Time to celebrate Yorkshire’s top finance directors

Cream of the crop: Andy Finneran (left), a past winner of Yorkshire Finance Director of the Year, pictured with James Lambert at R&R Ice Cream
Cream of the crop: Andy Finneran (left), a past winner of Yorkshire Finance Director of the Year, pictured with James Lambert at R&R Ice Cream
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THE UPS and downs of the post-crisis economy have tested their skills like never before.

The time has now come to celebrate the achievements of Yorkshire’s finance directors and the contribution that they make to the region’s prosperity.

The Yorkshire Post today launches the Yorkshire Finance Director Awards 2015 in partnership with law firm Squire Patton Boggs, recruitment specialist Sewell Business Group, accountants BDO and insurance brokerage Lockton Companies.

The awards are open to FDs working in limited companies, plcs, private equity businesses and the public sector.

A spokeswoman for the organisers said: “The new breed of FD has adapted to become more outward facing, with strong leadership and communications skills, and a keen strategic outlook with the confidence to influence decisions that drive revenue growth and profitability.

“We will be judging candidates on their all-round commercial and managerial skills, including interpersonal qualities and business acumen, as well as technical accounting and financial skills.”

The awards cover seven categories, including accolades for the brightest young talent and outstanding achievement.

Mark Simpson, partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said: “As lawyers, we work very closely with finance directors on transactions and other projects and we see first-hand the contribution they make; a contribution that has evolved to become more strategic, with FDs taking a lead role in developing the business.

“As companies adapt to changing economic circumstances, we see the refocusing of the FD’s role.

“This now goes beyond day-to day financial responsibilities, and involves the identification of growth opportunities, with mergers and acquisitions firmly on the business agenda.

“Talented FDs play a key part in a company’s success and we believe it is not only important to recognise their achievements, but also the depth of financial expertise in our region.”

Cliff Sewell, chief executive of Sewell Business Group, said: “As a founder sponsor of the awards 14 years ago, we can see a new sense of energy and excitement within the sector after difficult economic times.

“There is now a positive and upbeat message coming from everyone we speak to in the business world, and the last 12 months have proved successful for many companies in our region.

“FDs have shown great resilience and an ability to adapt and are now seeing the fruits of their labour; as judges, we have a difficult task ahead.”

Paul Davies, partner and head of audit at BDO in Yorkshire, said: “Top-performing FDs share one important characteristic, and that is an ability to adapt to changing conditions.

“As businesses enter a phase of growth, FDs have a new challenge, they have to shift towards investment in people, technology and new markets to accelerate growth and increase margins.”

Mark Evans, partner and head of office for Lockton Companies in Leeds, said: “This is the first time that Lockton has sponsored this event and we have been hugely impressed with the level of financial resilience all of the nominated FDs are building into their organisations. Managing a company’s total cost of risk is an integral feature of a strong balance sheet.”

The categories

Best Finance Director of Ltd company (up to £35m)

Best Finance Director of Ltd company (£35m-plus)

Best Finance Director of a Plc

Best Finance Director of a Private Equity Company

Young Finance Director of the Year (up to 40 years of age)

Best Finance Director - Public Sector

Outstanding Achievement Award

To enter or nominate, please visit www.fdawards.co.uk/yorkshirenominations.html and follow the simple instructions.

For more information please contact Nina Butterfield via email nina.butterfield@fdawards.co.uk or 0113 242 1200.

Past winners include Andy Finneran of R&R Ice Cream, Jane Madeley of Leeds University, Darren Bryant of Card Factory and Tony Quinlan formerly of Drax Group plc.