[00:00:00] Andrew: Hi everyone. And welcome to this rather special live stream or strengthen the numbers with a generation CFO boot camp. Read excited to catch up with some of the speakers and hear how it went to. Because ultimately, this is what our profession is all about is actually sharing with each other. What’s working, what’s coming up, what’s new and where we can drive towards a better future for all of us where we’re doing more of the right things more often.
[00:00:53] So I’d like to welcome Chris Argent, Crystal and Andi Lonnen as well. Welcome to the show folks.
[00:01:01] Chris: Thank you, Andy. Great to be here and appreciate you inviting us on your special podcast.
[00:01:09] Andrew: Yeah. I thank you. So some of our audience will be familiar with some of you maybe too much familiar with you, Chris, and in some cases, but would you mind maybe folks just giving just a quick 10, 15, second intro into your backgrounds and then we’ll look at firing with the questions. So Chris, have you come to first?
[00:01:25] Chris: Oh, okay. Okay. You just told me that everybody knew who I was anyway, but
[00:01:31] Andrew: Now you despise what a five seconds, which is good. We’ll keep going.
[00:01:35] Chris: Yes. I’m founder of generation CFO. The host of the generation CFO boot camp, which is a educational event, try and have accounting and finance professional professionals learn about all the latest things to learn.
[00:01:51] Andrew: awesome. Hey, thanks. Thanks Chris. Crystal coming to you now. Quick
[00:01:56] Crystal: Yeah. So I’m one of the directors at first intuition trained accountants. I’ve been training accountants for around 18 years. And more recently I’ve been focusing around our digital and our leadership academy. So that whole post education, in terms of once you’re qualified that space.
[00:02:17] Andrew: awesome. Thanks him. Crystal and ID come to you.
[00:02:20] Andi: So I’m Dylan from finance training academy of finance business partner academy queer finance professionals to help support them become world-class value. Adding that finds business partners through various methods, training programs, courses our own annual conference, BP bootcamp and our flagship FEP members club.
[00:02:40] I am an accountant myself the experience to feel finance director level.
[00:02:45] Andrew: Hey, thanks. Thanks Mel folks for those introductions, I look again really excited to have you all with us here and for our audience. Some of you tonight. If you’ve got any questions, just please put them into the chat boxes and we’ll do our best to get to them during the conversation. And if not, we will definitely follow up with you afterwards.
[00:03:01] I can definitely commit to that. We always do. So folks I suppose in terms of look awesome that you’re able to give up your days and invest that in creating this boot comfort today. And I know that there’s some sessions tomorrow as well, but in terms of today maybe Chris, I’d love to get you used to maybe a recap on some of the key takeaways you got from the day, and then we’ll engage in a broader conversation.
[00:03:22] Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So I kicked off the day with at a session around how the rise of the digital finance function is happening and leadership can help get on board with this. And I framed it as this internal startup because I think a lot of people get quite excited about being in a startup.
[00:03:42] In fact, In under 35 in the accounting profession actually want to be their own boss. So frame, framing it as a startup, I think might be quite motivating to them and they might help to retain them as well before they leave to set up their FinTech businesses or accounting businesses. But that was obviously, that was my session.
[00:04:03] But I just loved the feedback that I got from it. And one particular comment was. This explosive. And I I, I’m not particularly, so he gets driven,
but it’s lovely when someone says something like that, because you know resonating and a lot of the conversations that I’ve been having. Basically for many years have fell on fairly deaf ears in accounting and finance. So now I feel things are changing. So that was a particular highlight for me. The other couple of other sessions Rakesh and Johnny was talking about automation, but you really broke it down and was saying, Hey, look, you’ve read the headlines about RPA.
[00:04:41] You’ve got very excited about, what it can do and. And I, and all the rest of it back, actually, a lot of the benefit is, and these microaggressions almost, and how going small and scaling is the right approach. And then there was a few people comments.
[00:04:57] There was a really good session on psychological security actually and psychological safety. And how it’s relevant in a kind of changing environment. And I think it resonated both because there’s change to happen in five accounts, but also because we’ve been through a pandemic and people have had to change and flex and their relationship with their bosses and the teams have changed over that period.
[00:05:20] But the buzzwords and I think for Andy and crystal as well, it seems to be super powers. It’s like everyone focusing on their super powers. And in that session, it was the secret power was awareness and reflection. And to make sure that, you were building trust in your team so that people felt challenge you and Woody rhinos finance transformation lead at the post office at the moment I worked with them, but John Lewis, no, he said he’d love someone to come to him and say, you’re not going to like this, but.
