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31


Interview with Richard Steele, fi nance director at Cook Trading.


Words by Glynn Davis


F


inance director roles increasingly involve the performance of balancing acts as the position moves away from its old fashioned fi nancial steward’s status to one that includes strategic business decision- making.


Richard Steele, FD at Cook Trading, says: “It’s an ever more


challenging and varied role. FDs are not seen as classic number crunchers anymore but are more business partners. We’re seeing a lot more FDs and CFOs becoming the number two in businesses and then moving onto the number one CEO job.” Part of this shift is being driven by the unique position of FDs


– sitting in a spot where they represent the company’s link to stakeholders, banks and investors. “They can give them assurances and can help create a balance of keeping everybody happy – both inside and outside the company,” he suggests. Thankfully for Steele he says the company is family owned so


is not under the same pressures as listed businesses that have to deliver on quarterly targets. Instead the decision making can be based upon longer term perspectives. “There is a balance between short term and long term but we


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