Download your copy of our insight paper Businesses have been transformed one way or another by the disruption of Covid19 and finance transformation professionals will have had varying challenges and priorities to contend with over the last year, depending on the industry sector they operate in.But what is clear from our conversations with CFOs and FD’s across the board, is that they've had to go beyond cost saving strategies and look at how they can quickly and fundamentally transform their systems, processes and people.So, as finance teams re-set priorities amidst ongoing economic uncertainty in 2021 – what roles, expertise and skills do employers need and want from finance transformation professionals this year? Download our insight paper to learn: How IR35 is impacting the contractor market The impacts of Brexit on access to the flexible labour market What expertise and skills employers need from finance and transformation professionals The top finance and transformation jobs, in demand, for 2021 Download
11 Feb 2021
Different industries and businesses will have had their unique challenges and will have been impacted differently by Covid-19. Everything from changes to product demand and stretched supply chains through to a complete loss of custom. In order to survive and indeed succeed, business leaders have had to go beyond cost saving strategies and look at how they can quickly and fundamentally transform their systems, processes and people. For finance leaders this has meant gearing transformation towards process restructuring for efficiency gains, streamlining processes for cost effectiveness, and the accurate, timely reporting of revenues and cost base. Finance transformation jobs in demand So, as CFOs re-set priorities amidst ongoing economic uncertainty in 2021 – what roles, expertise and skills do employers need and want from finance transformation professionals this year? 1. Revenue recognition & reconciliation Never has the accurate and timely reporting of revenues and costs been so important for the CFO. The accurate interpretation of financial data is essential for providing the foresight needed to inform strategic decision-making in these unprecedented times. As such, the record to report (R2R) accounting process which provides strategic, financial and operational feedback on the performance of an organisation, to inform senior management, is under much scrutiny. We are seeing that the implementation of reconciliation tools such as Blackline is becoming increasingly commonplace, particularly within FTSE 100 businesses. As many of you will be familiar with, Blackline automates and standardises the reconciliation process to produce high-quality and accurate financial statements. It drives accuracy in the financial close by providing accountants with a streamlined method to verify the correctness and appropriateness of their balance sheets - providing CFOs with increased confidence and control. Blackline fast became one of the most frequently implemented financial tools in 2020 and shows no sign of slowing down this year. Professionals with reconciliation tool implementation experience such as Blackline will be highly sought after in 2021. 2. Enterprise performance management In addition to the bottom line, finance leaders need to know exactly what is going on within their organisation in order to guide strategic decision-making. Understanding where and what is bringing in the most revenue is paramount for effective resource allocation and investments in technology and talent. As such, the improvement of performance reporting is an on-going focus for finance leaders as they seek to accelerate and help C-Suite decision-making. Finance transformation specialists with analytical and business partnering skills along with experience of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) / Management Information (MI) reporting tools such as Power BI, Onestream, Anaplan will be in high demand this year. 3. Corporate transactions The second half of last year saw a lot of corporate activity within the mergers and acquisitions space which has shaped the landscape for 2021. Many companies that were lucky enough to become cash rich were able to get company deals at a good price. As a result, we have seen an increase in finance transformation activity and an increase in demand for corporate finance and integration M&A professionals. Specifically, Transition Managers with integration of acquisitions experience to effectively integrate processes, systems and people into the buyer company. 