BusinessCompany NewsDraw the line in your company

Draw the line in your company

Sometimes our financial news makes me wonder what we're playing at. Just this year we have seen the overstatement of oil reserves at BP, unchallenging bonus payments at Sainsbury's and accounting irregularities at Parmalat to name just a few.

I’m not the only one who’s worried. Adecco seemed to pay the price when just the possibility of compliance failure sent market players into a spin.

But at the same time, this is a real opportunity for finance professionals. There has been a fundamental change in the external perception of what counts in companies. Higher up the agenda are good corporate governance, accounting and reporting transparency, integrity of the information given to investors, and the question of corporate ethics.

The business consequences of reporting failures have become apparent. There is far more at stake than simply the numbers.

The headline-hitting crises appear to be in public companies where the pressure to ‘perform’ is at times almost intolerable and the rewards for keeping ‘in’ with the markets is enough to tempt anyone.

Fortunately the bulk of finance professionals work outside this hothouse, but they still have an important role to play in re-establishing financial integrity.

Talking to finance directors, it is clear that in many companies the executive teams will ‘get away with’ as much as the FD allows them to.

This is not a criticism. It is part of the dynamics of the creative business process. People need to feel free to develop business with a safety net that will ring the alarm bells when they go too far. For many companies, this is one of the finance director’s most important roles.

I can fully appreciate the frustration of the finance director who cries: ‘But why should I always be the one to say no?’

Perhaps it’s because, as trained finance professionals, we are often in a better position than anyone else to decide. It doesn’t mean we have to say ‘no’ to everything, but it does mean that we know where the lines should be drawn. It’s time to fully accept this vital part of our role.

  • Pat Scott, partner and executive coach with Woodbridge Partners.

Related Articles

BDO replaces Deloitte as Mitie auditor

Audit BDO replaces Deloitte as Mitie auditor

4w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
CVR Global appoints partner in London office

Company News CVR Global appoints partner in London office

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
FTSE100 failing to provide adequate ethics information

Company News FTSE100 failing to provide adequate ethics information

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Brand strength leads to fee income growth for RSM

Accounting Firms Brand strength leads to fee income growth for RSM

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Mazars strengthens audit team with partner appointment

Accounting Firms Mazars strengthens audit team with partner appointment

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Moore Stephens recruits new private client partner

Accounting Firms Moore Stephens recruits new private client partner

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Magma Group announces merger, partner promotions

Accounting Firms Magma Group announces merger, partner promotions

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
BDO on ‘recruitment spree’ with multiple partner appointments

Accounting Firms BDO on ‘recruitment spree’ with multiple partner appointments

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor