Thursday, March 27, 2014

Considerations Blog has moved home . . . .


Dear Blogerati . . .

You might have noticed a distinct lack of activity on this blog over the past few months.

Rumours of my demise have been exaggerated. I haven’t died or given up sharing my musings on Finance, Control, Performance, Risk et al.

However, I have moved home for the blog to an easier place for me (and hopefully for you) to share my ramblings . . .

You can find them all (including all these posts) at

If you’d like to keep in touch, please follow me on this new page and subscribe to my monthly updates.

Thanks for reading!

Best Wishes


Friday, August 16, 2013

What is "World Class" Finance?

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”    

Driving business performance is the top agenda item for all areas of the business. It is never simple as the twin goals of efficiency and effectiveness require a delicate balance. Efficiency without effectiveness results in a process which is doing the wrong things at high speed and high productivity!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Big Data and the CFO


"Rugby is a game played by gentlemen with odd shaped balls" - Anon . . . .

The Big Data wave

BIG DATA is all the rage with every company jumping on the bandwagon to claim they have a 'solution' for big data (hmm . . .).

Every survey or report we read seems to bang on about the enormous quantity and exponential growth of the data the world is generating. Data is flooding ever more powerful servers and storage devices from websites, search engines, social networks, photo sites, Youtube, smartphone apps, voice, documents, loyalty cards, cloud based software services, internet-aware devices (refrigerators and cars for example) and more sophisticated enterprise business systems. We are told that this year stored data in the world will reach 1.2 zettabytes (that's quite a lot apparently!). It will be 8 zettabytes by 2015. For an infographic that illustrates the sheer rate of growth take a look here . . .  Executives are telling researchers and survey firms that big data and business analytics are the most important technology innovations they need to grasp. So, yes, it is pretty important!

Challenges in Big Data

Big Data and the CFO - Part deux


In Part I of this post I talked about the growth rate of the Big Data wave and analysed the challenges and struggles that practitioners are experiencing in the big data world. You can read Part I here . . .

The CFO and Big Data

Whilst it is important to consider the data analytics opportunities for consumer buying behaviour, the CFO on the road to World Class Finance should consider that it is not the size of your data that matters, rather it is what you do with it and even more importantly, your focus on the 'odd-shaped' data. By ‘odd-shaped data’ I refer to data that describes unusual and unexpected events that occur within what we believe to be standard processes. 'Odd-Shaped' data is the unusual stuff, the knotty realities described in a data trail that paints the picture of where processes and activities don't go according to plan. This is the data that helps us understand what is really going on and how to simplify an standardise; to reduce cost and improve effectiveness and quality. I develop this theme below.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dallas hosts 2013 ISACA NACACS Conference - IS, Audit, Risk & Control


Last week saw hundreds of IS, Risk, Control and Audit professionals descend on the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas, just two short blocks from the grassy knoll where JFK was assassinated in a different time.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Driving Process Excellence in Shared Services


The range of available cost efficiency benchmarks are as wide for organisations using a Shared Services model as for those that do not.  There is a major focus on performance measures and continuous improvement, but these have still not delivered the goods. We need an effective approach and experiences for driving process performance gains through understanding the nature of exceptions in business, recognising them in the continuous improvement cycle and using smart analytics to manage the Key Exception Indicators.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shared Services Leaders share Best Practices

I was fortunate to be invited to speak last week at the European Summit for Leaders in Shared Services. Speakers included Shared Services leaders from organisations including Siemens, Coca Cola Hellenic, BP, Robert McBride, COLT Services, Rolls Royce, Shell, Hertz, Balfour Beatty and Novartis. It was an excellent 2 day event in central London and about 80 delegates joined for a genuinely interactive and collaborative forum.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What to expect from 2013. Letter to the C-Suite


Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2013 and good luck with the resolutions, although mine typically die a nasty death in the second week of January when reality hits.

This year however I have resolved to get fit enough for some serious heli-skiing in northern Canada at the start of February. The thought of skiing 20,000 vertical feet or 6,000 vertical metres DAILY in the mountainous back country has stiffened my determination and so far, so good. Of course, if you never hear from me again, I am probably entombed on a snowy peak somewhere . . .

On a broader note, the business and finance community has entered 2013 on a more optimistic note than in previous years. The big economic fears of 2012 have largely been avoided, some at the last minute. Western governments remain heavily indebted, and will remain so until inflation starts to erode it. Big companies, where business models remain relevant, are sitting on large piles of cash. The BRICS continue to strengthen. China overtook Europe in the market for automobile sales. Investment and technology innovation seems to have re-started with Silicon Valley awash with new companies and office accommodation prices rising.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top 5 Favourite Posts of 2012


As I emerge from post festive season recovery and face the new year, it is interesting to review what have been the most read, and therefore apparently the most interesting, topics in this blog during 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making a drama out of an accounting crisis!


I am very pleased to welcome a guest blog post today from Irina Predescu. Irina graduated from London School of Economics last year and has since immersed herself in the world of business risk, financial control, finance processes and compliance. She is too young to remember the events described below first time around . . . . .

Making a drama out of a (accounting) crisis!

This December saw the anniversary of the Enron scandal. 11 years after the company’s collapse was a key catalyst for the SOX legislation, some might think Enron is a thing of the past. Recently however, it struck me to see how this topic still resonates with today’s wider audience, not so much via the Wall Street Journal or Fortune articles, but through the means of entertainment.