Ikechukwu "Ike" Anugwom, ACMA, CGMA, relies on people skills as much as on technical skills to fulfil his wide-ranging responsibilities as country financial controller at Solar Turbines Services in Nigeria — no more so than when he collects, analyses, and presents monthly and quarterly financial data.
Solar Turbines, a subsidiary of global equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, services power generation equipment used in the oil and natural gas industry in Nigeria. The data Anugwom needs come from four enterprise resource planning systems within Caterpillar. One system is maintained in Nigeria. The others are in the US and Europe.
To produce reports on time, Anugwom depends on colleagues around the world to input financial details accurately and on deadline. He also has to present the data to a variety of managers with different demands. Upper management wants high-level information for forecasting and planning. Operational users need detailed reports that help with day-to-day decisions.
Here's what works for him in his role — advice that could work for almost any finance professional:
- Rely on teleconferences and occasional trips for needed face time. Regular teleconferences are a good relationship-building alternative to face-to-face meetings for those who aren't in the same location. Anugwom travels to the US and Europe to manage the relationships that ensure the steady flow of data he needs. A calendar tracker helps him keep up with who needs to post what data and when.
- While preparing presentations, anticipate questions. Before he presents results to upper management or operational managers, Anugwom seeks to understand the drivers behind the results. He anticipates questions superiors may ask and prepares answers. He sends information in the report to superiors in advance of his presentation. That way, by the time he presents, everybody understands the data, nobody is surprised by them, and the discussion can focus on strategies and problem-solving.