Stanton House interviews finance leadersThrough a series of interviews with top CFOs and FDs we have explored how finance leaders, operating in different sectors, have adapted to change through the pandemic and met external pressures head on. Our interviews reveal both the common and varied challenges encountered as finance teams initially worked hard to guide their organisations through the immediate crisis.Download our insight paper Download your copy of our insight paper to discover their key insights, lessons learned and their views on how their role is evolving as we start to emerge from the pandemic. Download
19 Aug 2020
We are all adapting to the ‘new norm’Covid-19 has completely disrupted the way we live and work. Businesses are facing new strategic challenges and adapting their people, processes and systems to function in the ‘new norm’. The recruitment industry is no exception. Having worked in accountancy and finance recruitment for over four years, I can say that working through this pandemic has been one of the toughest personal challenges I have ever faced. There’s been an awful lot to adapt to quickly but ensuring that I continue to provide the right insight, guidance and support to my customers has remained my number one priority.I truly feel for those that have lost their jobs, had income reduced or had job offers pulled at the last minute and I understand that remaining positive amidst so much uncertainty can be extremely difficult. I was, however, happy to see that IR35 reforms have been delayed for a year, giving much needed relief to contractors given the economic challenges that lie ahead. There are also more opportunities on the horizon and currently recruitment has by no means come to a halt. Demand for finance professionals with financial modelling expertise In the current circumstances, recruitment has of course slowed as hiring new staff has sunk down the priority list for many employers. However, there are pockets of activity where specific expertise is required to ensure business continuity or to deliver critical projects and programmes. It’s imperative that businesses engage with scenario modelling at the moment and as such, we have seen increased demand for interim finance professionals with financial modelling expertise. Additionally, we are currently seeing demand for those with FP&A, Business Partnering, Financial Analysis and Reporting expertise. How can we help?If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from your sofa, there are lots of things we can help you with to prepare.We have plenty of career advice guides we can share with you. Everything from CV tips, to developing your personal online brand and video interviewing advice. If you feel like having a practice video interview to brush up on your interviewing skills, we are more than happy to set this up and provide you with feedback. Lockdown is teaching me valuable things personally and professionally and we are all trying our best to keep up with the rapidly changing recruitment landscape. Thank you to those who have also checked in on me, stay safe and keep well, we really are all in this together. The market may be uncertain, but I am certain we will get through this!If you would like any of our career advice guides, or a practice interview please do not hesitate to get on touch, even just for a chat.
06 May 2020
Navigating through the current crisis I read an interesting PwC article recently: “For years the discussion has raged about the pros and cons of flexible working – and now, suddenly, we’ve been dropped into a real-life field test. Covid-19 has forced employers out of their comfort zones and into a virtual working model at breakneck speed.”This got me thinking about the new challenges so many of the CFOs and FDs I speak to are having to get to grips with right now. Even without the commute, there is still a huge amount for any leader to think about when it comes to managing themselves and their team in lockdown. Many have been juggling parenting, home schooling and caring for elderly or vulnerable family relatives, as well as the added responsibility of leading a team from the front in this new virtual world. How easy is it to join a virtual PE Lesson with Joe wicks dressed as Spider man, then jump back to a Zoom board meeting to discuss cash flow analysis?So, how are leaders managing all of this and moving forward with the day-to-day of ensuring business continuity and motivating those reporting into them remotely? Insight from top CFOs and FDsTo get ‘real’ insight into this topic, I hosted our first virtual roundtable where we invited a small group of our top Media and Technology finance leaders to discuss the challenges they are currently facing when it comes to engaging with their teams remotely. Discussion quickly turned to the best ways of effectively collaborating to ensure productivity continues. Similar challenges and solutions were echoed around the virtual table, here are the key takeaways: 3 key insights from our virtual roundtable 1. Structured communication helps productivity In some cases, being isolated is leading to uncertainty about who to talk to on specific issues and when. This is causing team members to feel anxious and is affecting their productivity, leading to hold-ups and delays.Our roundtable participants are finding that providing a clear structure to their team meetings is helping to alleviate this. For example, many have set up a team video call at the beginning and at the end of each day to provide certainty about when and how their teams can communicate. On top of this many hold weekly or twice weekly company-wide video calls where, as senior leaders, they contribute and share top level messages to the whole company. One finance leader said, “Planning and structuring communication has been crucial in ensuring teams are working effectively. I