Challenges Facing UK Finance Directors Right Now

 In Accountancy, Blog, Uncategorised

It’s March 2020 – science fiction is slowly becoming fact as a virus starts to cause utter pandemonium… schools are being closed, offices forced to shut and home working models thrashed out, daily medical updates by the PM et al…. meanwhile Brexit starts to cause supply chain issues… material costs start to surge….

It would be fair to say that many FDs were suggesting they were navigating the most challenging & unsettling unchartered waters of their careers….

Fast forward… it’s June 2022 – surely the winds and dusts have settled and calmer seas are in sight right?? ….

It certainly doesn’t seem that way…

Many FDs / senior finance folk we speak with are experiencing stretching difficulties and are predicting further obstacles on the short and mid range horizon….

  • A war in Europe is adding further squeeze to supply chains and material availability
  • Overheads including utility costs are climbing faster and higher than ever in recorded history
  • Labour availability in the UK is about as tight as ever recorded with skill gaps widening and vacancy numbers at unprecedented highs
  • Inflation is at new highs and is forecast to spin even higher before the year comes to a close
  • WFH and Hybrid models are an ongoing challenge
  • Salaries are continually trending upwards rapidly and a cost of living crisis coupled with a lack of labour availability seems likely to feed into an inflation / salary spiral…
  • Investment and lending is becoming tricky (and more expensive to access)… meanwhile loans linked to the covid interruption and beginning to fall into the ‘needs to be paid back’ category

Wow. Just writing it is enough to cause a migraine…

Your finance function and the folks at the top of that pyramid will be feeling pressure. Fact.

  • They will be really tightly reviewing costs and doing everything they can to remove any flabby spend.
  • They’ll be concerned about staff retention and engagement.
  • They may well be juggling additional workload whilst trying to successfully recruit and plug gaps.
  • They are likely partnering with sales teams and liaising with customers to gain a flavour for pricing reactions and get a feel for forecasts and pipelines.
  • They are likely to be trying to really understand the profit drivers and revenue streams better than ever to allow focus on what makes the most efficient money.
  • They are likely drilling cashflow forecasts more frequently and more diligently than ever.
  • They are probably keeping a more weather eye on banking relationships and lending options.

“Well that should all be business as usual”

You could be right – a trapeze artists BAU is calmly performing tricks at 90 feet and that’s how they earn their money — but in the current climate their swing is also ablaze…. and someone’s firing poisoned darts at them…

Strong finance teams will help businesses sail out of the chaos relatively unscathed… but they can’t turn 5 fish into 500… boardrooms expecting miracle numbers from the finance team will likely just exacerbate the problem.

If you are an finance professional struggling for peace of mind right now you likely aren’t alone…. For many it certainly has a feel of getting through a terrible storm to find yourself in a perfect one!!

But the positive is that your skill set (and CV!) will be improving rapidly under the strain of the changing landscape and ongoing new challenges…

You’re also not alone!

If you are keen to discuss the market currently or if we can help with recruitment needs on an interim or permanent basis please pick up the phone…. 

Thanks as always for reading!

Recent Posts