsibilities have included leading international investment committees, retooling group-wide financial processes and planning and controlling growth to deliver maximum shareholder value.

Since then she has joined Adapt, a managed infrastructure services provider.

“Customers generate measurable business benefits from the IT we use,” Brainch said, explaining the concept behind the company. “So, whether we are working with a global supply chain finance provider, a furniture retailer, a restaurateur or a currency exchange broker, we make sure we are 100 per cent aligned with their outcomes and priorities to help them get more competitive edge, or achieve rapid scale, or absorb M&A activity, or improve customer experience – whatever their challenge might be.”

In her relatively new role she has helped “drive performance and value as the business scales out” and “consolidate [the company’s] position as a leading enterprise-class managed service provider” in the UK. Some of their customers include MoneyCorp, National Trust and LOVEFiLM.

And in order to make all of it happen, Brainch relies on a relaxed and somewhat trusting management style.

“I’m pretty relaxed and like to see people succeed, which includes stretching them beyond what they themselves think they are capable of,” Brainch said. “But to allow for that, the basic structures and processes need to be really well embedded so that people don’t stress about what they are moving beyond while they are building new skills.”

Trust seems to be a reoccurring theme, which highlights exactly how much faith employers have in their FDs and vice versa. If you can establish such a connection with your colleagues, then there will be nothing to “keep you awake at night.”

“Apart from the usual mix of macroeconomic indicators through to everything that needs to be cleared off the ‘to do’ list, which might cause some FDs to lose sleep, the key is to keep it all in perspective,” she said. “Pick your areas of focus, trust your team and colleagues and don’t ever lose sight of why your customers partner with you rather than the competition. Understanding and exceeding your customers’ expectations is invariably the key reason why businesses thrive.”

And these also seem to be the key reasons that Brainch will remain an ‘FD for life’.

“It’s a privileged role as you get visibility across all aspects of a business and how important it is that they all work together like clockwork.  I am in awe of my colleagues with their specific skill sets and am happy to create the environment to help us all succeed as a team.

“Compliance, governance and stewardship remain at the heart of the role, but every Finance Director has the privilege of seeing their business end to end. Understanding how the complexities of a growing business fit together and then identifying and supporting the growth is what makes the role so challenging and rewarding. It is a huge responsibility but also an exciting challenge to know where to direct support to ensure the business achieves its full potential.

“So this is my advice to other FDs. Never stop learning. Watch and learn from those around you – not just what they do but how they do it. Being true to yourself is key in any senior role so don’t just copy those you have seen succeed – add to your natural style by absorbing the strengths and skills of those around you. And don’t forget to enjoy it – being a core part of a business’ success story really is something to be proud of.”

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