Facteon People: Product Marketing to People Empowerment
Meet Anni. Powered by optimism, she brings her authentic self to Facteon each day.
CFO Series Editor, Richard McBride, recently had the opportunity to interview Tony Horton, newly appointed Head of Finance at Facteon on the challenges and opportunities on commencing the role in Stage 4 lock down during Covid-19.
Starting in 1983 with Alex Harvey Industries* gave me a clear view that manufacturing was not only a challenging industry to work in, but also a rewarding one as it requires a diverse skillset in order to succeed.
Whilst finance is often expected to be historic-based, staying on top of the ever-changing landscape using the results of the past allows finance to provide expertise to help businesses evolve.
Before joining Facteon, I was with Hella New Zealand where I became familiar with the use of modern technologies and the adoption of the industry’s best practice to help a New Zealand company thrive on the world stage.
I have always found the elegant use of technology and systems, in all areas of a business, energising and interesting, so the opportunity at Facteon appealed as much to my skillset as it did to my personal interests. It was just the new challenge I was looking for.
* Alex Harvey Industries (AHI) manufactured plastics, glass and building products. AHI later merged with Carter Holt Holdings, forming Carter Holt Harvey.
I spent some of March on-site meeting people and while some areas are still a mystery, we’ll get to those in time when things return to normal.
The main priority for me is making sure I quickly understand what drives the business KPIs and what drives revenue and cash. In addition, I’m learning how the business interacts with its client base and how we ensure a secure financial position in the current climate. A big consideration is how we position ourselves to manage the ever-changing business landscape.
My focus right now is ensuring that
that is willing to communicate openly and honestly to ensure business success.
Finance has often been characterised as backward-looking, where the Head of Finance (HOF) spends time crunching the numbers on Excel, analysing why something happened.
Understanding the ‘why’ is important so that we know how to apply that knowledge to the future and steer the business from making similar mistakes.
In addition, the HOF must have absolute integrity,
To really excel, a business must evolve and improve – you’re on a journey; you haven’t arrived at your destination. HOF is a key player in this regard and should understand all parts of the business, how it interacts, where changes will impact positively and negatively, and how decisions will affect the bottom line.
Head of Finance should see it as their responsibility to provide clear answers to the question, what if?
As we innovate and see the business evolve, we need to be able to understand the financial impact any move will have. As HOF, I see this as a key part of my role – to understand the business and then provide suggestions for improvement. Facteon has a definite culture of improvement and innovation and, as part of this, the finance team can provide financial stewardship to ensure these changes make a positive impact to the bottom line as well.
There are three pieces of advice I cannot refrain from sharing:
This piece was originally featured in CFO Magazine. Read the press release on Tony's appointment here.