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FDs challenged to cut back company reports

26 Mar 08

Company accounts are too long, few people understand them, and it's up to finance directors to fix them

by Victoria Masterson

Company accounts are far too long, few people understand them – and it’s up to finance directors to fix them.

This was the challenge to FDs from Ian Marchant, chief executive of energy utility Scottish & Southern Energy, at the Bank of Scotland Finance Director of the Year awards.

Marchant, keynote speaker at the awards lunch, asked the FDs: “Does anyone read your accounts? Do you understand your own accounts? We are missing the point – reports and accounts are far too long now.”

He had two pieces of advice for finance directors: first, “reclaim your accounts, from the academics and auditors” and secondly: “measure what is important – there is more to life than profit.”

If FDs cannot do this, Marchant warned his audience in February, their position as a key partner for the chief executive is in doubt.

Duncan Skinner of independent oil services group Production Services Network was named as corporate FD of the year; Lynn Brown, director of financial services with Glasgow City Council received the award in the Public Sector/Not for Profit category; and Brian Aird, of energy analysts Wood Mackenzie, was named Young Finance Director of the Year.

The FD of the Year Awards are sponsored by the Bank of Scotland and organised by ASA International. CA Magazine is media sponsor for the awards (see the March issue for more details of the winners).

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