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Real Business : Issue 1 2009
automotive Avoid graduate gridlock the business is relying on us to manage cash flows, reduce costs and identify key areas of opportunity analisa diluca asa top tips from automotive industry cfo andrew warton learn absolutely everything you can about how the business runs. back your opinions up with facts: “that’s a key thing when moving into any sort of management role.” communicate with a wide variety of people from across the company on a daily basis. that way you’ll keep tabs on performance levels across the business. make sure you have time available for strategic planning, so you can be proactive rather than reactive. period. His dedication and efforts were recently recognised when Volvo Group’s CFO commented that the new reporting structure and ability for management to understand the financial results and business performance could be among the best out of the Volvo Group. Similar multi-branding challenges exist in India, one of the fastest growing vehicle markets in the world, where major global manufacturers are setting up alongside domestic producers to capture the market. Vehicle sales in India are expected to double from now to 2010 and production is also set to increase. The drive for lower production costs is driving production outsourcing and much of this is expected to go to India. Another CPA who is excelling in the automotive industry, but at a vastly different end of the spectrum, is 28-year-old Andrew Warton who is financial controller at a medium-sized Australian dealership, Bryan Byrt, which sells new and used domestic vehicles. The corporate sector may baulk at someone so young taking on a financial controller’s position, but Andrew was able to road test the role with a four-year handover from the incumbent financial controller. He worked in each facet of the business before taking on the role, a A$220 million turnover and 155 staff. “I’d say accountants, especially in a commercial environment, have the chance to become more like business advisers with a focus on both the short-term and the big picture,” Andrew says. “For example, I’m looking at new ways we can bring customers into our environment, to show them what we can offer and, by giving them value, hopefully keep them forever.” REAL BUSINESS ISSUE 1, 2009 Analisa DiLuca ASA, profit analysis manager for Ford Motor Company of Australia, believes CPAs will continue to be sought after during the current economic downturn. “There will always be a place for accounting and finance graduates in the automotive industry because it recognises the need for fresh and new ideas,” she says. Analisa’s first position with Ford was as parts and accessories pricing analyst. Over the following four years she took on three more analyst roles before being promoted to her current position. “The three-year graduate program at Ford was great,” she says. “As well as getting hands-on job experience in multiple areas of the business we were also provided with extensive training.” “We were also given the opportunity to work in the vehicle assembly plant for two weeks so we could really understand the core area of our business.” Analisa’s meteoric rise through the ranks at Ford, one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, demonstrates the potential career paths the automotive industry can offer CPAs. Analisa initially sought a career in the industry because of her father’s influence. “As my dad has always worked in the automotive industry I grew up hearing about cars and automotive manufacturing – so I was particularly keen to follow suit,” she says. The dynamic nature of the industry, however, was what attracted Andrew. “There’s always a new model coming out and new technology being developed,” he says. “It’s exciting. It’s always changing, whether all guns are blazing or things aren’t looking so good.” Andrew says it’s a mixture of self-belief and enthusiasm that catapulted him from graduate level to becoming a financial controller in a relatively short period of time. He explains that medium-sized dealerships or franchises typically have five to 10 people working in accounting and clerical capacities, while smaller dealerships tend to have one accountant or financial controller. “Titles to look out for include: accountant and accountant / IT system administrator – where you may also oversee the IT aspects of the dealership; financial controller, of course; and then CFO at the really big dealers,” Andrew says. l NET GAINS Ford Motor Company http://www.ford.com/ Ford Australia http://www.ford.com.au/ Volvo Group http://www.volvo.com/ Bryan Byrt http://www.bryanbyrt.com.au/ Global Auto Industry http://www.globalautoindustry.com/ Global Auto Industry – Business Exchange report http://bx.businessweek.com/global-auto-industry/ Automotive industry – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry 11 industry profile
Issue 2 2009
Issue 3 2008