Finance team of the year: Entertainment UK

Our judges found Entertainment UK’s finance team ‘stood out overall’ against its shortlisted rivals.

With today’s finance team expected to aid the sales team, support fundraising, help product development, formulate business plans, provide up-to-the-minute financial analysis and produce innovative ways of keeping a company moving forward and increase revenue, Entertainment UK’s has excelled.

Judges were looking to award the team prize for professional excellence in financial management and wanted evidence of substantial financial achievement and innovation that has generated clear business benefits.

The Eden Project’s finance team led by FD Gaynor Coley scooped last year’s accolade for its relentless efforts to realise a visionary private-public finance project which meant the team were under great pressure to raise finances, not to mention completing the obligatory due diligence. The £86m scheme surpassed its annual visitor target within the first six months of opening.

Like the Eden Project’s team, Entertainment UK’s finance team had an uphill struggle on their hands following the company’s demerger from the Kingfisher Group. Given this backdrop with the company recovering from a period of uncertainty and substantial workload to support the split from Kingfisher, it meant Entertainment UK had to balance the pressures of being a significantly larger company within a much smaller group, as well as the associated focus and attention this brought the finance team.

The finance team rose to the challenge by developing a strategy, which focused on four main areas. These included streamlining financial processes to improve quality and drive efficiency; developing an environment in which the team were able to achieve their ambitions; and building business understanding that challenged and supported the business and lastly improving the company’s cash flow and working capital management.

One judge commented: ‘They are clearly a sensible bunch. They do the basics well.’ Another added: ‘There is good streamlining of the financial process. They have offered a big improvement for the business.’

External forecasts show entertainment (music, video, DVD and games) will be one of the fastest-growing retail markets in the UK. Of his finance team Richard Cowan, managing director, said: ‘I believe the successful delivery of their finance strategy in the difficult and challenging environment faced by them shows substantial financial achievement and highlights the significant benefits that innovation and technology can deliver.

‘The team’s achievements have generated significant business benefits for the company and without doubt, they have demonstrated professional excellence in financial management.’

Shortlisted candidates:

  • Americana
  • BBC
  • Riverside Community NHS Trust

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