Throughout the lockdown period it has been a great pleasure to host our Macildowie Virtual CFO/FD Forum events for our client base in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. We have successfully partnered with RSM and Knights plc to deliver fortnightly sessions enabling senior Finance professionals to have a peer to peer network; a sounding board for them to share the issues, challenges and insights from their respective workplaces.
Firstly, I would like to begin with a few short thank yous;
To my colleague Tamsin Eastaugh, who has continued the great work by Jamie Draper and I from pre lock down in organising the sessions and inviting the delegates.
To Dave Graham, Business Development Manager at RSM and Martin Smith, Corporate Law Partner from Knights plc, for their help in the organisation.
To Rebecca Finlinson, HR Consultant from RSM and Andrew Rowell, Employment Law Partner from Knights for providing their expert insight and advice to our delegates, in their now regular panellist roles.
Finally, to the 31 different Finance leaders from a variety of sectors including retail, manufacturing, professional services etc. for their contributions and attendance.
Across the 6 sessions we have hosted since lockdown began, we have discussed a number of key topics and issues and what has become abundantly clear is the role of a CFO/FD has never been more busy (on occasions frantic) and important to business survival and success.
Whilst having the usual CFO/FD activities of driving the strategic direction of the business, managing cash flow and leading and motivating their teams, it is clear our delegates and I am sure many other Finance leaders, have been involved in wide ranging activities such as processing furloughees, submitting funding requests and modelling various scenarios. What has also become clear is that a lot of CFO/FD’s have had to “muck in” – chasing debt, processing invoices and even on one extreme occasion, helping the warehouse team to unload trucks.
Thursday’s session was an excellent example of the diverse issues and challenges that Finance leaders are currently affronted with and I have included a snap shot of some of the hot topics of the day;
Payroll headaches – As we move to the flexible furlough arrangements from the beginning of August, this has meant Finance leaders are having to model and compute the payroll implications for all employees (salaried and the increasingly complicated calculations for variable hours employees).
Holidays – This has been a hotly debated topic and we have seen varying approaches to dealing with this matter. The crux being what should we do as an organisation to ensure that come November/December we haven’t got the majority of the business requesting holidays or we have large volumes of holidays being carried over to next year.
Resistance to returning from furlough – On Thursday morning we discussed a few isolated cases where employees were enjoying being on furlough and were trying their best to take advantage of the scheme for as long as possible. This is obviously a highly contentious issue and Rebecca and Andrew were able to provide some excellent advice to those affected.
Managing other leaders – From discussions on Thursday and in previous forums, we have seen that CFO’s and FD’s are having to provide the voice of reason when other more “old school” department leads are pushing for support staff to return to the physical workplace in solidarity with the operational workforce or in order for them to “better monitor” staff productivity etc.
We will be continuing to run these Forums on a fortnightly basis, with the next session being on Thursday 9th July, with a 10.30am start. If you are a Finance leader and would like to sign up please use this link or contact me direct on 07766508820. Your input would be more than welcome.
For now, from Tamsin and I and all at Macildowie, we wish you all the best and once again thanks to all those that have joined us and contributed to the success of our Virtual CFO Forums so far.