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December 2009/January 2010 Edition
The PSD newsletter for
Finance in Focus
Welcome to the latest edition of Accountancy & Finance in Focus featuring a collection of articles on
current topics written by high profile finance professionals. We hope that they will provide you with some
interesting ideas and stimulate thought and debate. We are delighted to have such an impressive list of
contributors and are extremely grateful to each of them for their time, commitment and effort in writing
I would also like to use this edition to put the spotlight on the committed and knowledgeable team of
consultants that constitute PSD Finance who have developed an enviable track record of success in
middle and senior level recruitment, encompassing all roles from Newly Qualified to Finance Director level
as well as Audit, Tax, Treasury and Corporate Finance specialisms.
Our expertise in Accountancy & Finance is further enhanced by an in depth knowledge of key sectors including
PETER HARDY Banking & Financial Services, Business & Professional Services, Retail, FMCG, Communications, Software
PSD Services, Consumer Electronics, Leisure-Travel, Property & Construction, Energy & Utilities, Not-for-Profit and
firstname.lastname@example.org Manufacturing. PSD operates both permanent and interim teams and has over 50 consultants in the UK.
Tel: 0207 970 9701 PSD teams also thrive in Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Steve Maley Daniel Bolton Andrew Varty Paul Instone Raz Keoshgerian
Steve manages the London & Daniel manages the national Andrew heads up the regional Paul joined PSD in 1998 and is the Raz is jointly responsible for
South East team. He has over 10 Finance team based in Manchester Finance team in Manchester which co-manager of the Finance managing PSD's Finance Contracting
years experience recruiting senior which operates in the FM Provider, operates across all major industry Contracting team. He has business. He works in the
level finance professionals and has Housebuilding & Main Contracting sectors in the Midlands, North & experience of working across Technology and Energy & Utilities
had considerable exposure to both sectors. Having been with PSD for Scotland on both a permanent and several sectors and has developed sectors and brings with him a lengthy
advertised and executive search over 9 years he has built up a interim basis. Having been at PSD a distinguished reputation as an track record as a high level interim &
assignments. He personally focuses significant network in these areas for some 10 years he has built up a finance contracting recruiter. He has
expert in the interim & contrcating
on both the Energy & Utilities and and has worked with many FTSE substancial array of blue chip been with PSD for 7 years and has
finance market. Paul’s own
over 10 years financial recruitment
Affordable Housing sectors with 100, FTSE 250 and SME clients through his specialism of specialism is in Retail & Leisure,
experience, during which time he has
particular emphasis on finance businesses at a senior level. recruiting senior finance Financial Services and Not-for-
worked extensively with SME's as
director & financial controller professionals into the FMCG and Profit sectors.
well as a number of FTSE 100 &
recruitment. Manufacturing sectors.
FTSE 250 companies.
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Tel: 0207 970 9718 Tel: 0161 234 0364 Tel: 0161 234 0356 Tel: 0207 970 9676 Tel: 0207 970 9738
PSD is an international PSD PSD PSD PSD Other Office
recruitment services London Birmingham Manchester Haywards Heath Locations
organisation operating at
the Middle to Senior
28 Essex Street 85-89 Colmore Row 2nd Floor 7 Perrymount Road Frankfurt
London Birmingham Abbey House Haywards Heath Munich
We offer expert knowledge WC2R 3AT B3 2BB 74 Mosley Street West Sussex
Manchester RH16 3TN Paris
of our specialist markets:
Technology, IT, Finance & M2 3LW Hong Kong
Banking, Marketing & Sales, Shanghai
Property & Construction, +44 (0)20 7970 9700 +44 (0)121 212 0099 +44 (0)161 234 0300 +44 (0)1293 802000
Customer Contact, Law, london@ birmingham@ manchester@ haywardsheath@
HR and Purchasing. psdgroup.com psdgroup.com psdgroup.com psdgroup.com
Finance in Focus
How has the current market affected the
running of the finance team of the
substantial payments business at HSBC
With increasing focus on time critical financial information
the finance department has become a more integral
business support service. As a result the Finance Director
is required to be far more visible across the organisation,
to provide guidance, assurance and communication of
business direction, tactics and performance, says James
Richardson, Finance Directorof HSBC’s Merchant Services
HSBC Merchant Services was until recently a This requires an FD to monitor and report
part of HSBC. Now a separate business and business performance relative to the tactical
a wholly owned subsidiary of Global and strategic direction set by the Board/CEO,
Payments Inc it remains HSBC's preferred through production and communication of
strategic partner for card processing in the relevant, accurate and timely financial
UK. To assess how these changes and the information.
