#084: Stay relevant and get the most out of your Finance Tools, Data, & CPD

with Simon Harrison

Our Guest Mentors:

Simon Harrison ACMA CGMA, operations director at DeeperthanBlue Analytics, has had over twenty years of experience within senior commercial finance roles, including experience of reporting to Billionaire business owners as well as in making significant improvements to business performance in a wide range of areas from Financial process, to business processes, leveraging management accounting and analytics including SQL, data visualisations, scorecards, IBM Business Analytics, Tableau, PowerBI.

Simon is currently based out of Sheffield, England and holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant Designation.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“[On going from trainee accountant to head of the subsidiary by 24 years of age] Really been in that right place right time and using the skills I had to make a big difference to what I were doing … I got promoted 3 times in one year and the person I worked for ended up working for me within the same year and that was an interesting challenge.” [03:56]

 “[On an important opportunity for Finance& IT] … people don’t get the most out of what can be achieved with the tools they have.” [06:18]            

“[On how to improve the value people get from tools] I think it’s about communicating what’s possible.” [08:07]

“[On why automation will not kill outsourcing completely] A lot of finance people really do have an inquisitive mind, it just needs to be channelled into the right direction to say, look, this can be done, so why don’t you go find out how to do it, you don’t know what you don’t know.” [15:19]

“[Best bit of advice Simon has received] Never Stop Learning.” [26:54]

“[Best bit of advice Simon has received] People tend to prioritise urgent things that are not important ahead of things that are very important but not urgent and I think CPD is the latter it’s very important but never urgent you can always defer it a week and as a result you get more and more distractions come in that are urgent and you never find time do your CPD and you’ve just got to break that cycle, book your own time in to focus on your own development.” [30:14]

(Other resources and how to connect with Simon below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • The surprising skillset Finance professionals don’t quite yet have and the simple practical things we can do to improve this.
  • The issue with educational silos impacting our ability to pick up the necessary skills to get hired and create value in our organisations.
  • The main areas to be open minded on what IT can teach us on.
  • We discuss why when it comes to data Finance needs to be more an art than a science.
  • Why SQL is important and why we both still love Excel.
  • At the end an important challenge we lay down for our audience.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[02:44] – Simon shares his career journey and how in a sort time he went from trainee accountant to head of finance for the subsidiary within a relatively short period of time.

[05:54] – Simon explains where he sees an opportunity between IT and Finance to add more value.

[06:32] – Why we’re not getting the most value out of the tools we have in Finance.

[08:37] – The surprising skillset Finance professionals don’t quite have yet and the simple practical things we can do to improve this.

[11:26] – The forum that’s solving major problems that’s most exciting Simon at the moment.

[13:24] – The issue with educational silos impacting our ability to pick up the necessary skills to get hired and create value in our organisations.

[16:44] – The main areas to be open minded on what IT can teach us on.

[19:44] – We discuss why when it comes to data Finance needs to be more an art than a science.

[20:32] – Simon shares the main challenges his clients are facing and gives an example of how the weather impacts the demand for over a million SKUs e.g. soccer boots across the year.

[20:54] – Simon gives advice on how finance professionals can remain relevant in the face of offshoring.

[25:39] – Why learning SQL (Structured Query Language) skills are important to have but why both of us still love Excel.

[26:49] – The best bit of advice he’s ever received to remain relevant in the pace change.

[28:09] – The resources she recommends our listeners check out.

[29:49] – How best to connect with Simon.

[30:14] – Parting advice on how to remain relevant over the next 12 months and the difference between Urgent & Important.

[31:29] – An important challenge we lay down for our audience.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with today’s guest:

 

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Credit: Edited by Andrew Codd



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