Brexit, blockchain and the UK economy – just three of many things on the minds of Finance Leaders; each addressed by guest speakers, industry experts and IBMers in lively debate and discussion at this year’s BusinessConnect. Guest speakers included Justin Urquhart Stewart, Nick Leeson and Trevor Williams, who shared their insights and expertise on these topics commenting on the impact today and for the future.
The day kicked off with Paul Campion, IBM’s Director of Global Financing UKI, and Vineet Khurana, IBM’s Chief Financial Officer UKI, who spoke about why it’s critical for businesses to manage financial uncertainty through more thorough analysis (crunching the numbers!) in order to find valuable growth opportunities. They spoke in depth about the important responsibility Finance Leaders play in always ensuring they do the right thing for the business.
Quote of the session – John Allen Paulous: “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is”
The esteemed media commentator Justin Urquhart Stewart, provided a humorous but insightful look at the global economy and how the UK’s decision to leave the EU will impact our daily lives. The Brexit challenges facing the CFO, mostly unbeknown at the moment, will affect our future decisions but in what ways we can only speculate. This led to the panel session of the day – Finance Leaders giving their perspective on how to deal with transformation in their businesses. The panel featuring several prominent leaders including Stephen Ibbotson, Director, Commercial & Business at the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales, Peter Whitfield, Finance Director at Specialist Computer Centres and Justin and Vineet.
Nick Leeson, revered as the man who broke Barings bank, gave a very candid account of being at the heart of one of the most famous financial scandals. He discussed in detail how it should never be possible for one man (or woman!) to single-handedly bring down a business, and the importance of ensuring the appropriate security checks, IT governance and preventative measures are in place – a topic that’s becoming all too common and interlinks with increasingly sophisticated cyberterrorism. He discussed in detail the constant lack of challenge and process he faced at all levels. To him it was shockingly clear that no-one person truly understood the business. He highlighted how safer the industry is now compared to over 20 years ago, with better systems, quality of controls and people now in place.
Trevor Williams, Chief Economist at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, concluded the main morning session discussing global markets, the UK economy and the winds of change. His final thought to the audience was ‘the only limit to your success is your imagination’ – something we should all keep in mind, no matter your role.
This was followed by a series of breakout sessions. These covered:
1) Value-at-Risk: how do you determine how much to spend on cyber security?
2) Reinvention is the new reality – How organisations can thrive in the disruptive world of Brexit.
3) Making Blockchain Real for Business.
4) A Cognitive Approach to Risk and Regulation.
As a finance community there is a strong need to continue to explore how we transform and adapt to the demands of this new digitalised world and economic uncertainties. It’s important to both continue to engage with the broader business community on key industry issues and make use of the innovative technology available to CFOs, financial leaders and finance departments.
If you are interested or if you would like to have a further conversation please get in contact.