The Need for Business Transformation in Light of the Scottish Independence Vote

Robert Baker is partner and Head of Interim Division at Cedar, a specialist financial recruitment consultancy focused on sourcing senior financial talent across commercial organisations.

We are now in the final day of the Scottish referendum as both sides in the debate are working tirelessly, so too are the finance leaders of British businesses. I am sure that formulating new strategies and contingency plans are top of the agenda in preparation for the ‘Yes / No’ result on Thursday 18th September.

In recent weeks CFOs stated that the economy was no longer an obstacle for achieving corporate growth and that they had moved past their concerns about the global recession. Companies were gearing up to driving growth through investments in infrastructure, acquisitions and talent with plans and strategies in place to do so.

However, with the latest opinion polls released some of Britain’s most senior business leaders have now warned that if Scotland votes for independence it would have serious economic consequences. In a survey of FTSE 100 chairmen carried out exclusively for The Sunday Telegraph, nearly 80% said the break-up of the union would have a significant negative economic effect on both the UK and an independent Scotland.

Three financial institutions including The Royal Bank of Scotland have confirmed they will relocate their registered headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence this week. This sentiment is supported by some of Britain’s biggest corporations and retailers such as John Lewis, Asda, Asos and Next openly stating they would be forced to pass costs on by increasing prices north of the border if Scotland implements a different currency.

Scottish independence would have an impact on businesses and increase the need for transformation projects such as organisational restructures, systems / shares services migrations, business process outsourcing along with a greater level of corporate finance activity. Aside from the independence vote, increased economic buoyancy in the market has also led to renewed investment in transformation projects that were put on hold throughout the downturn.

The volatility of business and economic climates and the speed at which change can happen means that many organisations cannot predict with confidence the nature or degree of impact placed on resources needed in order to manage the immediate and long-term future. This stark change has brought about a buoyant market for interim transformation professionals.

Regardless of the final decision of Thursday’s referendum, there will be significant change which will affect every business across all industry sectors in Britain in some way. With finance at the forefront of strategy, organisations will look to their finance function for answers and solutions. But in these uncertain times and as the full impact and repercussions of the referendum are not yet fully known – is your current finance team prepared to predict the changes and solutions needed for your business to comply effectively?

Cedar’s interim division is highly experienced in recruiting senior finance career interims for a range a transformation projects. If you would like consultative advice on the appointment of interim professionals across your business please contact Robert Baker on 0203 002 8046.

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