CFO H1 Review

Norman Broadbent Interim CFO Industrials Practice Half Year Review

The first 6 months of 2019 are almost over, and we have already seen unprecedented demand for CFOs in the Industrials space. This market continues to be majorly disrupted by Brexit and economic uncertainty, particularly within Manufacturing, Construction, and Real Estate sectors; organisations continue to turn to us for subject matter experts in times of transition.

Earlier this year, we have partnered a £1B+ turnover Manufacturing business on a significant change and transformation programme, involving multiple Interim Executive hires to help support them with restructuring and refinancing whilst they change their Target Operating Model. In addition, despite economic disruption, Clients are still investing heavily in new ERP systems as finance departments aim to become leaner, reduce cost, and increase efficiencies. Popular systems like SAP and Oracle are still the systems of choice for most Clients; however, we have recently assisted two other Manufacturing Clients with the implementations of Infor M3 and Microsoft Dynamics, making Finance Transformation Directors and Programme Directors the most sought after Interim Executives placed this year.

The Construction market has hit challenging times in the UK; already this year we have seen a FTSE listed multinational support services and construction company go into pre-pack administration. In addition, one of its competitors has cut in excess of 1,200 jobs in a bid to make an annual cost saving. In the last few months, we partnered a distressed and market-leading construction business with Interim support on multiple and highly confidential projects for their Shared Service Center. This specific transformation involved streamlining both PTP and RTR processes. This is a prime example of where our Clients have increasingly turned to us to help meet their ongoing challenges. This is in part driven by the high impact mentality and innovative mindsets often associated with Interims, many of whom have a breadth and depth of finance transformation knowledge.

Tech savvy CFOs are increasingly pushing new and innovative ways their business can be more data enabled. These CFOs understand the fundamental drivers and metrics of the business, as a foundational element in assessing new, less structured sources of data. They have a clear sense of what customers care about most, and ideas about how to track this. They also have a clear grasp of why customers choose their organisations’ products and services, how those customers are acquired, and what helps retain them. We have recently worked alongside a multi-national Chemicals business with the implementation of a new data analytics dashboard, to integrate with their existing ERP system. This particular stakeholder had never led a change programme like this before, therefore called upon our advice and expertise in this field. This is where Interim Executives add value. Interim management has become the natural option for leadership teams in not only keeping large scale transformation projects alive, but also embedding new ways of working through knowledge transfer and cultural transformation. Through our market analysis, we have seen the integration of data analytic dashboards and other BI tools becoming increasingly common across mid-large cap businesses. The requirement for Finance and Data Transformation experts has grown significantly, and we expect this to continue.

What does the second half of 2019 look like?

Due to the continuing political and economic uncertainty, Clients are opting for Interims to add immediate impact in core areas such as Finance Transformation, Shared Services, reviewing/challenging the TOM, automation, and increased Data Analytics. Interims are now playing a key role in business enablement through effective partnering across both finance and effective operational delivery. Interim management will, we believe, be a continuing trend – and business necessity – across the finance community this year.

Interim management for many senior executives has become an alternative way of staying within consultancy and maintaining independence, delivering greater value by working directly with Clients as a professional Interim. From our Clients’ perspective, this delivers a highly cost-effective solution, with comparable if not greater levels of expertise than engaging one of the ‘Big Four’ consultancies.

If you would like to find out more about how we can support your organisation with Interim expertise, or to discuss a specific assignment, please do not hesitate to contact Kristian Lee on +44 (0) 0207 484 0000 or via for an initial confidential discussion.