Vol.3: Ian Coldrake, Head of Finance Reporting and Analytics at Marks and Spencer

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Through the JSS+ insight series, we have interviewed leading voices across various sectors to explore pertinent themes, opportunities, and market trends.

For our Senior Finance Leaders’ insights, we harness the knowledge and wealth of expertise in our networks to provide an inside look into the constantly evolving world of work. As finance continues to broaden its reach and remit within organisations, JSS Search is dedicated to leading the conversation on forward-thinking topics to open the door for discussion on what should be at the top of the agenda for successful organisations and finance professionals.

For this segment, we interviewed Ian Coldrake, Head of Finance Reporting and Analytics at Marks & Spencer, and spoke about the top priorities for finance leaders in 2022, sustainable finance, and advice for future finance leaders.

Senior Finance Leaders insights – volume three:

What are the top priorities for Finance Leaders in 2022?

  • Navigating the business through the “cost of living crisis” – managing risks and ops, flexible re-forecasting, hitting the numbers.
  • Building a digital finance future – finance transformation of systems, process and people.
  • Developing business partnering capabilities and centralising finance business processes.
  • Control and Governance – this will always be a priority but even more important in the face of new legislation.
  • Sustainable finance – starting to build carbon budgets, leading on Plan A (sustainability).

What advice do you have for future Finance Leaders?

Learn from everyone. Peers, leaders, direct reports, business partners. It is often people with different styles to your own which provide you with the biggest development leaps. Follow the trends.

Finance in the future will be very different to today. Yes, there will still be the need for accountants who know can apply the “standards” but the role of management accountants and business partners will become very different in the digital future. Get involved in Finance Transformation projects where you can. Learn from non-finance teams (Data and Digital). Take advantage of the vast resources a large organisation can offer.

Are you exploring the use of new financial technology? If so, how do they benefit your business, functions, and operations?

Yes, we are currently reviewing our entire Finance ERP system and all of the associated technologies, including reporting, analytics and forecasting. This will benefit the business through enabling more accurate, flexible and faster business plans, cost savings, real time information to make decisions, and more flexibility and adaptability to future change.

What does “sustainable finance” mean to you?

Making investment decisions based on the environmental, social and governance considerations which will in turn lead to financial improvements in the long term. As opposed to making short term finance decisions which do not consider ESG and will be at a detriment to long term growth and sustainability.