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Making the back office front of mind – a blog by Philip King FCICM

29 September 2017

In a report at the start of the week, the Financial Times cited examples demonstrating that there is an increasing trend of ‘back-office’ jobs in the financial services sector being moved away from the UK to offshore locations.

In his fascinating piece, Patrick Jenkins highlighted two key points that policy makers forget. Firstly, many of the jobs that could be at risk from Brexit may not be located in the City of London and regional roles may be more readily cut.

Secondly, he notes that “while politicians make slow progress in Brexit talks, the companies affected are getting on with investment decisions that favour the EU27.”

The focus on the City of London as a barometer for the Brexit impact on jobs in the financial services market is therefore misguided. Some of the actions by companies in the sector are speaking louder than words as offshore operations are enlarged and expanded.

I argue loud and long that credit management is not, and should never be described as, a back-office function. It is customer-facing, should be feeding into strategic decisions, and be on the frontline of all business activity. Nevertheless, much of the activity that supports the credit function can be classified as ‘back-office’ and credit professionals  need to be aware of the potential for decisions affecting them, and their teams. I talked about the role of artificial intelligence in my last blog Wellington sticks the boot in , and this is just another external factor we need to recognise.

I don’t know to what extent Patrick Jenkins is right, nor how far-reaching the impacts might be, but now surely is the time for us to stand up and reiterate just how important we are to our businesses, their success, and their future prosperity or, in some cases, survival.


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