4. Process optimisation & cost reduction Organisations are increasingly looking at efficiency and process optimisation to a much greater extent - rather than relying on large technological ERP transformations. Businesses are now seeking efficiency gains which are driven by LEAN processes and Agile delivery mechanisms, rather than huge system change. Where organisations are already underway with an ERP project implementation, the goals have now shifted to not just being a technical change solution but also to finding efficiencies through the ERP implementation itself. As such, finance transformation professionals that can work process efficiency goals into existing transformation programmes will remain a priority this year. Unsurprisingly, cost challenges brought about by the impact of Covid-19 have resulted in another shift of focus, not only to improve process efficiency - but also to reduce costs. We have seen transformation in finance go back to earlier days when ‘transformation’ was coined to mean cost improvement activity and the optimisation of processes, rather than the big-ticket ERP implementations that we have seen in recent years. The whole area of finance transformation seems to have taken a step back – CFO’s are now asking, ‘how do we reduce the cost of operations and take the cost out of finance to self-fund the transformation we need?’ As a result, we may well see an increase in businesses engaging specialist recruitment consultancies such as ourselves to provide project teams through Statement of Work (SoW) delivery models, rather than the costly Big4. 5. Centralisation of finance The need for cost reduction is also driving the need to simplify organisational layers through the centralisation of the finance function. Due to depressed market conditions, there has been a levelling of the job market and pay packages for Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Reconciliation (AR) professionals around the globe. As such, many organisations are considering centralisation of their shared service models, favouring on-shore in the UK, or near-shore in Europe - rather than off-shore in India. Subsequently, we are likely to see more Global Process Ownership (GPO) roles this year. These leaders will be tasked with centralising and owning these processes end-to-end across all international business units and developing Hubs / Centres of Excellence. 6. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) The ERP leaders and CIOs that we speak to all concur, that in this new era of work, ERP implementations will need to have objectives and milestones which align to greater process efficiency gains. Sponsors of existing programmes are being far more selective in their approach to recruiting key transformation expertise, only bringing external resource when absolutely needed and only if an internal resource cannot be found. While we will continue to see a lot of ERP activity in the SAP S4 Hana arena, due to thousands of licenses that have already been purchased, it is more likely we will see a widespread focus on the other aforementioned areas - process optimisation, cost reduction and centralisation. Whilst we will see some large ERP implementations this year, it is unlikely that we will see an extensive amount of new £50m-£100m ERP programmes that will need to be resourced in 2021 - but rather we will see investment in operating model restructure and organisational re-design. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is also continuing to increase market share as key ERP players. Microsoft are of course, pushing to have all their products and services into a single platform and from a compatibility perspective, integrating Dynamics 365 into an existing technology estate, makes sense for many businesses. Target Operating Model (TOM) No matter the industry sector, or size of organisation, increased remote working and changing consumer habits have forced most businesses to pivot and rethink their strategy and operating model. Often, survival has meant a rapid transformation of people, processes and systems to ensure business continuity and to operate effectively in the ‘new norm’. This means, that in most cases and across most sectors, a change in business strategy is required -and most likely a change in Target Operating Model (TOM) with associated Organisational Design and Development (OD&D) to deliver that strategy. It is clear that the need for organisations to define and deliver new operating models and re-design how their services are delivered for lower cost and / or greater effectiveness will be of great importance this year. For finance transformation this often means the centralisation of the finance function to operate more efficiently at a lower cost. As such, we are seeing an increased demand for finance transformation professionals with Target Operating Model (TOM), Organisational Design & Development (OD&D) and Change Management skillsets. Top finance transformation jobs 2021 Here’s our list of the top finance transformation jobs we foresee for 2021:1. Target Operating Model (TOM) Design Leaders2. Global Process Owners (GPO)3. Transition Project Managers, SSC4. FP&A Managers and Process Improvement5. Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) System Experts6. Corporate Finance, M&A Experts7. Project Managers of Acquisitions / Integrations How can we help? If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from home, 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 would like any of our career advice guides, or want to discuss any of our current interim or permanent senior finance opportunities with a recruiting expert please do not hesitate to get in touch.
