As key indicators of market growth point skywards and business confidence increases, boards are looking to align every aspect of their business to the wider growth agenda. But, for many of these companies, not all of their internal functions are able to shift their sights from defence to offence at the same time (or at all, in some cases). This creates a disconnect between the board’s ambition and the operational reality – a common source of frustration for many senior executives.
Proxima secures $40m in new contracts and sees significant growth in procurement consultancy services
LONDON, UK and CHICAGO, IL – February 23, 2015 – Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, announced today that the company has kicked off the year by securing $40 million in new contracts and has increased its spend under management by a further $1.5 billion. Additionally, the company is turning its attention to growing its procurement consultancy services in response to demand from clients who are continuing to recognize the contributory value of procurement operations to corporate profitability and overall organizational health.
It’s always fashionable to muse on the parlous state of capitalism. Seven years ago, it was all broken: financial services run wild had all-but-destroyed our way of life. Four years ago, the Occupy neo-hippies were camping out to find something – anything – as an alternative to the broken promises of the market. A year-and-a-half ago? Thomas Piketty’s algorithmic tear-down of the balance between capital and economic growth.
Can procurement help CFOs navigate the statutory 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.
Getting your procurement function in shape for 2015
Traditionally the aim for many of us at the beginning of the year is to get fitter; but this doesn’t just mean getting a beach body. Businesses the world over are looking to get into shape for the New Year too. Toning-up processes, cutting slack and beefing-up innovation are priorities that are making their way to the top of the agenda for many leaders for the first quarter of 2015. However, a word of caution, getting your business in shape doesn’t necessarily mean getting “lean”. There are better ways to create fitter, faster, functions for the year ahead.
3 reasons procurement needs to focus on winning hearts and minds
The notion of “winning hearts and minds” is remarkably recent. The phrase was first used by Vernon Bartlett, a journalist and MP who was reporting on British efforts in the Malayan Emergency in 1954. (It was also a cornerstone of President Johnson’s campaign in Vietnam and an evolution of George Bush’s Iraqi adventure. As a military tactic, it’s never been that successful…)
With new regulations requiring businesses to tender their audit more frequently this offers companies a chance to revisit a key supplier relationship; enabling them to run a tender that will encourage closer relationships, promote best practices and drive additional value.
This year is all about risk. We’re barely into February and the ruble’s collapse looks permanent, the Swiss franc has soared, oil continues its terminal decline and there’s so much conflicting data from the world’s major economies that most strategic planners’ heads are spinning. (And that’s nothing compared to the market analysts…)
Getting your processes right is one of the axioms of the industrial (and now digital) economy. People don’t scale well – and if you come up with a great way of working, you need to codify it. If it’s reliant on people, it’s vulnerable. If you have good process, people are (to quote former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld) “fungible”.
Are companies long-term relationships with their auditors a thing of the past? The Financial Times discusses our research into the UK audit market, and why many more companies are choosing to shop around when it comes to buying audit services.
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.
Many of you may already be in the midst of planning your procurement function for the year ahead, and deciding how your team will be shaped in 2016. What will they achieve? What challenges will they face? And what will be expected of them?
Professional Services: what are we paying for, exactly?
As supply management evolves into a strategic business function, one of the key roles procurement teams often play is to challenge stakeholders to justify what they are paying for. In “traditional” cases this is relatively easy: you can count the number of laptops you need to buy, you can benchmark the wholesale price of utilities, you can understand the need to use a recruitment agency to find new or replacement staff.
Spend Matters: Proxima gets us thinking about procurement in 2014 and 2015
Peter Smith from Spend Matters, discusses Proxima's predictions for procurement in 2015, and adds his own thoughts as to why 2015 may be the year that more budget holders attempt to "do it themselves", reducing the involvement of procurement.
Proxima's Richard James discusses why regulatory change has shaken up the sleepy world of audit and why this could lead to a key opportunity for companies to reassess their relationships with auditors.
