Ric Piper may not be the happiest man in the world after losing his job at Trinity Mirror before he had even started and following the poor financial performance of his last employer WS Atkins. But he may gain some comfort from knowing many finance directors are sympathetic to his predicament.
The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question shows 49% of those polled believe FDs have unjustifiably become the scapegoats for poor financial performance. This was compared to just 31% who thought the risk of blame for poor results is part of the finance directorås remit.
Support for Piper and others in a similar predicament was strong from the FD community. Comments such as ‘I think they have always been the scapegoats’ and ‘the MD should take the brunt’ were representative of the general mood.
One FD commented: ‘It’s shoot the messenger time. In good times, other disciplines argue “accounts” are just beancounters but when everything goes wrong, it is finance’s fault.
‘At the very least, other directors should share the culpability, especially where their teams have created the problems.’
However, not all FDs are so convinced that the role is being hard done by. Indeed some believe the responsibility should lie solely at the FD’s feet. ‘If the FD and other directors are not in control then who the hell is responsible,’ said another respondent.
‘There has been too much emphasis on good news and hiding black tales. They do not go away and FDs need more balls when dealing with it.’
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