[00:05:54] And I’d rather have that kind of conversation, then he would just sit there and say nothing and leave or something like that. Yeah, some really interesting conversations, very broad conversations. And I had a good one with Andy and crystal, but maybe they can talk about that one.
[00:06:09] Andrew: I was thinking that’s a great segue because like, when you talk about things like psychological safety or a high
[00:06:15] hyper automation the internal startup and digital finance, these are things we’ve not even covered. I think in our training later on in our early careers must be very daunting for people in our profession now, and then out to talk as superpowers.
[00:06:30] So maybe crystal, if we come to you and maybe crystal told me to you first the superpowers, what are they about?
[00:06:37] Crystal: it was really great to join conversation around looking at the skills that are needed for a finance professional in today’s modern world. And we did talk around that need for super power. I’ll let Andy talk a little bit more about in a moment, but I think what I took from the session was that there is a real.
[00:06:58] Neat for and some really fundamental important skills they are needed. And there was an interrelationship between technical training, technical skills, business skills, and also digital skills and the importance of focusing on those. I think what came out of the polls really gave us insight to just how important those digital and business skills are to transport you from. The point of being a qualified caption. But Andy, I’ll let you.
[00:07:31] Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You have what you think.
[00:07:34] Andi: Absolutely. Yeah, I was then they’d say in terms of some fantastic things, crystal was talking about just that these pills are starting to be part of the qualification now, which is really exciting and apprenticeships, which was, I didn’t really know. So it’s great to hear that it’s now starting from grassroots level.
[00:07:51] Obviously we prefer a higher level where people are like, oh my gosh, how do I cope with this changing world? How did we get. Do we get business partnering skills and so on, but it referring to the superpower, we were talking about that quite a lot. And talking about knowing your unique brilliance, your unique strengths and work with those not everyone is born to be a business partner or a data analyst or things like that.
[00:08:15] So know what you love, know what you’re good at work with that you’ve got a more fulfilling career doing it and you’re bound to add more value. If it’s something that you’re. Naturally gifted at but you can develop, this is something else we talked about. You can develop the skillsets that are needed as well.
[00:08:31] And no one should be daunted by that.
[00:08:34] Andrew: Yeah, that day. It’s interesting. You just reminded me actually, like sometimes it’s just that I trust in you. When there’s all of this chaos going on around, it’s like sometimes you know what? Maybe sometimes it’s just
the baby, take a look at ourselves and say, okay, what are my strengths? Who am I in?
[00:08:50] And what’s going to excite me the most about this journey because there’s so many options now. Like when you look at all these different areas associated with finance, I Chris, I’m amazed, you were able to fit all of this stuff into one day of a bootcamp that lower Andre got probably got more tomorrow, but how did you fit it all into one day?
[00:09:05] Yeah, seriously.
[00:09:07] Chris: Yeah, there’s a second day. Now how do I fit it all in? So basically, I. The people and they tell me, what they want and boys are questions, like where do I start? And yeah, after a while you get a sense of what people actually want to hear from you. And it was a bit, the boot camp, to be honest with you.
[00:09:31] At first, I was a bit worried that it was gonna fail. Like it was a. Yeah. Talking to old ways of working and finance transformation from 10 years ago, 15 years ago. And everyone just wants to automate with technology and, but actually there’s a whole different conversation happening now, which isn’t linked to. Peas and those big systems, it’s almost like these, this ecosystem of apps that are out there now, whether it’s a Microsoft environment or whether it’s, your expenses platform, there’s all this other stuff out there now, frankly, people can understand and implement quickly a solution. There’s rigor and they’re very well trained.
[00:10:16] And it’s that sort of stuff that people want to know about. And sometimes, as an organizer you don’t want to be too much on the tools and the sort of sales pitch or a demo. You want people to understand the problems that you’re trying to solve with this stuff. But we all from people that they do want to know, what’s the best tool and,
[00:10:33] Andrew: Yeah.
[00:10:34] Chris: Power.
[00:10:34] I actually, the rights tool for me versus Tableau or something, or to be coding or doing something else. And it’s getting into that sort of detail. And that’s what the boot camp trying to do, where we have obviously the thought leadership summit, which is a. But we just pack it all in by, creating a very long list, talking to bright people, seeing who wants to get on board.
