Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » The Finance Directors’ Forum: All Hands on Deck

Taking place on board the P&O flagship Aurora from 3-6 November,
over 200 FDs from medium- and large-sized organisations will attend.

Delegate FDs will be given the opportunity to meet with suppliers and
industry experts who together will deliver a wide variety of keynote speeches,
workshops and group activities.

From entrepreneurialism to IFRS to pensions, FDs should find everything they
need onboard – along with a casino, golf lessons from former Ryder Cup captain
Bernard Gallacher and (most importantly, perhaps) the chance to network with
peers from across the whole of British industry.

Having more in common with the CEO than the financial controller the finance
director is a very different animal from just a few years ago. To kick off this
year’s event Tim Smit, founder and CEO of the Eden Project, will pass on the
lessons he learned while establishing one of the most ambitious, forward-looking
business projects of recent times and will urge finance directors to “demand the

But how will the business-world look in a decade from now and what role will
the FD take in it? Andrew Sawers, editor of Financial Director, is hosting a
light-hearted debate on the role of the FD: organisation man or entrepreneur.
The debate will involve two teams of finance directors as well as industry
observers, and will investigate whether the two sides of the modern FD can exist

A slightly more grounded look into the future will see Hazel Powling, head of
IFRS at the ICAEW, return to the Aurora to explain how global accounting
standards will affect organisations in a few years’ time, while Richard
Skellett, chief executive at Allied Worldwide, will ask whether the IT function
has had its day.

Opening address
‘Demand the Impossible’ Tim Smit, CEO and founder, The Eden

The FD Forum Debate: Is the CFO Organisation man or
Andrew Sawers, editor, Financial Director

Is the press your enemy? Richard Young, editor, Real

Making marketing pay Robert Shaw, author of Marketing Payback

The future of IFRS Hazel Powling, head of IFRS, ICAEW
Looking ahead: the end of technology Richard Skellett, CEO,
Allied Worldwide

The modern organisation is very different from how it looked just a few
years ago, and this year’s FD Forum offers a number of events to address the

Sir Andrew Likierman, a professor at London Business School, a director of
the Bank of England and Barclays Bank, and chairman of MORI Research, kicks
things off by asking how FDs are performing. After all, he argues, they must act
as effective board members, provide an authoritative face of the organisation
and perform their day jobs.

New challenges present themselves every day to the FD and this year’s forum
offers several events to help. Peter Hatherly, finance director of health &
beauty product manufacturer Accantia, looks into MBOs and will demystify the
process, having been directly involved in two buyouts himself. Offshoring is
another common practice in business that was almost unheard of just a few years
ago. So how do FDs cope with the associated reputational risks? Dr Arlo Brady,
head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability services at Cambridge
University, leads a panel debate on the subject.

Technology is another issue the FD must master to be a success in the modern
company. The problem is, if a major IT project succeeds, the IT manager gets the
praise; if it fails, the FD gets the blame. Avoiding this is the task of Allan
Watton, MD of the Best Practice Group. Finally, Christopher Getley, executive
director of Smiths CA, will share his ideas on ensuring investors understand
your goals.

Are you performing? Measuring the CFO Sir Andrew Likierman,
London Business School
Reputation management and offshoring Dr Arlo Brady, Cambridge
What I wish I’d known about MBOs Peter Hatherly, FD, Accantia

Keeping shareholders onside Christopher Getley, exec director
of Smiths CA
Confident networking: Getting from small talk to real business
Stuart and Gael Lindenfield, authors of Confident Networking
Pitching a credible business case Chris Edwards and Rob
Lambert, Cranfield School of Management
The vision thing Eugene Hughes, leadership coach, Peoplebrand

The key mistakes FDs make with IT Allan Watton, MD of Best
Practice Group

Despite the changing role of the FD, the core of the job still remains
and a series of masterclasses, keynote speeches and workshops are designed to
address the main issues faced by finance directors. 

Cost pressures are felt by every finance director and Andrew Dixon, of Big
Four accounting firm KPMG, will look into what particular pressures lie on the
horizon. He will go on to look into the successful approaches to cost reduction.

Following in the cost-cutting theme, David Hutchinson from business
consultancy firm, Alix Partners, will delve into benchmarking and how it can be
used to create savings. When is it worth investing in benchmarking and what
returns can be expected, he asks.

Alan Pickering, a partner at consultancy firm Watson Wyatt and a board member
of the Pensions Regulator, will ask what happened to the British pension scheme,
once the most prestigious in the world.

Straight-through processing, according to Alex Aebi, who is currently
benchmarking several Swiss banks, could be the answer to further efficiency in
business processes. He will share some of the experiences from his stint at
benchmarking those banks.

John Berney, the former IT director of Scottish & Southern Energy, will
be speaking on how to minimise costs, and will use a series of case studies to
help put his message across. He will look at M&A as a viable solution.

And lest we forget the costs of outsourcing! What exactly are the pros and
cons and what are the cost implications? The questions will be tackled by
Srikanth Iyengar and Hisham Mundol of business consulting company Infosys.

Should pension schemes be pensioned off? Alan Pickering,
partner at Watson Wyatt and board member of the Pensions Regulator
The Scottish & Southern Energy story John Berney, former IT
director of SSE
Achieving sustainable cost reduction David Hutchinson, Alix
The ins and outs of sourcing Srikanth Iyengar and Hisham
Mundol, Infosys

What about the cost base? Andrew Dixon, KPMG
Many stakeholders: pensions workshop Martin Craddock, former
FD, Rank Hovis
Straight through processing Alex Aebi, ABIBA Consulting

Sitting behind the successful finance director are successful finance teams, and
ensuring you maintain this is of huge importance.

Suzzane Wood, head of the European CFO practice at executive search company
Heidrick & Struggles, will investigate how finance directors can evaluate
their teams and ensure that they have the right people and skills on board. “How
can a CFO deliver? The truth is he can’t on his own,” says Wood.

Eugene Hughes, a leadership coach at Peoplebrand, will pass on his secrets of
how to inspire teams and ensure the FDs vision is not lost in translation.

The baton will be taken forward by ACCA director of training, Stephen
Heathcote, and business relationship manager, Raj Sood, who will offer advice on
how to look after your own career and understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, being relaxed is vital to success and golf is a good way to wind

Join Bernard Gallacher for his closing address, and a lucky 16 delegates will
receive an hour’s golf workshop.

The perfect team Suzzane Wood, head of the European CFO
practice at Heidrick & Struggles

People make the difference Anthony Osude, head of professional
development, ICAEW
The future of you Stephen Heathcote and Raj Sood, ACCA
Getting back on the headhunter’s radar Stuart and Gael
Lindenfield, authors of Confident Networking
Wine tasting Anthony Rose, wine correspondent for The

Closing address
An audience with…
Bernard Gallacher, former Ryder Cup captain