current market is affecting business, Jon
Holman, Consultant - Banking & Financial
Who do you see as the biggest winners
Services speaks with James Richardson, FD -
and losers in the current payments
HSBC's Merchant Services. market?
Winners will be those who use the current
How has the FD’s role in HSBC been economic challenges to their advantage.
changing? Positioning to be even more successful as the
My experience is that the FD's role has economic cycle turns by inspiring
evolved to require greater front line commitment in people, focussing on the most
communication as the business demands day important/valuable activities and driving
to day, weekly and monthly guidance by efficiencies. Even more important in uncertain
numbers. times, is the support of this by the
communication of a clear direction/strategy,
What is Global Payments Inc doing to recognising both opportunities and risks
gain a competitive advantage and how is prevalent along the way and being flexible
the finance team supporting this? enough, through foresight, to adapt. This
We haven't changed direction as a result of ensures confidence and creativity grow
economic/market events and remain throughout the organisation, whilst focus on
focussed on growing our business both the end delivery of a mission and vision is
organically and by taking opportunities for retained.
business development as they arise. Our
Losers will be the companies who succeeded
competitive advantage comes from our
in the good times by either riding a wave or
independence (vs bank acquirers with
their luck without focus on, or understanding
competing demands), monoline focus and the
shareholders in mind. A business exists to of, their core underlying business
commitment and expertise of our people to
serve customers, but without fundamentals. Having previously found things
be flexible and disciplined towards achieving
shareholder/investor support even a good easy, these companies don't have the capital
our corporate aims. Finance is responsible for
organisation could be in jeopardy. This structure, financial discipline, breadth of
educating the business through the numbers
requires the articulation of business organisational commitment, expertise,
to ensure focus on short, medium and long
performance through financial information, the knowledge, or culture to drive adaptation to a
term goals are aligned and the correct
core element of an FD's role. tougher economic reality.
decisions are made to support these.
Finance Directors need to understand their
Being in a position of Finance Director business and wider industry, know how to
for a major business, what advice would communicate to a broad spectrum audience
you give to any aspiring Finance and be able to use the numbers to drive
Director? performance. A Finance Director is the
A Finance Directors role starts and ends with Managing Directors/CEO's co-pilot and
the numbers. All businesses must focus on navigator and key to supporting the
the customer, the FD has to bare organisation in delivery of the CEO's vision.
Finance in Focus
How did one of Australia’s top
Finance Directors adjust to a new life
with one of the UK’s top companies?
David Marr joined the supermarket giant Tesco in the
Summer of 2008, moving to the UK from Sydney, Australia.
His role as Divisional FD of Non-Foods was to ensure
finance added value to a division, which with a turnover of
over £6 billion represented a higher GDP than many
developed western nations!