[00:10:59] We are a community at our heart I met Andy somewhere on that journey. And the first intuition guys and you know when you meet good people and when you meet a modern accountant or someone who’s thinking maybe a little bit different about these things.
[00:11:16] Andrew: good cause good. Cause we do exist these modern accountants. We plenty of them listening to this podcast. In fact, actually I’m really impressed. People are actually tuning in and staying with us because I’ve got these YouTube analytics firing up on the live stream. So that’s great. It also it’s not bad for a first attempt.
[00:11:31] People were actually continuing to watch this, so Thanks. Yeah, I really appreciate it. But actually though, and the serious points we’ve already said, like you started with the strides though with what our strengths are, as we navigate through this, I also like what you said there, Christopher, about problem solving as no problems we’re trying to solve.
[00:11:49] And then the idea of community, there are communities out there like generation CFO, S I T strengthened the numbers to work. Andy and crystal are driving it. It’s very much community led. And we’ve got these modern accountants. So I suppose Kristen, if I come to you. How do we reflect on all of that?
[00:12:06] Is there a process or something we can follow to reflect and imagine this forward and get the most out of what’s there available
[00:12:13] Crystal: think so with my very much a kind of training and shouldn’t hats on, I think there’s been some fantastic sessions, some really good learning and discussion that’s taking place today. The numerous sessions and that there were lots of seeds planted, but where do you take it from now? Hearing from.
[00:12:35] Yeah. How’d you still remember it tomorrow next week? How do you do something with it? I think I love the flexibility of online conferences and online sessions and bootcamp, but I think back to, but I used to go to face-to-face conferences where I would get on a train on the way home often with a few of my colleagues and we would unpack the day we were taught. That was great. Or how would we use that and would almost like the art, what happens in a day as to who was going to take a little bit further, who was going to do a bit of research and the things that someone might take away and actually do take actions from, or if I was on my own, I’d sit on my headphones in and employee think through everything that had happens across the day, what I’d heard.
[00:13:22] Fitted with my role with my organization and where I might look to reset my phone out and looking at things in a bit more detailed that had sparked my interest. How do we make sure that we still do that? If you’re not timeout? I think that’s really important. I think we need to be more purposeful.
[00:13:42] So purposely thinking about finding space, being bolder with making the time to absorb, think back home, reflect on what you’ve taken in today. So I’d say I do a few things. Firstly, make some time for thinking this evening, half an hour. That’s what your blessing to today process. What you’ve thought about, make some time for discussion someone on one of the sessions.
[00:14:09] Is there someone in your community, or is there someone in your workspace that you can talk to? And thirdly, set yourself some actions, even if that’s just one thing that you’re going to do within the next five days, that’s going to. Take an idea forward a seed that you heard some discussion that you listened to it you’re going to take away at night further action from it.
[00:14:31] So yeah, I reflect back.
[00:14:35] Chris: I’m starting to feel I was in the mindfulness session and to relax ah, take, can I have that glass of wine?
[00:14:44] Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. It’s yeah, but I suppose is that recency though? Chris is it’s look, that’s what I think our, we feel after such a long day, it’s yeah I just need to switch on to something else. But actually I think Crystal’s got some good points. It’s that’s maybe our natural inclination, but if we can even take a few minutes just to go through those steps, I was just thinking like that it might make it easier in the following.
[00:15:06] Cause I’m thinking Andy comments, you next and saying that’s on the way home or that’s the evening ahead, particularly in this virtual environment. What about when we start off our laptops in the morning or go on the phones for the emails or whatever, how do we make sure where we’re taking this information forward into the future days from tomorrow and using it and applying it without getting distracted, distracted and sucked into 3000
[00:15:29] emails that have been in our inbox
[00:15:30] because we missed one day.
[00:15:32] Andi: crazy, isn’t it? Uh, it is so true. I think the important thing is, is, as crystal was saying is to do something now, this Eve at least first thing
tomorrow morning, stay in the zone of that inspiration and all those ideas that are whizzing around. Right now and capture them somehow, whether you’re someone who writes, uh, just get your phone and do an audio message to yourself or video it, do whatever works So you’re capturing the key things from your day. Uh, Because of course we’re not traveling home on a train right now, but it reminded me a crystal just then of when I was on a program. And, uh, it was in Paris every time. Could you imagine in Paris do a program? And I go, let’s see. Uh, Patisserie the next morning after doing this intense program and I’d sit tight.