find our morning and evening team video meetings help to keep productivity high. It’s also really clear from these who is less engaged, for example some don’t turn their cameras on or contribute to the conversations and some don’t even turn up. The challenge is how to address this remotely.”Many that are effectively planning and structuring company-wide communication are finding increased levels of staff engagement. One customer told me last week that they held their annual company meeting via Webex and that it had the highest attendance level they have ever had. Many of the finance leaders I speak to are sharing similar stories where they are finding employee engagement has in fact increased since lockdown. This may not only be because employees are keener than ever to know how they as individuals, teams or as an organisation are performing, but also because “there’s not much else to do”, “no dinner plans”, “no rushing home for child care”. Virtual company calls have evidently taken down several barriers. A CFO at our virtual roundtable said, “Our CEO now gives two half hour updates via video conference each week at the same time, company-wide and I think it’s the most engaged our staff have been with his updates ever.” 2. The importance of remaining humanIts easy to want to get straight down to business on calls but in these isolating times it more important than ever for employee engagement to remain human and make space for social activities and fun. It’s also important to remember that different personality types will behave differently through this situation and nothing should be assumed, for example you might find it’s the extroverts of the physical office who are now becoming more disengaged and vice versa. Our finance leaders agreed that taking the time to talk about things that are not always work related can help them understand how people are coping and what support they might need. Many are implementing social activities such as weekly virtual quizzes and coffee breaks where anyone can drop in and talk about anything non-work related.One leader of a shared service centre said, ‘We start the day off with a ten-question quiz to build comradery and add a fun element to our day before kicking in with the serious stuff.” 3. Choosing the right communication platform Choosing the right communication platform is also a concern for these finance leaders, many are using multiple platforms to communicate with their teams and they are conscious that there may be too many channels for employees to engage with. They are using everything from standard email through to text message, WhatsApp, Slack, Hangout, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.The group agreed that remote communication can distort the normal pace of our conversations as well as the intended delivery and interpretation of message. Therefore, choosing the right platform for their message is of great importance. Most agreed that they are still testing and learning which platforms work best for their different meetings and types of communication. One participant said, “I tend to jump onto Hangout rather than sending emails all the time to stay connected with my accounts payable team. But I’m still trying to work out the best channel as we also use Slack and I don’t want to overload people with information across multiple platforms all of the time.” I think a quote that sums up these insights perfectly comes from Mercer's 2020 Global Talent Trends study, “Balance empathy with economics”. Remaining human, managing communication and embracing technology is key.Like most, I’m interested to know what the new normal be in a week, a month and a years’ time. Will productivity of workforces remain high? Will annual meetings be held virtually? Will we continue with virtual quizzes and ‘hangouts’? Might some organisations adapt to working from home almost completely going forward? I’d like to thank our participants for such a fantastic debate and I look forward to hosting our next virtual round table very soon. If you’d like to join our next finance leader event please get in touch.
29 Apr 2020
Head of Technology £80,000 - £90,000 per annum London Programme Requirements Lead £525 - £600 per day Edinburgh Senior HR Business Partner £90,000 - £95,000 per annum Berkshire Finance Business Partner £60,000 - £70,000 per annum + 10% bonus London Regulatory Reporting Accountant Up to £50,000 per annum + benefits Berkshire Business Analyst £40,000 - £50,000 per annum London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
02 Jan 2020
It’s hard to go a day in business without hearing the terms political and economic uncertainty, Brexit and most recently, IR35. The impending legislative changes to IR35 Regulations are just around the corner and in my world of work, it’s just about anything anyone wants to talk about. It’s become a somewhat Brexit 2.0 with a lot of discussions taking place, decisions being made and no real understanding of what it means, how it will impact us or who is really effected. We decided it was time to change that and have an intelligent but simple conversation about IR35 and what it truly means to you. In this white paper we explore how risk-averse and knee-jerk reactions to IR35 are depriving companies of their competitive edge, and ultimately, their ability to attract the best interim talent. And, for candidates, we offer a brighter prognosis for the future by highlighting the survivability of the contractor market and the examples of the Public Sector companies who made a comeback in the space. Take a glimpse into our white paper below but for full access to the paper including the full history of IR35 regulations, the lessons learned from the Public Sector and our thought-leadership, guidance, advice and simple next steps to navigating your way through the changes – please get in touch.
