This article was first published in the June 2019 Ireland edition of Accounting and Business magazine.

Magnet Networks provides telecoms, data connectivity and IT support services to homes, businesses and enterprise customers in Ireland and internationally. As CFO, I am a key decision-maker on the company’s executive team. I am involved in analysing and completing acquisitions, business budgeting and forecasting, and product and price planning. I also look after legal, procurement and stores.

Stakeholders increasingly expect finance professionals to add value above and beyond the day job. Financial reporting is still key, but in-depth analysis of business performance and, most importantly, recommendations for changes and improvements are also necessary.

One of the big challenges has been maintaining margins in a more competitive marketplace. There is much more pressure on pricing in the telecoms market, so it’s a fine line between being competitive and remaining profitable. There is also mounting pressure on salary costs.

I’m looking forward to being involved in the international expansion of the business. The company is growing in markets outside of Europe and I have to ensure we stay one step ahead in terms of tax, accounting and compliance planning.

I recently completed a diploma in law, which was an area outside my comfort zone but very rewarding. The more strings you have to your bow, the more valuable you will be as a trusted adviser in the workplace. Longer-term, my goal is to become involved in the ownership of a business directly, whether through equity participation in an existing business or starting something up.

One of the ways we try to connect with our community is to give something back. We helped buy and fit out a sensory room at a nearby school to offer therapy to children with limited communication skills. Our staff have also engaged with some students at the school who have a troubled or challenged background.

A previous boss told me to get up and talk to people in other departments and learn about the business. He said too many accountants hide behind spreadsheets and don’t understand how the business actually works. That advice has served me well in my career.