[00:16:15] That’s my way of doing things. Just anything that came into my head, anything that came into my head, I wouldn’t review my notes. That point it was what was spinning around my head because what’s around your head is probably the thing you want to implement. Uh, You’ll have some quick wins. Do them just start when you get back to the office.
[00:16:33] A thousand emails. You all going to have deadlines coming out your ears, just start and do what Andy God is doing right now. Take imperfect action. Just do it, give it a go. But yeah, exactly. blame the conference for doing something new. You know, You’ve taken some time out your company’s given you time out your company.
[00:16:52] Okay, so you might’ve paid for this. So make it count, you know, just blame the conference. Do you want to go to conference and do nothing with the information afterwards? Or do you want to do something even if it’s not perfect? I think it’s probably some of the best advice I ever had as an accountant take imperfect action because we can be so perfectionist in nature.
[00:17:13] So just start somewhere and get going. Take imperfect actions, see where it takes.
[00:17:20] Andrew: It’s funny that I love that expression take imperfect action because I think we just put too much pressure on trying it to be right and perfect all the time. I’m actually trying to struggle here trying to actually get the Q and a up and running here. And that’s just okay you know what, it’s not perfect, but we will get back to any questions for me.
[00:17:36] And we will, but it just may not be live because I’ve not been able to figure out the technology, I may be maybe a Martin account, but not completely Marvin book getting there.
[00:17:44] Chris: That you are a broadcaster. You are the accounting broadcaster
[00:17:47] Andrew: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
[00:17:49] Yeah. Yeah. We’re a great team around us. As it takes a team to make the dream work, but I suppose
[00:17:53] Chris: Can I add, can I put a thing to address? And this is a bit of a plug for what Andy does actually. As well as creating that, that, that list for yourself or those actions self tonight, I also think, trying to find like-minded people and having that sort of.
[00:18:09] Andrew: Community.
[00:18:10] Chris: important.
[00:18:10] And there’s a reason why we all like to work with each other, we’re like minded. And I think if there are people, within the boot camp, the Andy’s running or the academy where you know that they’re all great finance business partners together, go and be those people and go and be your, that’s how harnessing.
[00:18:30] All right. That’s acknowledging that’s what you want to do and you want to do well. And we’re going to hang out with all those people. And the great thing about that is that the chances are, they’re really positive about that. Learning. They’re really positive about trying to be a good business partner, and it really helps, you stay in the game and stay motivated because.
[00:18:48] It’s all well and good writing that list. But as you say, come tomorrow, you can’t rely on motivation. You’ve got to rely on people around you to get you through it because your motivation will weigh in a month, then comes in again.
[00:19:02] Andrew: That’s a great, that’s a great short to medium term even long-term actually started because I think those relationships and networks grow with each other as the age, people in that network or a community grows. Grows, and the value of it grows, but I’ll also your point is right. Maybe that glass of wine or that really nice pastry in the patisserie or coffee or whatever.
[00:19:23] It’s like maybe set up some small rewards as well. You just reminded me there, Andy, about pastor. I remember the time when you do that. Also like I
would, I used to go on these trips and you’d cover so much like business trips and you’d meet so many people. And there was so much like so many problems to be solved as like, how’d you decompress them?
[00:19:39] Look, the easy thing would have just been just to put it off till you got back to the office the following after the weekend, but it’s actually I don’t. I reward myself with my reward actually was an iced coffee. I know that’s really rock and roll, I had to drive when I got off the plane, so I couldn’t read it and I wanted to sleep as well to some degree and coffee actually relaxes me.
[00:20:00] It has the adverse effect tends to put me to sleep that
[00:20:02] Chris: Did you have a biscuit on the side that, that might attempt you over?
[00:20:06] Andrew: That’s the secret sauce. Yeah. That would’ve been that gun, but no, it’s nice to have these little rewards as well to say look, yeah, I did take the time to be mindful decompressed. Cause you know that the little bit of extra energy alive, we hit the ground the next time going forward.
[00:20:20] And I loved that point about peer networks and so on. We all drive each other on excellent points and again, we’re not frightened people away. So that’s great. Thanks folks. Thanks for still watching in and shooting on this live stream. It’s you go? You guys blow me away. I’m an ass, so thank you.
[00:20:34] But I put it more down to the great the great speakers we have here, as opposed to my broadcasting of it. So with that in mind, I want to, get the most out of you in terms of wrapping this off. I look for so many practice thoughts crystal, like if folks were to take away, one or two key things from this whole bootcamp, I may purposeful action, imperfect action going forward.
