Our second annual Financial Director Summit takes place
against a background that is just as challenging as the one we faced a year ago.
Regulation is being mastered, but remains an ever-changing beast. Many FDs have
now bloodied their spreadsheets on international financial reporting standards,
but there remains the problem of making them understood by shareholders,
analysts, employees – even the chief executive or chairman of the board.
Pensions and tax present perennial difficulties. And on top of all this, FDs
always want to drive the business forward rather than simply tread water in the
The delegate feedback from last year’s event was very pleasing indeed, but
the Financial Director Summit team was determined to make the 2006 conference
even better. In preparing this year’s programme we realised that there could
hardly be a better sort of person to address an audience of FDs than another FD.
In fact, we have five of them to present case studies or to share their
- WPP consistently produces one of the best annual reports, so Chris
Sweetland, deputy group FD, will explain how it does it.
- John Higgins, FD of The Pier (Retail) Limited, will discuss
how to provide your company with competitive edge.
- Richard Cooper, group FD at Trident Gaming, will talk about
communication with investors.
- Will Gardiner, CFO of Easynet, will discuss the strategic
role of the FD and how to identify value.
- Leadership and team-building are the topics for Richard
Ashcroft, group FD at Harvey Nash.
Some of the biggest names in the industry are coming to The Grove, the
award-winning, five-star venue in Hertfordshire that was such a hit with the
delegates who attended the Financial Director Summit last year. We start with a
keynote speech by Sir Howard Davies, the one-time chairman of
the Financial Services Authority and now the director of the London School of
Economics. Sir Howard will present his unique take on the state of the economy.
Our gala dinner (black tie, this year) will welcome Sir Nick
Montagu, former chairman of the Inland Revenue, who will shed a little
light on what went on in the corridors of Somerset House.
Still in the tax world, we recognised that corporate tax strategy is a
boardroom agenda item, so we thought it would be very useful to hear from
Chris Tailby, director of tax avoidance at HM Revenue &
Many FDs will now be suffering from IFRS-fatigue. But there is still more
work to do, so we could hardly think of a more qualified person than Isobel
Sharp of Deloitte to reinvigorate delegates with a round-up of where we are now
and to prepare FDs for the next big push. For the UK perspective, Ian
Mackintosh, chairman of the Accounting Standards Board, will also be
We’ve often discussed just how inadequate the budgeting process is (on which
point, see our feature on page 47). Robin Fraser, director of
the Beyond Budgeting Round Table, will explain how companies can do things
better without traditional budgeting. He will be joined by Magnus
Uggla of Handelsbanken to share his experience.
Is any business issue dominating the press these days more than pensions?
Probably not, so who better than Charlie Massey, the strategic
development director at The Pensions Regulator to examine the issues.
This introduction isn’t meant to be an all-encompassing round-up of our
programme, but merely to serve as a brief explanation as to why we chose some of
the themes and speakers – and, of course, to serve as a taster for anyone who
hasn’t booked yet.
All my colleagues and I look forward to welcoming as many readers as possible
to the Financial Director Summit 2006.