Prior to taking up his role with Tesco David loyalty as well as enabling us to provide Culturally, it is a very dynamic, energetic and
Marr ran a substantial finance team as tailored offers for them. This has proven to be fast-paced business, able to implement
Chief Financial Officer at Australian a great differentiator for Tesco and we're activities or respond to market conditions very
Pharmaceuticals Industries, a listed replicating Clubcard across many of our quickly. It's a business that has enjoyed great
pharmaceutical wholesaler and health and international businesses. We understand the success over the past decade with an
beauty retailer. This followed almost 5 benefits of customer insights and the Finance ambitious future growth strategy. It is a culture
years with the Fosters/Southcorp Group, function plays a key role in ensuring these which demands success and is a highly
where he had gained excellent front-line insights inform decision-making. rewarding environment for ambitious
expertise in both Finance and Sales individuals. The breadth and scale of the
Director roles, which have equipped him business, both domestically and internationally,
well in his challenge at Tesco. Having experienced a recession previously provides great opportunities for people to
what advice would you give to any aspiring broaden their experience and continue to
In this interview David provides a
Finance Director? progress.
fascinating insight into the workings of the
supermarket success that is Tesco and Firstly, recessions don't last forever! Naturally
what it takes to take advantage of the you need to pay careful attention to current
challenging market we face. trading conditions and ensure your business
model is appropriate in difficult times but it is
just as important to plan ahead so that you are
How have you seen the role of Finance well placed to capitalise on the economic
Director at Tesco change in light of the recovery. Given the financial climate, not
recent market turmoil? surprisingly many businesses are focusing on
optimising their Cash position at present and
The role of the Finance Director and broader Tesco is no exception. Finance has played a
finance function becomes even more important leading role in ensuring our Cash processes
in challenging times. The need for accurate are robust, and educating the business on its
and insightful information increases significantly increasing importance.
and a key role of Finance is to both coach and
lead the business in understanding the impacts
of decision making. In order to make this as Having moved from a major Australian
effective as possible, it's important that business to Tesco what has proved most
everyone understands their role and how it can revealing about the cultural differences and
add value to the business. how differing businesses are run?
The UK retailing market is highly competitive
offering customers significant choice. It is
What is Tesco currently doing to gain therefore critical that our products are of the
competitive advantage and how is finance best quality at the lowest prices and that the
supporting this? shopping trip meets our customers'
expectations. Given the size of the business,
Everything we do is focused around delivering Tesco is managed on a functional basis, which
great value products for our customers. We allows great focus across all areas of the
place a lot of focus on our Clubcard loyalty business. It is the detail and depth of our
program which helps us understand our customer understanding that makes Tesco
customers better and which rewards their stand out.
Finance in Focus
The Challenges of the Interim market
are many. How does one of its most
experienced practioners cope?
Andrew Meyrick is a Qualified Chartered Accountant
and has been a professional Interim Manager since the
early 1990's having spent his earlier career within a
diverse range of businesses including B2B and FMCG
sectors. Having formed "Mesmeric", his own company,
Andrew has developed a successful interim career
spanning nearly 20 years.
Why did you choose to become an Interim One of the other trends I have noticed is the shortage that the client may have on a short-
Manager? move towards a very specific recruitment term basis which may be required to
In 1990 I was working for Labatts as VP market, including sectors and job title in complete certain projects.
Europe and after they failed to secure conjunction with the introduction of a more From an intangible perspective, I feel that the
additional funding I started to feel that even transactional style of recruitment, which real value comes in the ability to provide an
as a permanent employee that there was a increasingly is being used at a more senior unbiased and un-political opinion to offer high
large element of exposure and vulnerability. I level as well as for junior level positions. levels of integrity, accountability and delivery
decided that I had been fortunate enough to What are the key challenges that an Interim (via a total focus approach) throughout and to
gain an extensive range of skills and therefore Manager faces when going into a new client be counted on to provide an honest opinion.
wanted to put that into use - the option that I organisation Via this additional coaching, training and
felt best suited this was to become an interim When going into a new client, I feel that the empowerment can also be delivered which in
consultant. This was based on my view that key is to quickly ascertain the dynamics of the turn, help to raise the levels of staff motivation
the interim career path suited my abilities to management team and to work out how and quality of work across both junior and
be adaptable as well as enjoying the project cohesive they are; to identify the leader and senior staff.
