Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion

 

The Modern Slavery Act 2015: Steps to compliance

Modern Slavery Act: Implications for your business

How confident are you in knowing the ins and outs of your suppliers’ working practices? Confident enough to stake your reputation on them?

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What's more important than growth and customer relationships?

Modern Slavery Act 2015

Move over business growth and customer relationships; if slavery isn’t on your boardroom agenda you’re not only missing a trick, but you could be falling foul of the law. The Modern Slavery Act 2015, which aims to stamp out modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking in the supply chain, has serious implications for vast swathes of business. Around 12,000 organisations in the UK across a variety of sectors are predicted to be affected. But with change comes opportunity – the opportunity to beef up best practice among procurement partners and tick a very large customer box in the process.

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Harnessing supplier insight to spot crises and opportunities

Harnessing supplier insight

If like the rest of the world, you’ve been keeping a close eye on the movement in the market over the past week or so, from the sudden slump, to the rapid recovery, you may have found yourself asking the same questions being asked by nervous boards the world over. Why did no-one see it coming?

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On the front foot: Procurement’s response to economic fears

On the front foot: Procurement's response to economic fears

For many businesses around the world, it has become suddenly apparent how close the connections between European / US and Asian economies are - with the suddenly tumultuous Chinese economy having a global impact. An impact that will no doubt continue to swing wildly over the coming weeks, even months.

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Procurement's perceptual problems no more?

Influence, commercial sense and excellence

The procurement community has long bemoaned its internal reputation as a relatively un-strategic cost centre. While that reputation has been, at least sometimes, well deserved, the promise of an innovative procurement programme offers benefits well beyond purchasing discounts. 

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Influence, commercial sense and commercial excellence

Influence, commercial sense and excellence

In the increasingly virtual corporation, it's the support functions that knit everything together. Well - the strategic elements of them anyway. The process-driven parts have either been outsourced, or are so securely locked away in their silos that they have other, bigger problems to solve.

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Looking for commercial excellence in all the wrong places

Guy-New.jpg

What drives excellence? Is it the relentless drive for customer delight? Is it the fanaticism of engineering to “get it right”? Is it the single-minded pursuit of maximum profitability?

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The evolution of the audit market - live discussion

Procurement can help CFOs navigate audit market

Every five years companies in the FTSE350 will have to rotate their auditing partner, and it is interesting for me to see how that will help drive the timing of when the remaining companies that haven’t tendered, choose to tender and who they choose to include in the tender process.

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Can procurement help CFOs navigate the statutory audit market?

Procurement can help CFOs navigate audit market

It is perhaps unsurprising that more and more FTSE350 companies will start to shake up their auditing process with the new regulations now in place by the Competition and Markets Authority. However, the tender market is still at a teenage stage. While experience is bringing greater sophistication of approach, both in how the auditors are bidding and how they are being hired; companies still have some work to do in recognising what true value looks like and how to drive maximum value from their auditors.

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Proxima offers further commentary around audit tendering debate

Guy Strafford: Proxima discuss the audit market

Continuing our campaign to support FTSE companies tender their statutory audit, Proxima have again been asked by the Financial Times for commentary around the topic of mandatory audit rotation.

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5 top tips for maximising your next audit tender

Guy New

Just one year ago the Competition and Markets Authority proposed reforms that mandate all FTSE350 companies tender their audit services every ten years; and in April 2014, this reform was also passed by the European Parliament. The new rules also require Public Interest Entities (PIEs) to change auditor every 20 years.

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A fresh pair of eyes

Guy Strafford: A fresh pair of eyes

The traditional way to explain the role of an auditor is that they’re a watchdog, not a bloodhound. They keep an eye on what’s happening, sit up when something looks suspicious and occasionally bark when they see something dodgy. The job is explicitly not turning over every rock they can find to test ethics or legality - no bloodhounds chasing the bad guys through the woods here.

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Financial Times: Proxima weighs in on new audit market reforms

Guy Strafford: Audit market reforms

There was a strong feeling of anticipation and suspense throughout the Proxima office in London on Wednesday, as we all waited excitedly for Financial Times City Correspondent Harriet Agnew’s article - discussing the shake-up to the audit tender process - to be published. A few weeks earlier, Richard James (Category Director for Professional and Financial Services) had been interviewed by Harriet, and asked to weigh in on what impact the changes to the UK audit tender process are having on the wider market.

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Infographic: Accountants warn on audit market reforms

Guy Strafford - Proxima

When analysing the current FTSE 350’s use of audit services, our research highlights the impact of the Competition and Markets Authority’s reform on the UK audit market – finding that there is more happening under the surface than meets the eye...