11 Dec 2019
We have all heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but when are we going to apply the same rule to recruitment? I am not talking about judging a candidate by their appearance, culture, religion, age or anything that could possibly discriminate against them; in fact, I am not talking about how we perceive candidates at all but rather how today’s top talent judge potential opportunities far too quickly. Holding job titles in such high-regard, they are missing out on their perfect opportunity by failing to read job descriptions and organisations are partly to blame. We are all admirers of great job titles, take Sandwich Artists at Subway and the countless ‘gurus’ we have on LinkedIn as examples of that but looking closer to home in the Finance World, we are having the same conversations and its debilitating our top talent. Candidates are getting so caught up in job titles that they aren’t even entertaining a job description and be it a result of keeping up appearances or working as a coping mechanism to filter extensive search results, its hindering their and your success. Take a Financial Controller for instance. They are no longer purely transactional but commercial and strategic in the same way Finance Directors are now expected to be engaging and approachable leaders. Roles change but job titles haven’t and while I would encourage every candidate to be open-minded in their search, organisations need to be mindful of the role they are advertising or rather, how they are advertising the role. Hiring managers are fantastic at looking at a professional’s CV and looking beyond the buzzwords – identifying key achievements over titles and seeing adaptability and competencies first and foremost. Unfortunately, candidates aren’t following the same thought-process and looking straight to a job title that may not carry the term ‘senior’ and it’s an instant no. It’s a problem elevated by the start-up culture we find ourselves in which offers huge job titles for smaller responsibility. A CFO in a start-up for instance may be a Head of Finance within a larger firm and on the reverse, a Financial Controller within a corporate may find themselves as a Senior Business Partner in a smaller organisation, contributing to one of the many reasons professionals move to the disruptive world of work. For instant growth. With this in mind, a professional heading back into the corporate world would no longer appreciate a smaller title as despite being a side-step to their current role, the job title doesn’t match their progression. I met with a FTSE 50 organisation recently which is a microcosm to the organisational issue we find ourselves facing. A hugely attractive business that entices great talent across the board but attracting and retaining financial talent is an issue for them and it’s clear to see why. The Financial Controllers manage the Senior Business Partners who in another company would be a Head of Finance and then on the reverse, the Finance Business Partners who sit underneath them would otherwise be known as Analysts. The organisational structure almost has it that you come in on a fantastic title and digress as you grow which matters more to the professionals filling the role than they realise. Ultimately my advice is simple. If you are a candidate embarking on a new search, be open-minded, look beyond the job titles and present your CV around your key achievements and not former titles. For organisations, its fairly simple too: consider how your future talent pool may react to a role and what flexibility might need to be on the table for it to work. I’d like to hear from you – have you turned down your dream role due to a title or, do you think titles are depriving you of your best talent?
05 Dec 2019
There are two types of Finance Transformation professional - Specialists and Generalists. Specialists are often given niche titles, like P2P Global Process Owner and S4HANA System Implementation Lead, and a set of very specific responsibilities. Alternatively, generalists see themselves as all-encompassing Finance Transformation professionals with a broad experience of doing a bit of everything in every arena, whether that be for example, a system implementation, shared service centre set up or process improvement project. While there is a clear divide between the two types of professionals, what there isn’t is an understanding of which one is the best and as an organisation, which is more desirable. I have posed this very question to many of my clients and it seems they too are torn. Some show a preference for specialist professionals who can come in with a wealth of knowledge about a niche subject while others reap the benefits of a generalist who brings the benefits of a diverse and varied career path and can likely turn their hand to any project thrown at them. While many remain undecided, I’m keen to hear your opinion of what the optimum Finance Transformation professional looks like and what experience they bring to the table. Are they specialist, are they generalist, have they started their career as a specialist and branched out into other areas or have they over time narrowed down their focus to one specialism after climbing the ranks as a generalist? I had this very conversation today with Finance Transformation Director in my network. Despite spending his 30-something years as a Finance Transformation professional in different pockets of transformation projects, he will only hire specialist people into his team. His experience is so varied in fact that its quite unbelievable but while he has developed a great understanding of Finance Transformation programmes over the years, his worry is that his successors will merely be a Jack of all trades in this space and a master of none. This made me wonder, is he being too selective by assuming the next generation of leaders haven’t followed his exact path or, has he got a point? In my opinion, a diverse career history is not only a vital attribute of every professional but it also makes for a better leader with more adaptability, leadership skills, stakeholder engagement capabilities and a general understanding of how different finance transformation projects operate. On the other hand, I understand that if you have a specific need you would naturally opt to hire a person with the exact career profile and is hedging a bet on someone’s similar competencies asking too much of our clients? It’s a risk but is it worth the risk and worth staying open-minded for someone with a diverse skill-set to bring to the role? I’d like to hear from you. What makes for the better Finance Transformation professional – a generalist, a specialist or, both?