aspects of my previous positions. Increasingly to understand if there are any "preventatives" An established Interim has often gained solid
I was feeling more drawn to project based i.e. those who could jeopardise progress. experience to a vast range of projects and
deliverables so again this fitted well with my tasks and clients should use the time that
Other key traits include remaining visible and
background and personality. they have an Interim on-site as a source of
approachable throughout the assignment;
Lifestyle was also an important consideration getting down to the more granular aspects information on-tap which could help sort
and I felt this provided me with the within the business, including working with problems across other areas of the business.
opportunity to be more in charge of my own staff at all levels; conducting a quick GAP How do you ensure you keep your skills
future. analysis of the situation to provide the client transferable in what could be argued to be an
What changes/developments have you seen with a realistic timescale for the project and to increasingly sector specific market?
in the Interim market over the last 10 years deliver the bad as well as the good news and I take the view that a product or service is a
Over the last 10 years I have seen two key the ability to effectively manage client product or service irrespective of the sector
categories of interims emerge: 1) Generic expectations. and that the core basics, when stripped
i.e. those having a very broad, adaptable and What value does an Interim Manager add to a down, are generally the same. The key is to
commercial skill set. 2) Standard i.e. to cover client organisation? understand the main drivers which are
maternity leave or very specific tasks e.g. year There are many benefits of taking on an common to all businesses, i.e. revenue
end/systems upgrades. Interim Manager and the benefits can be seen streams, the bottom line and cash flow.
I have also seen a definite trend for across both tangible and intangible areas of I feel strongly that sectors are therefore not
professional interims to prefer to work the business. unique and that finance and commercial skills
through a good intermediary company with From a tangible perspective, an Interim is able are fully transferable
strong contacts but also with a secure to deliver against specific goals and targets To be successful however it is essential for
financial base to provide a regular payroll for project delivery. More often than not, the any interim manager to do their homework
service. Interim coming in would have completed and to extensively research any new sector
Additionally, I have increasingly seen the similar assignments in the past and can and client prior to interview and
benefit of working through an established therefore draw on their previous experience commencement of role. It is also important
recruitment consultancy to provide access to as well as count on the knowledge and to utilise any available network contacts
their client base as individually an interim experiences of their network of contacts effectively to gather information and any
would not have the resources, including time as/when required. Additionally, an Interim is additional insights.
to cover such a vast market. able to fill-in any areas of skills or knowledge
Finance in Focus
A global perspective on the impact of
government spending on Power & Utility
Larno Pienaar is Regional Controller for Finance – Power
Construction Projects for Alstom Power a global, world
leader in integrated power plants for the production of
electricity and air quality control systems. Here he
examines the ever changing world.
Power businesses are traditionally built on to power generation. Going forward, Alstom
high value contracts with state utility Power must continue to grow this market
companies. What impact are current share, even amid the current economic
spending plans of these companies having on climate. It will require a focus on different
Alstom Power both immediately and over the regions, active re-entry into these markets
long term? and clean technology. As a market leader in
If we look at simple economic principles such the reduction of CO2 Emissions, we have
as supply and demand, we should not be achieved a very stable platform from which to
affected at all. We deal in a commodity that launch into the short and long term future.
speaks to the basic needs of people around
the globe. It is a demand that exists now and What in your opinion are the critical factors in
will continue to do so, regardless of economic maintaining stability though difficult times?
climate. Having said that, no one was spared
To maintain stability through difficult times, the
the effect of the economic crisis. The funding
following are critical factors
must come from somewhere and as such,
unless accompanied by priority sacrifices, The company needs to remain loyal to its
there is bound to be a slow down effect of brand, its customers and its shareholders.
some proportion for highly geared state It is critical for leadership to be transparent
funding. Simplistically, this would be and honest about the severity of the situation
governments that rely primarily on labor- but at the same time to stay away from the
intensive markets to produce consumer doom and gloom scenarios.