[00:20:53] Crystal: I just say I’m getting a poster of that. Take imperfect action.
[00:20:57] Andrew: and weeks.
[00:20:58] Crystal: I’m going to clock up time. So I use that as a phrase over the next week, I’ll reference you about it. I think it was so what should you do? I think taking away from it is understanding the importance of the interrelationship between these three areas of skills business leadership, interpersonal skills, digital skills, and technical skills, and thinking about where am I in my career at the moment?
[00:21:23] Where was it that I’m going to elevate to? Where is it I’m progressing to? Where’s my goal over the next five years. What development do I need in order to achieve that? So think about your role and your own personal goals in a short term. Absolutely govern, reflect, think back, have a station with people, tell them what you’ve learnt and set yourself some actions and self accountable to taking some of those things away from today and putting them into practice.
[00:21:52] Andrew: Thank you, crystal Lee. Great. I actually love making notes about these things, and again, we will actually produce some show notes with this as well transcribed. So folks, if you do want to get the details on this and you’re trying to. The note-taking, you can always check this out on our website.
[00:22:07] We will have the show notes there to some such great advice. I’m struggling to keep up, but at all trying to do my best to keep notes, but thank you. Thanks crystal for that. And Andy coming to you, I definitely think folks should head to that. Patisserie in Paris, you mentioned we should definitely Def I need to get the details of location off of you.
[00:22:24] Sounds like a great thing to do. But outside of that, what else do people do going for.
[00:22:30] Andi: Gosh, I just, I’m just so hungry for pastry now. I think two things that’s on your superpower. And secondly, I’m going to use a quote to help with this because I think this helps with everything because to do something different takes courage, it does take courage even to do a full step differently, to connect with someone in your organization or to do a day.
[00:22:52] So something like that is outside your comfort zone. And there’s a lovely quote from a chap called Neale Donald Walsch. He says, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. And I love that. So the message is do something different and the pain that you will get that is just so exciting and it motivates you to do more and more to implement more and more from what you’ve learned from today.
[00:23:19] Andrew: Awesome. I do. Thank you. Thank you for that. And then you quote, note for the collection as well. We’ll have to dig that one out. So thanks. Thanks a mil for that ID. I, Chris look texted putting on the boot camp. And I suppose the first recommendation is make day two. But I started to go into day two.
[00:23:36] I’m actually, maybe that’d be a good segue to, maybe to talk about day two for a little bit as well, what, why should folks do next?
[00:23:43] Chris: Yeah. And so day two we are kicking off with, and we do have a mindfulness session in there. We wanna make it a little bit different. But yeah, there’s, there’s more learning across the whole digital finance function. What I tend to call the digital finance function. We’ve got fantastic session.
[00:24:03] The, with an accounting institutions, data scientist sounds like an oxymoron, right? But it’s not. We are actually Jen CFO, the HCCA and the CA and Zed to create a digital transformation paper. I’m very excited about this research. And we’re talking a little bit about that tomorrow. With the data scientist who sues on that paper and, we have more learning across that piece of all of these kind of areas that come under the, what I call the digital finance function.
[00:24:38] But my parting message is, goes back actually to my message this morning. And as much as I’m an advocate of technology, as much as I, that technology can change. We do in a very positive way. This is not a technology shift, so don’t start there and then, try not to start there.
[00:25:03] It’s very easy to download tools, like I said, and start playing stuff. And this transformation that we’re talking about as a profession thing, value to our businesses, whatever that means. And however we measure that is a town. Bill’s shift and it’s people that make a party, right? Like-minded people that are going to make good party.
[00:25:27] So focus on the talent and the skills and the training and that we need to close. And if the technology is there for as a solution and grow, but don’t start with the technical.
[00:25:40] Andrew: Yeah, look what fantastic parting thoughts to have. So folks look at again, really appreciate you making the time after really long days the audience as well between crystal, Andy and Chris, you guys, awesome stuff, continuing to give even into the evenings as well.
[00:25:55] So hope you have a well-deserved glass of wine, whatever it is, pastry. If you can get one on day you know
[00:26:02] Chris: And we will always remember to keep our strength and the number.
[00:26:07] Andrew: Yeah, that’s great. Let’s wrap up. Thanks for the rest of the tables today, and until next time, take care of yourselves and let’s keep on building our strength and the numbers