Searching for Sheffield’s most successful Finance Directors

The last five years have been a testing time for UK businesses but, with the right person at the helm, masterful financial management has helped to turn threats into opportunities for some.

Finance Directors (FDs) and other finance leaders of UK businesses will have the chance to demonstrate these qualities by entering the 2014 FDs’ Excellence awards, the top national programme for recognising individual and team excellence among UK Finance Directors.

Marie Cooper, Finance Director of Sheffield-based President Engineering Group, picked up one of the top awards at last year’s ceremony.

Marie, who won the Young FD of the Year award, was quickly identified as a high flier by incoming MD Mark Henley and played a central role in the 2010 MBO and the subsequent acquisition of Bretby Gammatech in November 2012; with profitability growing by more than 20 per cent since.

Research by the FDs’ Excellence Awards (in association with ICAEW) in January 2013 found that nearly half (47%) of UK FDs were planning to expand their teams in 2014, suggesting that UK business is slowly having its confidence restored.*

Now in their tenth year, the awards are held in association with ICAEW, leaders of the accountancy and finance profession, and hosted by Real Business with the support of the CBI and sponsors Drax Executives.

In 2014, the awards will recognise the best-performing FDs in FTSE 100, 250 and Small Quoted companies, as well as the best Young FD, Private Company FD and FD of the Future.

An award will also be made for Inspirational FD of the Year, to recognise the person who has gone beyond their brief to contribute meaningfully to other parts of the business or local community.

Michael Izza, chief executive, ICAEW said:

“A healthy balance sheet is essential for every organisation, no matter what sector their business is in.

“The finance division is one of the integral areas in a company and its success will be driven forward by the insight and commercial sense of the Finance Director.

“Recognising their achievements is essential to understanding how they drive innovation in UK businesses.

“It also encourages up-and-coming finance professionals to go above and beyond and strive for excellence. Success at the FDs’ Excellence Awards is a real benchmark for UK finance professionals.”

Amy Carroll, group editor, Real Business and Real Deals said:

“These awards recognise a group who can often be the unsung heroes of business success.

“Though this success has not come easily over recent years, the difficulties that finance teams have faced have helped push the boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking.

“The essential work that they do will come into its own more than ever as the economy continues to recover and present new opportunities.”

John Cridland, director-general, CBI said:

“Financial Directors have been indispensable in successfully steering their companies through the downturn and, as the economy recovers, they will be helping these firms to go for growth.

“As a supporter of these awards the CBI is proud to celebrate the important role they play in the business community.”

In tandem with the FD awards, the Excellence Awards recognise business banks, accountancy firms (serving large and SME clients), financial software suppliers (to large and small companies), recruitment firms and non-audit advisers. These awards are determined by votes cast by FDs and senior financial decision-makers in our annual FDs’ Satisfaction Survey, which was completed by 1300 finance directors and finance decision-makers in 2013. The survey is now open at and closes on 28 February 2014.

Nominations can be put forward for the Young FD of the Year; Private Company FD of the Year; Inspirational FD of the Year and FD of the Future categories. Nominations close on 28 February 2014.

Nominations for the FTSE FD categories are made based on financial research conducted by data specialists Jordans and independently judged by an academy of experts.

The FDs’ Excellence Awards ceremony takes place on 1 May 2014 at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square.

L-R Michael Izza from ICAEW, Marie Cooper from President Engineering, Mark Stokes from Lloyds Banking Group
Pictured from left are Michael Izza from ICAEW, Marie Cooper from President Engineering, Mark Stokes from Lloyds Banking Group

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