Every quarter, Argyll Scott hosts a Finance Leaders Breakfast where a number of senior finance professionals in London join our team for discussion on a range of topical, relevant subjects. Here are three of the key takeaways from our most recent event in December 2018 that we think you may find interesting.
On 2019 predictions and trends
The uncertainty that has dominated the UK headlines and political arena was mirrored around the breakfast table, making the majority of 2019 predictions tough. Many of our guests agreed that Brexit will impact their business, but the room was split on how fruitful the coming years might be, with some sectors highlighted as benefitting from the current climate:
- The volatile markets are proving very fruitful for some investment firms, with new fintech adding value to many companies of varying size.
- High-end London retailers have actually had a good year. The exchange rate is allowing consumers from abroad to travel to London, make a purchase, travel back home, and still save money on buying the same item in Paris or Rome.
- Disruptive ad-tech firms are enjoying growth both locally and globally. Partners in Europe have been keen to look at new alternatives and strike agreements despite European uncertainty.
- However, it was agreed that property firms need to be realistic and manage rental prices; with retailers moving online, commercial property could be the next industry hit with a downturn.
On keeping teams engaged
One of our guests shared a great employee engagement technique they have used to great effect recently.
By organising staff to work on system or technical projects in other areas of the business, both parties involved grew to have a greater understanding of the other and therefore learnt to work more cohesively and productively afterwards. This has worked particularly well in the Finance division, where productivity can fall if the job starts to become too routine and isolated. Food for thought!
On technical challenges
Finance functions have undoubtedly changed over the past decade – with more commercial and business partnering roles being valued by business leaders. However, this has resulted in a shortfall in talented technical accountants.
Moreover, larger Finance functions are having to constantly evolve with the introduction of new accounting standards such as IFRS 9,15,16 and 17. Therefore, it seems that the market is calling out for skilled technical accountants both on a permanent basis and also to assist with technical transformation projects – a demand that we can confirm from a recruitment perspective.
Do any of these subjects resonate with you or your organisation? What are your top tips for employee engagement? Have you seen any interesting positives in the economy, despite the political uncertainty?
Our next Finance Leaders Breakfast is scheduled for the end of Q1, if you would like to bring your thoughts to the breakfast table! Just let me know.