22 Jan 2021
Businesses have been transformed one way or another by the disruption of Covid-19 and senior finance professionals will have had varying challenges and priorities to contend with over the last year, depending on the industry sector they operate in. But what is clear from our conversations with CFOs and FD’s across the board, is that they’ve had to reimagine financial plans and processes to steady operations in the near term (that many would argue remained unquestioned or unchanged prior to the Covid-19 crisis) and guide decision making for the future. Senior finance jobs in demand So, as finance teams re-set priorities amidst ongoing economic uncertainty in 2021 – what roles, expertise and skills do employers need and want from senior finance professionals this year? 1. Financial Modelling, and Financial Planning & Analysis Finance leaders continue to engage in scenario modelling and are building flexibility into their planning and forecasting cycles. Planning and review cycles at the peak of the pandemic in 2020 were sped up out of necessity and for many finance functions that pace has now become habit. Finance teams continue to shift toward quarterly (or more often, if needed) planning and review cycles. We have seen this imperative translated to increased demand for finance professionals with Financial Modelling, FP&A, Business Partnering, Financial Analysis and Reporting expertise. Financial modelling along with the accurate analysis and interpretation of business-wide internal, and macroeconomic external data, is essential for providing the foresight needed to inform strategic decision-making in these unprecedented times. As such, the improvement of performance reporting is an on-going focus for finance leaders as they seek to accelerate and help C-Suite decision-making. To this end, we have heard more talk of finance teams using ‘data rooms’. These cloud-based data analytics systems sit on an ERP and provide self-serve tools, for the analysis of internal and external data, to help inform strategic decision-making. As such, senior finance professionals with analytical and business partnering skills will remain in high demand throughout 2021. 1 2. Cost control & business case analysis Cashflow is of course vital for any organisation to be able to sustain itself however, where businesses have seen a significant decline in revenues cash isn’t just king - it’s critical for survival. Actions to preserve cash have included making redundancies, taking advantage of Government schemes, placing staff on furlough, introducing temporary hiring freezes, salary reductions and cuts on discretionary spending. As such, cashflow modelling, minimising old debt and cash preservation will remain priorities for finance teams as the world around us continues to evolve in 2021. Although cashflow modelling is still very much a key focus for many, others that have experienced growth throughout the pandemic (online retailers for example) have had to be careful not to overtrade or make bad investment decisions that may only result in short-term gains. As such, senior finance professionals with expertise in cost control, business case modelling and banking stakeholder management will continue to be highly sought after this year. 3. Digital transformation & process improvement There has been an increase in discussions within our senior finance network of project work being driven by the need and desire to adopt intelligent automation. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become increasingly prevalent in the Finance Transformation space as an effective way of optimising repetitive processes and enhancing finance functions by unlocking true ‘human value'. For example, using ‘bots’ on a finance system for invoice matching. As such, there will be less demand for transactional BAU finance roles and more for system implementation roles, project-based roles and business partners who can make the finance department more efficient and effective in the year ahead. Top 5 accountancy & finance jobs 2021 Here’s our list of the top five, in demand, senior accountancy and finance jobs for 2021:1. Financial Controller2. FP&A Manager3. Financial Modeller/Analyst4. Financial Reporting5. Finance Business Partner Who’s hiring permanent & interim finance professionals? Unsurprisingly, hiring intentions across all sectors are far more muted this year with the number of applications to every role advertised significantly on the rise. A result brought about by more candidates on the market and the removal of geographical/logistical limitations due to increased remote working. However, businesses that did well and experienced growth last year, such as online retailers and consulting firms, are continuing to hire permanent finance professionals in preparation for yet more growth. Employers are increasingly having to make hiring decisions and onboard talent 100% remotely. As such, they've been much more risk adverse and focused on securing outstanding references - although overall time to hire has actually reduced. We are now seeing the end-to-end recruitment process taking over a week less than it did in the first half of 2020 when the first impacts of the pandemic were felt. Additionally, interims already on assignment are increasingly being pulled into project work which often leads to contract extension - a trend likely to continue this year. Candidate expectations The exceptional senior finance candidates we speak to expect their safety, wellbeing and work-life balance to be taken seriously by prospective employers. Some candidates are not happy with how their employers have handled the Covid-19 crisis and don’t feel they’ve been supported in the right way. As such, many will only consider new roles where employers can offer job security and demonstrate that have been able to keep staff morale, engagement and productivity high in a remote working environment. Candidates are keen to understand how sensitive a prospective employer has been to their workforce throughout the pandemic and what the ‘getting back to the office’ message is. They expect flexible working, excellent virtual communication technology and good communication practices from senior leadership. We expect more movement in 2021 as senior finance professionals, who were biding their time throughout the initial uncertainty of the pandemic, once again look for new permanent opportunities to progress their careers. How can we help? If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from home, 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 would like any of our career advice guides, or want to discuss any of our current interim or permanent senior finance opportunities with a recruiting expert please do not hesitate to get in touch.