goods for export, investment funding and Leadership should cultivate a positive attitude
international borrowing against trade account amongst all the employees of the company.
deficits. Alstom Power have managed the When factors are external, it is no reflection
storm well despite the delays experienced in climate and ensure long term sustainable on the employees' abilities to do their jobs
the decision making from customers. We growth. Alstom Power has always focused on and do it well.
show continued growth in both the Transport quality in execution and a superior, cost
Be prepared for the up-turn and recognize it
and the Power sectors. Furthermore, we have effective total solution. This renewed focus on
when it happens
a backlog of around 29 months worth of quality and alternative client oriented, cost
sales at quarter end. This along with the fact effective solutions will stand the company in No matter what our discipline, our business is
that the lifecycle of a power plant is measured good stead long after the crisis has gone. and always will be people. We get through
in years and not days like a traditional tough times when we manage people and
manufacturing concern, puts us in a good their perceptions in line with macro economic
Alstom Power's global presence has grown realities.
position to deal with the short and long terms
extensively within the last few years, how has
effects of the current economic climate and to
this been achieved and how do you plan on
minimize the impact on earnings and growth.
capitalising on this growth ?
Very simplistically, Alstom Power offered an
What, if any, benefits have you witnessed integrated product and service solution to an
during the current economic crisis? industry that needed very little
In my opinion, the greatest benefit of the encouragement to grow substantially. The
current economic crisis is simply that it has company gained market share by not only
forced the organization to look at itself and to selling a product the market holds in high
assess its strategy to deal with the current regard, but by selling a "one stop" approach
Finance in Focus
How a major success story has been
achieved in the toughest of sectors
Balfour Beatty is a an international market leading
major contracting business. Operating across a
number of key sectors they have continued to
despite of the recent downturn and have recently
undertaken the acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Haydn Mursell, the Deputy Group Finance There was a slight hiatus at the end of 2008
Director explains a little more about life at when, in more normal circumstances, we
Balfour Beatty and how they have managed would have expected to close four PPP
to continue their success in this otherwise projects. Those projects took longer to reach
trying time for many major contracting firms. financial close but we did successfully
conclude all four projects in the first half of
2009, including the M25 widening scheme,
Balfour Beatty is winning a number of key
without needing the support of the
contracts across various divisions, what is the
government's debt fund.
secret of your success?
Balfour Beatty is focused on infrastructure
and there is a continuing need from Being an international organisation, how has
customers to upgrade or renew existing the business faired on a global scale?
assets and to build new ones. Construction is a local business so
Our diversity, in terms of the geographical knowledge of local labour and material supply
markets we focus on (UK/Europe, US, Middle is critical. We have established a successful
East and Far East) and the market sectors we domestic business in the United States,
serve (utilities, roads, health, education, rail, which now accounts for over 30% of Group
defence, facilities management etc), has revenue. Over time, the US business should
served us extremely well. have the same scale and depth as our UK
business. We also have successful operations
Have you found your role changing at all in
in the Middle East and the Far East, though
light of the economic downturn?
they are a smaller part of the overall Group.
Balfour Beatty has continued to perform What does the future hold for Balfour Beatty?
strongly, both operationally and financially. -provides control over the group's assets
The resilience of our business model, with We recently announced the acquisition of
-delivers cost effectiveness across the group
pre-tax profit up 14% at the half year, has Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the world's
-delivers quality financial information on a leading professional services companies. It is
been demonstrated in this difficult economic
timely basis to support decision making a sizeable transaction and will achieve a
-acts as a catalyst for change to support number of strategic goals including
The main impact on my job has been to
effective performance establishing a global professional services
reinforce the focus on cash flow, working
and this is no different in a contract driven business of scale and creating a leading
capital and liquidity, in addition to sustainable,
environment. The ongoing challenge is to position in US civil infrastructure.
long term profit delivery. This has required
increased levels of internal communication maintain a finance function that has both the The acquisiton completed at the end of
with group operating companies, in addition capabilities and the flexibility necessary to October 2009 and we will be focusing on our
to the essential regular external meet the desired levels of performance in ability to offer awider range of capabilities to
communication managing the expectations of these key areas. customers, to leverage existing relationships
the market, as well as investors and banks in Has a general lack of available funding in the and the opportunities that come from a
order to secure their long-term support. market had any effect on future projects? broader geographical presence.