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3 reasons big data is important to procurement

Guy Strafford: Big data's impact on procurement

Following my previous post, exploring the importance of social media for procurement, this post aims to address the second topic covered in the Financial Times piece - the impact of ‘big data’ on supplier management practices, and why it is essential that this concept is not ignored.

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The Internet of Things - challenging human behaviour

Guy Strafford - The Internet of Things

The progress made by humanity in how we communicate has changed the very nature of how we behave – from the advent of the electric telegraph in the 1700s, to the internet being publicly introduced in the 1980s, to Wi-Fi in 1991.

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3 reasons social media is important to procurement

Guy Strafford - Proxima

I recently read an interesting article in the Financial Times that discussed how social media and big data are being used to help solve supply chain issues and improve supplier management practices at a number of large companies.

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The Challenger manifest: fortune favours the brave

Guy Strafford

Over the centuries, the development of thought and constant challenge of the world around us has enabled mankind to achieve some amazing breakthroughs, which have transformed our lives:

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Canary song

Canary song

The headline on a capital markets report looking at bond yields was worrying: “Canary in the coalmine”. Canaries were useful to miners because, although small, they sing sweetly until they get a whiff of gas and then they abruptly stop singing. The miners say a short prayer for the little bird, then get out as fast as they can.

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The next step to supplier success

Guy-New

At Proxima, an essential part of our work is making sure our finger is on the pulse of opinion and sentiment in our clients’ markets. It means that our advice and strategic development work is contextualised correctly within the environments in which our clients operate, which in turn enables us to find the best solutions to their challenges.

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How to uncover your hidden treasures within indirect procurement

Proxima blog; Guy Strafford

Alsbridge have written a whitepaper outlining why business leaders should look to managed service providers to drive out hidden treasures within their indirect spend.

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The beautiful game

The beautiful game

There’s something a little forced about coming up with a World Cup analogy for business and procurement in light of the quadrennial football festival in Brazil. But – you’ve read this far, so it would be remiss not to give it a go.

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Publishing: a story of supply management

Guy-New

Twenty years ago the web promised a relentless march of disintermediation. For publishers, often seen as the classic middle-man, the prospect was scary. But all has not been lost…

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No cost is an island

Guy-New

It’s striking how many CFOs count leadership of a cost saving programme as a major part of their role. There’s nothing wrong with making procurement more efficient and streamlining the cost base, of course. But the best finance functions treat it as part of their commercial contribution, not a traditional bit of hard-nosed accounting.

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Proxima clients nominated for a Procurement Leaders Award

Guy-New

Since our inception, Proxima has set out to change the way procurement is both thought of and conducted at organizations around the world. Today we have more proof that we are successfully moving in that direction.

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Sales and procurement – a corporate paradox

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

Sales and procurement are two ends of the same activity. So why, in non-core procurement, are they like the prince and the pauper separated at birth?

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Showing procurement's true value

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

I hope your 2014 has got off to a positive start – it seems there is an air of positivity covering global economies – with green shoots well and truly growing at pace in US and UK markets.

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Getting your extended enterprise working as one. Harmonising your suppliers and your business objectives

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

The modern business now consists of a small central core conducting a large virtual orchestra of suppliers. 

The maestro leading this symphony is procurement.

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Outsourcing is NOT offshoring – why procurement outsourcing needs an alternative approach

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

The procurement brand has suffered greatly over recent times, at a time when the business need for it has grown. A history of under-performance, detachment from the real business needs and an unhealthy obsession with savings have all contributed to a widespread reputational problem, that ultimately undermines the credibility of the function.

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The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 2

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

Our previous post discussed three of the seven remedies that the competition commission proposed as part of their ruling around statutory audit rotation. In this post, part two of this mini-series, Proxima's Richard James and Guy Strafford will look at the remaining four remedies and some key questions finance / procurement teams and audit committees should be asking when tendering this high profile service.

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The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 1

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

The verdict is in, judgement is pronounced.

The Competition Commission (CC) has delivered its final ruling on the market for statutory audit services in the UK, amending its remedies from the provisional ruling announced a couple of months back (here are our comments from July) and the reaction from the industry is generally positive.

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One year on: an even more compelling case for smarter cost management

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

A year ago we researched the spend habits of the FTSE350. The findings of the research shocked many business leaders – especially those who thought cutting headcount was the best way to deliver sustainable cost savings. 12 months on, we ran the research again - but this time on a global scale. The results are even more interesting than before.

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Corporate virtualization - 100 years in the making

Guy-New

2013 marks 100 years since Henry Ford was faced with the dilemma of producing his latest invention, the Model T Ford, on a large scale - in an efficient, low cost way. His answer was to invent the first mass production assembly line. In doing so, Henry Ford revolutionized the world of manufacturing. Over the past 100 years, following this monumental milestone, business has changed beyond recognition.

