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CMA | BDO FD of the Year Awards

30th July 2019

The winner of the Central South Mid Market FD of the Year award is…Joe Jeffers, Group CFO of Peach Technologies! 

We are thrilled to announce Joe as the winner of the second Central South Mid Market FD of the Year award and equally pleased at the success of the second year of this event. Following the response to the first awards ceremony and Gala Dinner in 2018, we were taken aback by the increase in nominations, excitement, and momentum this year. 

MDs, CEOs, and advisors from around the Solent region sent in their nominations, and it fell to CMA Recruitment Group and BDO to review the many amazing people put forward and painstakingly shortlist them to just ten fantastic Financial Directors. 

Once our top ten was finalised, we met our successful nominees for interviews, before again whittling down the list from ten to just four, with the winner being announced at the gala dinner. 

The winner was, of course, Joe Jeffers. Nominated by his peers for the second year running, his handling of the acquisition of Taylor Made by Peach Technologies’ was cited as one of the many reasons he was chosen as our ultimate winner. 

Here, Joe speaks about the award, his journey, and also offers some great advice to those just starting. 

Congratulations Joe! How did you feel to be announced as Central South Mid Markets FD of the year 2019?

Surprised and delighted! Given the calibre of the other finalists and what they had achieved – I thought it would be a very tough call. I am proud of this award and would like to give a massive thanks to CMA and BDO for choosing me.     

You had to attend an interview as part of the process. How was that? 

We had an hour-long session with Richard Dibden from CMA and Jane Mulholland from BDO – with myself and my CEO Darren Scott-Healey (who put the initial nomination forward). The session went well and I pretty much knew what to expect as I was part of the process in the previous year (got to the top 10). The questions were varied and wide-ranging covering all elements of the business be that stakeholder management to financial reporting to what are my out of work interests.

You mentioned that the FD role has evolved from that of a traditional bean counter, with a more dynamic approach required. What are your predictions for how FD roles (and similar) are going to look in, say, ten years? 

Wow, ten years seems like a long way off but I would expect the FD/CFO role to be one of partnering the CEO and wider board, embracing and understanding new technologies to enhance business processes and being more of a generalist business person. So not really that different to what many FDs are doing today. A stand-out FD would need to do all of that but add something extra, be that a great network of contacts, industry specialism to help guide growth or simply an inspiring leader.

What has your career journey looked like?

I started out in banking in London, took a large pay reduction on a move to Chichester to train as an accountant (I made that move for love, not money!) and then into Corporate Finance (buy-side due diligence and then lead advisory). My first move to being a CFO was with a Private Equity backed buy and build and since then I have covered all manner of interesting things; cost reduction strategies, working capital optimisation, turnaround, acquisitions, company sales, financial modelling, bank covenant negotiations, overseeing multiple redundancies, international travel (US subsidiary) and setting up a HR system to name a few. All great fun!

What career advice would you give to your younger self? 

Consider the impact but do not worry about matters which are completely out of your control.

What advice would you give to those just starting out in finance?

The same advice I would give to anyone starting out in any industry – be punctual, dress smartly, treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, work hard, trust your gut instinct, if you don’t know the answer – just say so and don’t try and ‘wing it’, show empathy but most importantly, communicate well. If someone can manage all of that, they are going to do OK! I have been lucky in the fact that I have had several great mentors along the way (and still do) – so stick close to people you can learn positive things from.

Congratulations again to Joe, a deserved winner of the FD of the Year accolade, and a fantastic advocate for the importance of the mid-market to the regional economy, as well as for the opportunities that careers in this industry can provide. 

If you’re looking for your start in this industry or seeking your next step in your finance career, take a look at our current opportunities.