We explored the questions surrounding finance transformation at the Gherkin on Thursday at the first of our Focus on Finance event series.
CFOs, Finance Transformation Leaders and HR Directors joined forces over breakfast to discuss whether transformation requires a person with a finance qualification, if career diversity is more important than a niche specialism and how to drive change in the workplace.
The morning was led by Ed Harding, founder of E2O Consulting. In his 25 year career Ed has held interim and permanent C-suite roles (COO, CEO and CFO) as well as consulted in M&A and transformation. From Swiss private banking to hotels in Singapore and early stage tech funds in Germany Ed is a true CxO and both industry and role agnostic. Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant has been his passport to a varied and interesting career. Ed believes that career diversity and empowerment are vital attributes of successful leadership and a survey of our guests agreed 100% with his assessment.
Ed noted that despite starting out in the working world as a chartered accountant, he saw that as a passport to other things. Whilst a qualification is important, the ability to engage with the rest of the business has been critical to his success.
A room filled with senior finance and HR professionals was naturally filled with debate, opinion and thought-provoking insight into industry but the key debates surrounded the definition of the term 'lead' and how you may not require a finance qualification to be a programme director but to lead a transformation, you just might.
The audience also discussed what they termed, the 'halo effect' - how you must first get buy-in from the c-suite and watch it filter down and above all, avoid talking about finance during the change, cost or headcount reduction and instead speak about maximising efficiencies and freeing up the time of the business to upskill a team. It's all about framing the idea and empowering your team.
We will be taking the opinions and insight shared at our event and use it to create an exclusive white paper focused on finance transformation. If you would like a copy of this paper please get in touch.