Treasurers: The 'What You Don't Dare Do' People?

May 15, 2014

Thursday morning's plenary sessions at the ACT Annual Conference included a highly entertaining presentation from Guy Browning, Creative Director for Smokehouse. Browning's irreverent tone really engaged the audience, particularly a woman sitting just behind me who was in fits of hysterics throughout!

Rejected themes for the ACT Annual Conference 2014? 

Photo credit: @Cassie_Sale

Browning's entertaining presentation charged the audience to develop new ways of thinking - treasury voodoo - to bring creativity and innovation to the fore within their organisations.

"You can't solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. " - Albert Einstein.

Using this Einstein quote as a jumping off point, Browning enthused that there are lots of good ideas out there and that you should import them from somewhere else if you can - taking ideas from different industries or professions and applying them to your own strategy can be a way to gain a quick win.

"Creativity is thinking new things, innovation is making these them happen," said Browning, who emphasised that in any process it is vital to keep things simple where possible. If things aren't simple, keep innovating until they are.

Guy Browning at the ACT Annual Conference 2014

Photo credit: @Cassie_Sale

Describing the time that a client had challenged him to put his money where his mouth is regarding his philosophy, Browning identified that his two key skills were writing comedy (as the delegates in Glasgow can attest to) and managing creative teams. Using these to think differently he challenged himself to write, direct and produce a feature film! On top of this, he pledged to hold the premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in central London. To his credit, Browning succeeded in his goal.

Browning used the film anecdote to sign off with three key thoughts for the delegates to take away with them:

  1. Give people a challenge and they will rise to it.
  2. Strategic thinking is key and this is something that treasurers are very good at: "If you look at a spreadsheet for long enough, beautiful things will happen!"
  3. When you start innovating, what you think at the outset will be the easiest part of the process will likely turn out to be the most difficult, and vice versa.

So there we have it - anyone for a spot of voodoo?


ACT: Days of Future Past

May 15, 2014

Following a four and a half hour train journey speeding through the very gorgeous and green Great British countryside (SO many lambs!) I arrived at the ACT Annual Conference 2014 in Glasgow in good spirits. Clearly the conference organisers knew this would be the case, as they kept the good times rolling with an opening double bill of plenary speakers that were both entertaining and thought provoking.

I'm not sure I'd have ever described the Right Honourable Alistair Darling M...

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New Lender Promises Fast, Flexible and Accessible Funding for UK SMEs

January 28, 2014

Liquid Finance is new lender in the UK that aims to provide funding for small businesses that take card payments, such as those in the hospitality, service or retail sectors. The company is owned by Midsummer Capital, and partners with iCheque, a regulated e-money issuer.

The Liquid Finance funding model is set up in a way that, from the initial application to cash in the bank, the whole process should take less than 10 days, with no security via personal assets. The company a...

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No Malaise for Malaysian Trade

August 19, 2013

Recently I've been doing a bit of reading around the financial situation in Malaysia. It's an interesting country for many reasons. Geographically you could say that it sits in the heart of Asia Pacific, on the South China Sea close to Singapore and just south of the rapidly growing economy of Vietnam. Its population is growing and is has a Muslim majority, which has some interesting implications for the development of Islamic finance.

In the short-term, however, there are certa...

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Japan Diversifies its Trade in Asia

May 22, 2013
I recently wrote a feature for the 2013 Asia Supplement published by Global Trade Review (GTR), with a specific focus on Japan. The country's manufacturers were particularly hard hit by the huge natural disasters that have hit both Japan and its neighbours in the past few years. In response to the intense pressure on the supply chain caused by such events, Japanese companies have gone out of their way to diversify their supply chain within Asia by setting up bases in a variety of Asian countr...
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Question Time

May 6, 2013

Following the Reflections On The Waterfront gala evening on the Thursday night, delegates at the ACT Annual Conference could be forgiven for being a little worse for wear on the Friday morning for the final few hours of the conference. Fortunately, as well as a hearty brunch and coffee refills available in the exhibition hall, the 'Foresight' focus of this final day offered plenty for delegates to ponder.

The morning culminated with a Question Time session, hosted by broadcast...

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A Blog of Two Halves

May 2, 2013

Today has been a great day at the ACT Annual Conference 2013. Day 2 of the conference is the only full day of the conference programme and exhibition, and for that reason there is an extra buzz around Liverpool's BT Convention Centre as attendees try and get their business done and sessions attended before the Thursday night entertainment.

It has been a great day for me personally too, as I got to meet the legend that is Chris Kamara! If you're not aware of Kammy's work, he wa...

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Back to the Future

May 1, 2013

"So here we are... again" intones Kele Okereke, the lead singer of Bloc Party, as one of the band's biggest hits plays over the PA system in the main plenary room at Liverpool's BT Convention Centre.

Treasurers, bankers, vendors and more are here for the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) Annual Conference 2013. This is the third year in a row that the ACT's annual gathering has been in Liverpool, so perhaps Kele could be forgiven for not sounding overly excited about t...

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A blogpology and a new deal

April 24, 2013
Hello blog fans, 

I'd like to apologise to anyone who has bookmarked this page, eager to read about my latest adventures in treasury, finance and freelance writing... my poor old blog has tended to take a back seat to the paid work projects and, let's be honest here, life in general. The fact this is the first post in over a year is testament to that. Over a year! Not sure what that is in digital years, possibly a couple of lifetimes. Poor show, Poole.

However, hopefully this is all about to ch...
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A Masseuse's Tale and Other Stories

April 18, 2012

My previous blogs from the ACT Annual Conference 2012 have dealt with some of the topics covered in the main sessions or breakout streams. Often, however, you get a better feeling of what's going on from short conversations around the venue and in the exhibition hall with treasurers, bankers, or the HSBC barista.

One such chat that stayed with me was that which I had ...

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