Partnering with people
Will Cadbury has worked at Kerry Foods since 2000 when he joined the company's graduate training scheme as a graduate accountant. His CIMA qualification set him up for a productive career, culminating in him becoming CFO of Kerry Foods this year.
Finance was not Will's original area of expertise. He initially studied Geography at Oxford University before deciding to pursue a career in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). Having taken out a gap year on completing his degree, he realised that a further qualification in business accounting would be useful, and chose CIMA.
"The CIMA qualification was far and away the best suited to a business-focussed career," says Will. "It taught me far more than pure financial accounting, including how to add value, build on information and use insights to impact the business, balancing technical skills, strategy, analysis and so on with a focus on the importance of people and developing leadership skills. This breadth of study syncs in with the skill set that Kerry Foods regards so highly, which is why so many of our early career team choose the CIMA."
Joining Kerry Foods in 2000, Will embarked on the company's graduate training scheme as a graduate accountant. He spent his first five years based at a production site in the pastry side of the business where he got a cross section of finance expertise. This was followed by other roles including finance manager, operations finance director and business manager of different parts of Kerry Foods’ portfolio, before the opportunity to become the company's CFO arose in early 2016.
"Obviously, there is so much more to being CFO than keeping the company's finances on track," says Will. "I have always believed in supporting talent meaning that, yes our finance teams ask the difficult questions and hold people to account, but at the same time we strive to be a really valued partner because we are at the heart of all decisions. People know that we are a fantastic team of people to go to for valuable advice, guidance or suggestions. That's why it's crucial to build relationships and develop, empower and engage our staff in an environment in which they can thrive."
Fulfilling the vision
As CFO, Will works closely with Kerry Foods' senior leadership team and the CEO, partnering with them and supporting them in the development and delivery of the company's strategies to ensure that when decisions are made, the right resources are in place to deliver.
This partnership model filters down throughout the other finance teams at Kerry, reflecting the company's finance vision which states: 'Together, as a valued influential partner at the heart of our business, we are proud to deliver Kerry Foods' success through our financial insight, energy and passion'.
"We want finance to be at the heart of our business and this means that every person in the company knows who the finance person is to go to for a conversation about what their plans are or what the returns on their investments are going to be, and support them in terms of managing a project to address a cost issue or build up the opportunity for a new product launch," says Will. "Our CGMAs have both the technical skills and the behavioural skills to influence people in our operations, sales, marketing and category teams, by partnering with them, getting to know their day-to-day functions, working with them on business plans, looking at opportunities, challenging assumptions, building up business cases for new products and making recommendations."
Kerry is a CIMA Training and Development accredited Premier Partner and has CGMAs sitting in several areas of the business, including within its central finance functions, commercial finance teams, Strategic Positioning Mergers & Acquisitions team and operations finance teams.
"As a business, we see CIMA as a well-recognised and highly valued qualification, which reflects the emphasis that we ourselves put on growing and developing people," says Will. "We find that someone who is CIMA qualified has a different outlook and access to tools, training and technical knowledge of the standard that we aspire to. As part of the international Kerry Group, having an internationally recognised qualification also makes it easier to transfer people from one part of our business to another, for example from Great Britain to America. It gives people in other parts of the world confidence that they do have the technical knowledge required to be able to perform from day one."