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Sector Insights finance directors, brevet

by John Bloor


Finance Directors: What To Do Post Brexit

Without a doubt the EU referendum result has left companies and Finance Directors around the country wondering what to do next. Do we wait until a new Prime Minister triggers Article 50, or do we keep calm and carry on?

Uncertainty is never good for business; Q4 and Q1 have been difficult months for many organisations in the run up to the EU referendum with decisions and programmes put on hold for after the vote. Now we have the uncertainty caused by the Brexit result, combined with parliamentary disruption, and still no clear plan.

However, in my recent discussions with CEOs, CFOs and Finance Directors I am sensing that the initial surprise of a Brexit vote is now being replaced by a desire for action. Yet with no clear timetable or plan of action from our political leaders, what steps can Finance Directors take to ensure they are moving forwards?

3 Post-Brexit Steps For Finance Directors

  1. Assess Exposure

The first step leadership teams need to take, if they have not already, is assess the impact Brexit has on the organisation. Typically this should involve putting together an experienced team to look at the unique ramifications of Brexit to the organisation: exploring both the threat and opportunities presented by the post Brexit landscape.

  1. Key Questions For Finance

As part of this review, Finance Directors will need to answer a whole host of questions about how Brexit impacts on the company’s finances. These might include:

  • How does Brexit affect sales and revenues?
  • How does Brexit impact on procurement and supply chain?
  • What are the cashflow implications of Brexit?
  • Can we meet our short-term financial obligations post-Brexit?
  • Does Brexit impact on the organisation’s capital structure?
  • Are there any tax implications for the business?

This list is far from exhaustive and Finance Directors naturally need explore every eventuality and detail.

  1. Align Finance With New Business Strategies

If, as a result of Brexit, the organisation has to go through a period of change and transformation, and develop new business strategies, finance teams will need to align themselves with new goals. The Finance Director’s role will be guide the team through this change, which may require new finance processes, investment from new sources, and a review of all spending across the organisation. New thinking may also be required to help the organisation implement post Brexit business strategies and find innovative ways to combat any negative financial implications.

In times of change or crisis Interim Finance Directors are uniquely positioned to support organisations during change; and Brexit is certainly forcing businesses into change and transformation programmes they did not necessarily plan for. Interim Finance Directors have expertise that comes from exposure to a wide range of challenges faced by organisations, and an ability to draw on this experience to find solutions in the best interest of those companies they work with.

I have created a checklist of actions Finance teams should take today. These are the actions Finance interims recommend to manage post-Brexit threats and seize the opportunities that this vote presents. Click on the link below for your copy.

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About the Author

John places senior interim executives in the UK and Europe across many industry sectors and management functions, principally at chief officer level. His background has led to a natural bias towards the financial services sector and, from a functional perspective, finance. However, the common thread that links the majority of placements he has made is clients who have a significant change agenda.

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