21 Oct 2019
SCC Transformation Lead Up to £600 a day Reading Learning and Development Manager £45,000 - £50,000 per annum + bonus + benefits West Sussex Process Analyst - Telecoms Estates Transformation £400 - £475 per day Hampshire P2P Process SME £500 - £600 per day London Security Software Engineer US $90,000 - $110,000 per annum Chicago Senior Project Manager £65,000 - £70,000 per annum + bonus West London Head of Pricing & Commercial Finance £100,000 - £105,000 per annum + car allowance + bonus London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
17 Oct 2019
Stanton House has officially been crowned Recruitment Company of the year and what a phenomenal year it has been. In an awards ceremony held in London last night, CEO Neil Wilson and Finance Director Jo Finch received the prestigious prize as it was announced that Stanton House was the 2019 APSCo Recruitment Company of the Year - in the £10m to £50m Turnover category. As the pair collected the award, it was noted that Stanton House has dedicated its nine years in business to creating exceptional customer experiences and transforming the reputation of the recruitment industry. Founder and Global CEO of APSCo, Ann Swain, said: “This company clearly demonstrated its belief to improving customer experience is the key to improving the reputation of the recruitment sector. The judges felt this succinctly summarised the key to excellent recruitment.” The Recruitment Company of the Year title must be awarded to an organisation operating in either Permanent or Interim markets that has most consistently demonstrated the professional values and exceptional performance associated with APSCo membership throughout the past 12 months and it is a phenomenal achievement to be recognised as one of just four companies titled in 2019. Neil said; "We are delighted to be recognised by APSCo as the Recruitment Company of the Year. It is particularly gratifying because the judges emphasised that they were struck by our commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences. From day one at Stanton House we set out to make that the cornerstone of how we do business. That has been acknowledged consistently by our clients and candidates so it is very rewarding to have it further validated by the recruitment sector experts at APSCo." Stanton House was founded in 2010 to transform the reputation of the recruitment industry by placing the customer at the forefront of everything we do. In our 10th year of business, we are truly honoured and filled with pride that this has been recognised by such a prestigious and renowned organisation.
09 Oct 2019
Zeeshan Tayyeb has spent almost two decades working as a Finance Director, CFO and COO for both multi-million pound corporate and start-up organisations. Having transitioned between established and disruptive companies for some time, he discusses finding his happy medium within Private Equity and how despite working longer hours, he found greater job satisfaction working in a start-up - but, are they less forgiving? I think if you look at corporate companies; due to their age or the sheer amount of time and money that has gone into their development, they have institutionalised practices which are hugely beneficial to professionals starting off their careers. These types of environments provide a safe starting place to know and understand what good practice looks like while receiving guidance from experienced professionals. You also have training programmes, room for learning, budget for development and allowances for mistakes. You learn to understand how things can go wrong as a result of a bad decision and learn how to avoid failure knowing what the consequences are. You are not going to repeat your mistakes in the corporate world as there are boundaries and structures in place to direct you and tell you that you were wrong, but you can fix it. Smaller organisations are less forgiving and a small mistake could be life or death for them. When transitioning from a larger organisation to a smaller one, a frustration both I and colleagues of mine on the same journey have faced is the speed. A smaller organisation is more agile, it takes less time to make big decisions and becomes easier to chop and change if things aren’t quite going to plan. It’s a lot more flexible in that way which can be a fantastic thing but there is definitely an adjustment period to be had. The downside of working for a leaner organisation is that you run the risk of not having your key people. The benefit of working within a corporate is the processes and people that exist to help you; which are especially beneficial for transactional services, but the same thing just doesn’t exist within a start-up. Although frustrating, this can be of real benefit to you if you join from a corporate background with the ability to implement the day-to-day methodology needed to automate and utilise a small workforce. On the reverse, moving from a career where you have only worked in start-ups into the corporate world can be difficult. In my experience, it’s much harder to transition and you would need a specific skillset whether it’s speed, agility or a niche talent that can differentiate you from others. You also need to prepare yourself for the different politics, pace and processes that exist within a corporate environment. I think the nature of how training in the two types of organisation works means that senior finance people deriving from corporate backgrounds are ultimately more experienced. They are often second to the CEO and the person everyone within the company looks to for guidance and knowledge. In a corporate role, learning is constant as you not only constantly evolve yourself to meet the growing needs of the company, but you also get to mentor a great deal of people, work alongside group CFOs and Managing Directors who are all on a learning path themselves. For full access to Zeeshan's interview and the rest of our exclusive interviews in our white paper 'Are you too corporate for a start-up?' follow the download link below. Download our white paper
07 Oct 2019
The tobacco, alcohol, gambling and fast-food industries have together carried a bad reputation for some time as prospective employees chose against working for companies that have ‘political or negative’ connotations. But, as we approach 2020 it seems attitudes are evolving with professionals caring less about a company’s product and more about the good they are giving back to the community. I ask every professional I meet about their ideal role - The industry, company and salary that they are looking for in a future employer and the three things they deem as 'non-negotiable'. The answers are often unanimous. Primarily, its salary, location and the scope of the role in first place but what is cropping up and more and more in second, is ethics. While ‘ethical companies’ have always been seen as most attractive to their prospective talent pool, it’s not so much the product or reputation of the company that now gets taken into consideration but rather, what they are doing to change it. It’s no longer about Coca-Cola littering streets with empty bottles or supermarkets stocking palm-oil based products or tonnes of unnecessary plastic. Now employees are more concerned with what companies are doing to redeem themselves – the ocean hoovers pledged by Coca-Cola for instance and the likes of Iceland making a move away from Palm Oil. Philip Morris International (PMI) is also on the list. Tobacco companies have always struggled with talent attraction with many professionals either anti-smoking or anti its effects but this is changing for the world’s largest tobacco company – valued at more than $175 million – as it launches an anti-smoking campaign with the slogan “The best choice any smoker can make is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether.” PMI and Coca-Cola are just two examples of high-profile companies making the move to sustainable branding and it mirrors the evolving mindset of many professionals within my network. While ethics have always been high on the agenda of professionals seeking a new career, what is fascinating is this move away from a hatred of ‘negative brands’ and a new focus on what they give back – the source of their products, the good they are bringing back into the community and how they use their power for good. I’d love to hear your views on the move to what I like to call ‘redemption ethics’ – are you a professional looking for a company with an inspiring social impact or perhaps you work for an organisation working to promote it’s goodness?
04 Oct 2019
Browse a selection of this week's top jobs across Accounting and Finance, Technology, Cyber Security, Human Resources, Change Management and Finance Transformation: Finance Business Partner £65,000 - £70,000 per annum + package Reading IT Governance Reporting Analyst £450 - £550 per day London Azure Security Architect Negotiable Luxembourg Finance Analytics Manager £70,000 - £75,000 per annum + benefits package Surrey Project Manager - Sales Data £450 - £510 per day London Senior PHP Engineer £45,000 - £55,000 per annum Edinburgh Finance Manager - Germany £350 - £450 per day Hampshire HR Business Partner £50,000 - £55,000 per annum + car allowance and benefits package London A wider selection of current vacancies can be viewed on our opportunities page or get in touch for a confidential discussion about how Stanton House can help you hire great people or assist with your own career goals.
02 Oct 2019