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Special Report 68: Commercial Insight

This month's special report explores how to be more commercial to add value and generate profit for your firm.

Welcome to the 68th special report from your BAM team – one which we hope will make as big a splash as number 67. In the last report, we managed to predict the curve and come out with an in-depth look at ‘problem solving’ just as lockdown began. This prompted some debate, both good and bad, from our readers, which is the reason why we produce these reports. Fingers crossed, this one will do the same.

Back in April, I expected to be introducing this September report with an analysis of things we had learned during the lockdown and the great ‘work at home’ experiment. However, while lockdown restrictions may have eased for most of us in the UK, the experiment has taken a more permanent look, with many businesses offering their employees the ability to work from home forever and shutting their offices. Could you have met some of your colleagues face-to-face for the last time ever back in mid-March? A thought which never crossed my mind at the time.

Something that we, as finance professionals, must also get used to in ‘the new normal’ (I’m sorry, but this tired phrase fits so well) is being more ‘commercial’, and being prepared to add value and generate profit for our firms. The CFO of tomorrow, nay today, will be expected to make critical business decisions, to innovate and collaborate with all parts of the business and look at business through more than a financial lens. For any aspiring FDs and CFOs, this is an essential skill, no longer one to be learned only when you get to the top.

In this vein, we’ve attempted to get together the latest and sharpest thinking in the finance world. We look at how the finance team can understand the challenges facing a business and work together to meet them. Many businesses will be on the defensive – how will this be managed?

The evolving relationship between the CEO and CFO is assessed – the latter is no longer just a ‘numbers guy’ or ‘yes man’, but in many instances is the most trusted number two to the CEO. Collaboration is the buzzword you may be sick to death of (like ‘the new normal’?), but bear with me – it is crucial. Finance professionals are now expected to work seamlessly with all layers of the business, including the oft-forgotten marketing department (see page 20).

So there is much to learn as the evolving role of the accountant looks set to turbo-charge its changes in the next few years, much like everything else in our world. We are lucky to have many CFOs, FDs and finance professionals among our readership, so we hope you will benefit from this report and let us know about it; likewise, if you think we are way off the mark, please tell us. Happy reading and keep negotiating that ‘new normal.’

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Comments and suggestions

Dipak Vashi, Technical Manager, Business and Management Faculty