Director of Finance speak to Proxima's Richard James about the new rules around statutory audit rotation; and why this could be a valuable opportunity for companies to revisit a key supplier relationship.
Spend Matters: Buying audit services - advice from an expert
Following their previous coverage of our research into the UK audit market, Spend Matters discuss how procurement can get involved in the complex business of purchasing audit services, and offer advice from our expert Richard James.
Procurement Leaders: Reforms shake up audit market
Procurement Leaders discuss Proxima's research into the UK audit market. The research highlights that although over half of the FTSE350 companies have been using the same auditor for a decade or more; proposed reforms by the Competition and Markets Authority are encouraging more firms to tender.
Procurement Insights: Buyers Meeting Point Weekly Update
Jon Hansen (Procurement Insights) and Kelly Barner (Buyers Meeting Point) discuss our recent webinar around the procurement team of the future, offering their own thoughts on the discussion, and the issues that it raises for the wider procurement community.
Supply Management: Top companies changing auditor more often
Proxima's Richard James talks to Supply Management about why the top UK companies are switching auditor more frequently; and why research shows that the number of companies tendering their audit looks set to rise dramatically.
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.
accountingWEB: One in four FTSE 350 companies switch auditor
Companies change many things regularly, but are usually reluctant to change their auditor. Proxima's research, featured in accountingWEB, highlights a growing trend of FTSE 350 companies tendering their audit.
Audit services: Four reasons why it pays to be a first mover
During the original dot-com boom, the idea of first mover advantage gained massive currency. Staking out a digital domain before anyone else showed up was considered the best way to guarantee success – gaining mindshare, customers, and above all, experience and personnel that would be denied your rivals.
Financial Times: Proxima weighs in on new 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.
Buyers Meeting Point: Webinar notes - the procurement team of the future
Buyers Meeting Point reviewed our latest webinar (the procurement team of the future) and offered some additional thoughts on the discussion, in which they discuss the complex relationship between procurement and innovation.
Commitment Matters: Are organizations incapable of running successful trading relationships?
IACCM's Tim Cummins joined Proxima for a live panel discussion around the procurement team of the future. The discussion inspired Tim to go on to discuss whether or not organizations are really capable of running successful trading relationships.
Tender touches for better audits - five recommendations
Following new regulations and a deep desire to restore lost public faith in business, audit is making a conceptual comeback. The European Commission’s new rules on mandatory tendering for audit every ten years (along with increased scrutiny; demands for transparency in the audit process; and controls on what other work your auditor can do) make the process of choosing and contracting and auditor incredibly important.
Infographic: Accountants warn on audit market reforms
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...
“The fish rots from the head”. Strong words from a recent FT article rounding up a series of accounting issues besetting large companies in the UK. Following a discussion between Proxima and respected commentator Stefan Stern; Stern argues that boards need to open their eyes to all activities in their business (from top to bottom) – but without getting involved in day-to-day tinkering.
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.
The Internet of Things - challenging human behaviour
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.
Proxima client IHG nominated for CIPS Supply Management Award
LONDON, UK and CHICAGO, IL – September 4, 2014 – Proxima, a leading international procurement services provider, is pleased to announce that its client, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has been nominated for a 2014 CIPS Supply Management Award in the category of Most Improved Procurement Operation – Step Change. The nomination is in recognition of IHG’s successful transformation of its procurement function across its global operations.
3 reasons social media is important to procurement
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.
Spend Matters: FT highlights supply chain lack of insight and potential crisis
Spend Matters welcomes a post by Proxima's Chris Gayner summarizing the results of a recent study that portended a supply chain crisis in the UK; driven by procurement's lack of visibility into their supplier network and poor supplier relationship management.
In 1596 Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice - a play in which a young Venetian merchant, named Antonio, signs an interest-free loan to help his friend, Bassanio, romantically court (with lots of money) Portia, the woman of his dreams. The catch is that if Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock (the financier in this scenario) has the right to take a literal “pound of flesh”.