Top 5 Tips for Finance Professionals
Alan Cooper joined Liberty in 2014 and since that time he has helped revolutionise the business by implementing two back office systems, doubling his team whilst playing a vital and strategic role in the development and success of the business. Recently, he successfully made it to the Top 3 finalists (with the winner to be announced on the 22nd February) for the Central South Mid Market’s Top 10 Finance Directors.
Below are Alan’s top 5 tips for avoiding pitfalls and achieving success as a finance professional within our industry:
Know Your Numbers
An obvious but crucial factor for any business is to build an accurate picture of where the business currently stands as well as identify the opportunities to minimise any losses and maximise profit.
Business Planning & Strategy
Forecasting is a fundamental aspect within financial reporting but it’s important to look at the wider business context and goals. The growth plans at Liberty were pretty clear and I was able to adopt a two-prong approach; implement enhanced reporting along with the negotiation and securing of additional credit lines. The provision of enhanced management accounts data instilled further trust from our funders and we successfully secured £30m in additional headroom, which enabled us to look to the future and plan for even further growth.
Implementation of Online Systems
We are operating in a digital age where real-time reporting and cloud based solutions are now the norm where the expectation from clients and customers is greater than ever. As an FD it’s important to appreciate how systems can streamline processes but it’s equally important to do your research, hire experienced professionals and ensure there is a clear communication /change strategy to compliment the implementation of the new system.
Nurture Professional Relationship
The perception that FD’s sit behind a desk and hide behind spreadsheets is one I’m keen to prove wrong. I make an effort to attend key industry events and to network and maintain business connections and relationships. LinkedIN is a useful platform to network online and to stay in touch with external contacts. I even challenged my skill set and accepted to sit in front of the camera for a video case study for one of our suppliers:
Work / Life Balance
Maintaining a healthy work / life balance is something I’m very passionate about. The 9 to 5 seems to be an outdated concept these days and it’s easy to fall short with most of us constantly being ‘online’ or ‘connected’. I’m an avid runner which takes me away from a screen and helps me reset and focus. Last year I successfully completed my first ultramarathon and due to run the London Marathon in April.
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