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The verdict: procurement is toxic

Proxima image; Guy Strafford

WOW. Thank you all for your responses to last month'’s blog around the toxicity of procurement. If you only take a cursory glance at the blog, you will see that asking the question ‘'is the word procurement toxic?’' has elicited a strong and wide ranging response.

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Is the word 'procurement' toxic?

Guy-New

I am not the first to observe that '‘procurement'’ has a branding and reputational problem.  The word means different things to different people.  I can think of several instances where, if I compare the service provided by '‘procurement'’ in two separate businesses, you could be excused for thinking they are operating in totally different areas of business management.

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The 'virtual' Dutch company: an infographic

Proxima blog

The modern Dutch corporation has externalized its cost base. Our latest research seeks to understand the extent to which this has occurred across the Dutch AEX25, and explores the implications for Dutch business leaders. Below is a brief visual overview of the research (an infographic), highlighting some of the most arresting findings and important trends.

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Audit tendering may not turn out as hoped without some market change

Guy-New

The FRC and Competition Commission are causing change in the audit market, and when combined with pressure from the corporate governance teams of the largest investors, there is now real impetus for change.

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Procurement not following rules for success, time for a rethink

Guy-New

Every now and then a piece of fresh thinking comes out that upsets the apple cart.  There’'s a great one in April’'s edition of Harvard Business Review.  It references a study conducted by Deloitte, which identifies what the rules are followed by companies that are truly successful over a long period of time. The research reveals surprising results. And here is why...

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The impact of ‘corporate virtualization’ on your supply chain

Guy-New

The FT recently ran a piece called “"Businesses unaware of supply chain risk" which followed on from the Bangladesh garment factory fire (killing over 600 people, spurring a fierce public reaction). And just this week, days after the FT article was published, news of a Cambodian shoe factory collapsing, killing at least two people, hit our headlines. These catastrophic events come just weeks after the horse-meat scandal and within memory of the Japanese earthquake disrupting car supply chains.

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How much ‘horse-meat’ is in your supply chain?

Guy-New

With so much activity going on outside the direct control of an organization, it is in hindsight no surprise that there has been a reduction in the level of transparency of spending behaviors, and an increase in potential risks (both reputational and financial).

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The troublesome threesome

Guy-New

March is budget month in the UK for the Government. And, unusually, it also is in the US. It is also usually the pivotal point in the year - as it becomes clearer whether the budget is going to be met or if it is time for remedial action. This March is shaping up to be no exception.

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Who is the customer of the audit?

Guy-New

There are some strict rules about the scope and execution of statutory audit. Things undoubtedly got tougher for the profession in the wake of the Enron scandal that brought down its auditor, Andersen. But interestingly, while there are now stricter rules around auditor independence from management and limits on non-audit services an auditor can provide, many of the issues that scarred audit then still linger.

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Audit: above suspicion

Guy-New

The world of audit is in a state of flux. For a start, the long-standing grumbles about the Big Four (Deloitte, E&Y, KPMG and PwC) dominance in the world of corporate auditing has resulted in debates about regulatory reform domestically and in Europe. Even the Competition Commission is getting in on the act.

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Making sense of stagnation

Guy-New

January, traditionally long and cumbersome, seems to have raced by this year and to exhibit classic stagnation characteristics. The best evidence of stagnation is conflicting economic indicators. If the economy is flat, this is not actually because nothing changes. The average is a net of things improving and things deteriorating, which in this instance are cancelling each other out.

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Proactive protection amid uncertain times

Guy-New

There are nearly 4,000,000 economic statistics produced in the US every year, according to Nate Silver in his excellent book ‘The Signal and the Noise’. Choosing the one’s which give the most accurate or best insight is always a challenge.

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Fiscal cliff, growth in EU, executive pay – welcome to 2013

Guy-New

Happy New Year! We at Proxima hope that 2013 has begun productively and happily. There has certainly been no time to ease into the year gently - 2013 definitely has picked up seamlessly from where 2012 left off which, in our eyes, means continued opportunities and increased potential for enhancing value for our clients.

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Construction industry: is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Guy-New

The UK Construction sector has blamed the "‘very wet weather"’ for a poor performing end to 2012 / start to 2013 - which saw a sharp decline in new business across the sector.

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Are executive salaries becoming less relevant to a business?

Guy-New

I was and contemplating a potential reblossoming of the shareholder spring, particularly with regards to director's’ remuneration.

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2012 in review and predictions for 2013

Guy-New

As we begin to think ahead to the prospects for 2013, let'’s first reflect on what has been an extraordinary year.

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Business has changed. Has yours?

Guy-New

We recently hosted a webinar - discussing the findings of our latest research - The £10 billion profit opportunity - and their implications on business today. This post recaps the discussion and poses some thought prompters for what looks to be another turbulent 12 months ahead.

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