18 Jan 2021
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
Sophie Annett is a leader in the Finance Transformation space and has most recently held the position of Director of Finance and Accounting at Serco Plc. Starting her career training as an Accountant for KPMG she later became a Manager at Deutsche Bank before joining BT where she spent 18 years, leaving in 2018 as a Director of Shared Service Centres. Serco was an attractive offer to help satisfy her passion about automation and even more about the idea of having the right people behind it. Finding robotics I was at a Deloitte Conference five years ago when I learned about robotics. It came at a time when I was trying to change the shared service model we had in play as ultimately relying on outsourcing and offshoring to cut costs will only bring gain for a short period. I came back from the conference with my number two, intrigued and probably very annoyingly excited about the prospect of implementing RPA. My boss at the time was not a huge fan of the solution and of the opinion that it had been done before and hadn’t worked and while I knew this to be true in some areas, I challenged this perspective and decided to find out how to make it work and scalable. Defining success I spoke to circa 40 companies who had implemented / embedded RPA and created a checklist of their successes and failures to see what we would need to achieve in order to get it right first time. I was very lucky to have a Transformation Lead who was as passionate as I was about RPA and together we recruited a team to make this a success. I used past experience of other organisations to create a strategy, controls, strict governance – including sign off from internal audit, security and IT as well as ensuring the skill-sets needed to deliver and the different skills required to run RPA post-implementation after, which often gets forgotten about. Challenging the standard consultants model, I insisted on having the consultants come in and up-skill our team, thereby using the consultants as teachers to help train, up-skill and therefore ultimately retain our people. We also realised early on that it needed to be led by the business and not as an “IT project” as the business knows the pitfalls of each process – it has to be evolutionary. It was of vital importance that the IT team were there to provide the RPA platform and to support the business at every step of the way. A further lesson we learnt was the creation of a register of your bots and what process/ systems they tap into both upstream and downstream, this enables you to manage future change. We picked up quite quickly on the fact that people do not often do this. Avoiding failure The Bank of Ireland was quite an inspirational success story as they had really got it right with an emphasis on governance. Many organisations commented that they had struggled with buy in and ultimately implementation when running the programme centrally – the creation of spoke and wheel implementation plan along with strict governance proved a better model. The discussions challenged policy to the next level – for example, an interesting piece of insight was defining when you retire a robot? How many business actually think this far forward when going through RPA implementation. The end-end life-cycle needs to be thought about not just the implementation, how are you going to manage change? Creating a taskforce One achievement I’m very proud of is the introduction of the Finance Apprentice scheme in the SSC at BT, we hired a number of school leavers and looked to bring in second-time trainees who formed an interesting and vibrant team. We thought about the full life-cycle of the apprentice and I was determined to set up a programme as opposed to an intake. To aid the retention of these employees we created internal mobility programmes, RPA skills remain tricky to find in the marketplace and these skills are key to sustaining peak performance. By establishing and maintaining good people in the SSC and implementing effective RPA to free up employee time, it allows the team to be generous with their time to develop others and therefore in a constant state of continuous improvement; I’ve always encouraged questions and challenge - I’m a firm believer that if you ask for help, people always will. Presenting your findingsRobotics needs a strategy. They can be used as a sticking plaster; however, you lose the knowledge of your processes and any ongoing change will cost significantly more. I don’t believe they should be used to paper over the cracks nor can they be implemented as an emotive reaction because it is perceived to be right thing to do. Robotics are currently the main disrupter in the Finance Transformation space, you need to use solution correctly. When I first found out about RPA, I was really intrigued by the technology and kept questioning why people weren’t investing in Robotic Process Automation and for those who were, it seemed as though RPA’s poor reputation was either the result of poor strategy or it was simply not utilising the RPA solution to its full efficiency. People think of bots as a silver bullet, you