What is now expected from a finance function There has been a timing impact, more
in a contract driven environment? particularly in the private sector, and less so in
It has always been the case that the finance the public sector.
function which includes all aspects of finance,
tax, treasury and, risk management:
service is best for Finance
my requirement? Team
Over the past 12 months the PSD
We are one of the longest established Finance Practice have worked in
senior level recruiters in the finance market partnership with a number of
housing clients through both
and tailor our service to your specific needs retained and non retained
assignments, we have listed a
So what service can you offer me? assignment is complete (as in the process for selection of clients below:
The answer is simple, we offer a broad range Executive Search above).
of specific, tailored services. Combined Search & Selection This is a very Home Away Europe CB Richard Ellis
So what does that mean for our thorough and effective process that combines Neo Capital Moat Homes
both the advertised selection and executive
Well first of all our consultants have an expert Vinci Cancer Technology
knowledge of the finance market and offer search processes.
Taylor Wimpey Tuxedo Ltd
highly effective recruitment skills that enable File Search (Contingency) We hold an
us to deliver outstanding results and Interserve Facilities Carillion
exceptional levels of service. We provide a extensive database of sector relevant
comprehensive range of recruitment services candidates that provide a quick, effective and Network Rail
aimed at the middle-to-senior executive level. immediate recruitment solution. Co-Op
Whether your task is to recruit a number of
individuals or to fill a single vacancy, PSD Interim & Contracting PSD can also supply Hyde Group SEEDA
provide fast, efficient and effective recruitment quality professionals on an Interim/contract Barratt
basis. This provides a quick and very effective Developments
We offer the following services: Nokia Siemens
solution for a short term assignment, specific Shanks
Executive Search PSD employs a research Networks
facility which tracks the careers of key project or contract position.
Lowry Homes Barclays Bank
professionals within its specialist markets. Dependant on the role we will suggest one or
From the initial briefing meeting, research will a combination of these solutions to produce Kier Grant Thornton
be carried out to identify relevant the best result for the client.
professionals within the sector. Once the Serco Lendlease
client has approved the “long-list” of potential Wincanton
candidates confidential approaches are made, RBS
In addition to the above services we can also
explaining/selling the role. We then interview United Utilities First Base
the candidates against an agreed set of offer:
competencies and provide a shortlist of c3 – • Salary benchmarking Hertz Travelex
5 outstanding candidates. The client then Visa
• Extensive research facilities Lloyds Banking
interviews the shortlisted individuals offering
the preferred candidate the role. PSD • Media response handling
manages the offer process and maintains • Competency based interviewing
close contact with the candidate through to We recruit both permanent and
the start date. • Skilled screening and interviewing interim finance professionals into
Advertised Selection We are a major • Personality Profiling/Psychometric Testing the following areas:
advertiser in trade and national press (we are
the UK’s largest advertiser in the quality • Interview and conference facilities (London,
broadsheets by some distance) and have a Manchester, Birmingham & Hayward’s Heath) Banking & Financial Consumer
strong, distinctive advertising style. Once the So which service is best for my requirement? Services Electronics
brief is taken we will select the relevant Business & Leisure-Travel
media, copyright the advert and handle the Each assignment we handle is unique which
is why we offer a broad range of services and Professional Services Property &
response. Interviews and selection will take
place followed by offer management until the will advise which is most suitable for you. Retail Construction
FMCG Energy & Utilities
Software Services Manufacturing