LDC hosted its tenth annual Finance Directors’ Forum on 25 May 2017 with LDC’s portfolio company FDs coming together to share insight and experiences on the issues affecting financial decision makers of UK’s mid-sized businesses.
Over the course of the day, led by LDC’s Finance Team and Value Enhancement Group, the main challenges facing those working in FD roles were addressed - notably the UK economy, Brexit and the rising threat of cyber attacks.
Headline speaker Sheila Dean, CEO of LDC-backed Equiom shared her thoughts on running an international business and the important role of a finance director when it comes to the evolution of a company. She was joined on stage by her FD Jeremy Evans, who gave a first-hand account of funding a business through a buy-and-build strategy and the challenges that arise, especially operating both at home and overseas.
At the forefront of the agenda was the country’s departure from the European Union, with Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at LDC-backed Capital Economics noting that the overall picture for the economy is still looking relatively solid.
He commented, “Brexit will be full of challenges as well opportunities – but these range from customs charges to visas, so FDs need a laser focus on what could have a practical impact or provide a real opportunity for their business.”
The recent spate of cyber attacks was a key talking point, with the emerging threat of ransomware and the importance of online security being acknowledged as one of the greatest threats to finance functions. Alasdair Redmond from IT specialists Intuitus, reaffirmed the need for robust preventative measures, citing it as integral to protecting the assets and intellectual property that keep mid-sized firms operational.
But what was clear, is that the scale and pace of change in recent years - across politics, international relations, technology and business - have combined to create new challenges and a volatile environment for finance functions. The resilience of boards and business plans is being tested like never before.
Whilst events can be hard to predict and prevent, what’s important is responsiveness and, above all else, relationships with banks, advisors and investors. This is what equips firms to navigate more testing times and builds market-leading businesses with lasting value.