Two key figures in the world of business were honoured last week (29 April) by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman, John Lewis Partnership and Jean-Marc Huët, CFO, Unilever were awarded Honorary Fellowships by CIMA in recognition of their contribution to the field of management accounting.
Malcolm Furber, FCMA, CGMA, and President of CIMA, who presented the awards at the event at the Barbican, said:
It is with great pleasure that we at CIMA are have awarded both Sir Charles Mayfield and Jean Marc Huët with Honorary Fellowships. Their contribution to the field of management accounting is immense, and they set the goal high for CIMA members across the world with their achievements in their exemplary careers.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman, John Lewis said:
I am honoured and delighted to receive this Fellowship. CIMA is integral in helping people and businesses to succeed in careers and competitiveness and in ensuring the sustainability of business success
CIMA bestows honorary CIMA fellowships according to a very strict criteria and the numbers who are granted this status is limited to just 20. So the occasion was a great honour.
At the event guests heard Charles Tilley, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive of CIMA speak on the ‘Role of the CFO on the Modern Board’ and a dynamic panel discussion was then held.
The role of the chief financial officer (CFO) on the board of directors has developed significantly in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. No longer just the financial gatekeeper, the modern CFO must have a strategic outlook and be able to look beyond the financials.
Charles Tilley said:
There is no doubt that the role of the modern board has become more challenging. Not only have boards come under greater scrutiny following the global financial crisis, but they are faced with greater complexity and uncertainty. Company leaders highlight the impact of the digital world as an equally turbulent factor as the difficult economic conditions. The explosion of data is raising a host of governance questions around the ownership and responsible use of data and there is the disruptive impact of new technology.
Through its work with company leaders CIMA understands that investors and other stakeholders are expecting more from organisations and the boards that oversee them. They are calling for greater transparency about the overall performance of the business and how it achieves this.
Charles Tilley concluded:
Those who govern companies need to work hard to achieve and retain trust. It is no longer enough for boards to just tick the corporate governance boxes, but instead a complete company oversight is required and they need to demonstrate rigorous ethical behaviour, setting the right reputational tone from the top.
In light of this, CIMA, is currently are investigating how a better understanding of the business model can help boards govern effectively. The business model that provides a basis for this has an emphasis on value creation, considering risks and opportunities within the context of the external environment.
At the heart of this is the CFO who is the guardian of the integrity and rigour of all management information, both financial and non-financial, from inside and outside the organisations, across different time frames. The CFO in today’s world needs to influence better decisions by communicating insight that meets the board’s needs and is simple and transparent.