We continue our Boddingtons People theme here this week – catching up with Alex Baker, Head of Finance at the company
Hi Alex – after some 6 months into the job – welcome to Boddingtons! how have you come to be at the company?
Growing up within a family manufacturing business gave me experience at shop floor level and so as an accountant my natural path and inclination was to work within the manufacturing sector.
My career to date also includes roles that specialise in information technology (IT). However, for over ten years now I have been working in senior financial roles for medium sized manufacturing businesses.
The appeal for me in moving to Boddingtons was the opportunity to enhance my career growth.
There was a requirement for someone like me to support and challenge the senior management team from a financial viewpoint. I am qualified as a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). I am therefore focussed on the business needs from an accounting as well as statutory reporting need.
What kinds of work are you currently doing Alex?
I see the finance team as a support function to other areas of the business. As well as ensuring the bills are paid on time, a good finance team will provide accurate, timely information to support decision making across all areas of the business.
Good information systems are vital for this to be achieved and so I have been working on improving our current reporting capabilities.
Any particular projects can we speak of?
To improve the reporting requirements and allow us to benefit from the latest features I am working closely with the IT department on upgrading the current ERP system. This will open up further capabilities and will improve efficiencies, allowing the systems to support Boddingtons growth plans.
We are also working hard to improve forecasting, stock management and various other efficiencies. This work will help reduce any ‘spikes’ in manufacturing requirements and will also assist in helping predict the needs of our fulltime workforce.
What do you enjoy most about what you do at Boddingtons?
I thrive on identifying and implementing improvements to processes that make a colleague’s job function easier and therefore – ultimately – make them more productive.
I am now part of a Lean manufacturing training initiative at Boddingtons which has been revelatory in its applied lessons.
For example, although Kaizen techniques are common within manufacturing processes, these can also easily be applied to office and accounting procedures. This insight alone has been worth my time spent to date as part of the new Lean team.
I am fortunate to work with such a variety of people who are all passionate about what they do – helping ensure the success of Boddingtons. Our new manufacturing plant and Class 7 Clean Room are now fully operational and I am excited by the prospects of what we will achieve.
What trends and techniques in accountancy are likely to come more to the fore for manufacturers such as Boddingtons in the coming months and years?
As with the internet and social media we have a growing expectation for information to be provided instantly. Accounting is no exception.
I therefore expect to see automated improvements that will allow data to be provided instantly. Financial systems will integrate with other technology and so, in time for example, we could soon see robots counting stock. Wholesale financial integration into manufacturing will eventually provide a very different view of business to the one we have now.
Any other points – future challenges for business?
None of us can escape the overall context of Brexit at this point in time.
However, in terms of regulatory requirements Boddingtons has a number of plans in place. Whatever the outcome, we are ready.