put a robot in and take an FTE out but actually it’s a state of operation, and you should think of it as having a virtual team that requires management by people. One recurring question asked of me is the impact on the team i.e. “Shared Service is yet again cutting heads – will this be the end of accountants?" The last big change in the finance world was the change from paper ledgers to the spreadsheet - the end result has been more accountants with better information on a more timely basis. While it hadn’t been introduced on the right foot, I knew it had potential to change industry as we knew it. Changing pathsIn 2007, when I got into transformation, it was all about shared service centres, cutting costs and offshoring – captives were not even thought of then as the bottom-line benefits were so large. However, with hindsight this move highlighted that it’s not always about costs. When you outsource, it tends to impact the data quality and therefore your NPS, SLAs and decision-making. Whether its Eastern Europe, India or South America, location can also play an impact due to the proximity of the business. BT made the decision to move to Captive set-up to help curb the above and improve quality. There are three basic rules of what to outsource and what not to which can now be applied to robotics: 1. If the work requires business knowledge, do not outsource or automate it2. If the work includes decisions that could create a risk for the company, do not do it3. If the work requires specialist knowledge keep it in house. In effect these rules create a line between work that can be offshored, outsourced or automated and that which cant. Where that line is crossed it is likely to lead to, heavy FTE churn, skill and quality reduction, increased data security risks, increased costs of change and a bad reputation for shared service centres. This line is not set in stone, again a managed and controlled approach is best – first simplify the work, the eliminate unnecessary work, then standardise and finally automate. BPO relationships can become challenging as often too much is moved, the same can be said with captive, for robotics when you don’t have the right strategy you are increasing your risk of going too far. We should use experience to prevent this from happening again.I’m not particularly keen of an outsourcer running your RPA on an ongoing basis because it can mean that they own the Intellectual property rights which is effectively your team, processes and ability to change which is a tricky situation to reverse from. Adapting your leadership style I’m very people orientated and I believe you need to be when operating in shared service, transformation and RPA. This spans far beyond the workplace too I give the same advice to my teenage daughters, I give the same advice, do not go into a career that can be automated invest your time in something new e.g. robotics is a vibrant and growing sector. Most people like their comfort zone and mistake repetitive work as their comfort zone, it becomes dull and that’s when mistakes creep in. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and you increase the reward and you now have a new comfort zone. RPA allows for greater job satisfaction, creativity and excitement. I was taught by someone who worked for me the importance of understanding why each person comes to work – their reasons are different and if you can help match their reasons to work you will have a happy and effective team. I also believe in strengths-based leadership – we all have things we are better at and some we are not so good at. Strengths based leadership ignores perceived “weaknesses” and develops strengths. This also aligns with the theory of an incomplete leader – which in my mind fosters great teamwork. I’ve never surrounded myself with “mini-Me’s” as I know I’m not perfect!! I believe in recognising where your strengths and weaknesses are and creating a team to include all skills. I also prefer to have a team of people I admire – a team where everyone’s views and advice is key to making change successful. Accepting and driving change is key to moving forward, when teams appreciate that controlled change is a necessity, standing still is what catches organisations out. The earlier in a career someone appreciates that change is a necessity, the more doors open and options become available to them. Advice to othersChange - don’t underestimate it, to succeed you can only do so much change at once. Look at ensuring strong controls, governance and learn from the experience of others. RPA requires investment in the team and expertise – don’t underestimate or rush into it. Invaluable is to bring the business with you – make sure that the first robot is 100% accurate 100% of the time. It’s also best to start in a simple, low risk process - reconciliation are ripe for robotics. Implemented well robotics is the future of shared service. Interested in reading more of our thought-leadership on the topic of Finance Transformation? Visit our Insights page to find more!
18 Dec 2019
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
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