250 East Mids businesses gather for future-focused Directors’ Briefing 2019

250 East Mids businesses gather for future-focused Directors’ Briefing 2019

Business leaders from across the East Midlands gathered at Belton Woods Hotel in Lincolnshire last Thursday for the Duncan & Toplis Directors’ Briefing 2019.

More than 250 owners and directors attended the conference near Grantham to hear from headline speakers from the worlds of business, finance, politics and technology on this year’s theme; preparing businesses for the future.

The owners of some of the region’s best-known businesses were there, including B&C Express, Delta-Simons, Orderwise, Mortons and SHD Composite Materials.

Now in its 11th year, the 2019 event invited audience members to debate and discuss how they’re addressing the biggest business challenges of today and tomorrow.

Adrian Reynolds, managing director for Duncan & Toplis said: “Today’s speakers have been a fine example of all that is happening in the East Midlands. All businesses need to look inwardly as well as outwardly in order to adapt to the challenges that we face in this ever-changing world, especially in such uncertain times.

“It’s exciting to see that the East Midlands is an area where business confidence is holding strong, as leaders look ahead and ready themselves for whatever the future holds.”

Jake Horwood from the British Business Bank kicked off the day with a speech highlighting the finance challenges facing UK businesses right now, and the funding and investment opportunities that are available to them through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Edwin Morgan, director of policy for the Institute of Directors (IoD), then sought to ‘cut through the noise’ surrounding company directors as they increasingly come under scrutiny from the public and policymakers as we approach the General Election.

“The direction of travel is all around increasing levels of individual accountability and responsibility on the part of company directors,” said Edwin. “Don’t expect this to be forgotten in the election or afterwards. There will be more pressure on directors over time, not less. We don’t expect things to be rolled back, even after Brexit.”

Kirstin Gillon, technical manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), explored the “evolving role” of the accountant and the impact that digital trends, innovation and technology are having on business.

Kristin said: “The challenge for business is how we can use technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing and data analytics to deliver more value. Focus is essential, but you can plan and think all you like – sometimes you just have to get started. Change won’t happen overnight – it will take years to deliver the change your business needs.”

Heidi Thompson, HR director at Duncan & Toplis, then discussed what company culture really is, why it matters and how you can change it.

“With disengaged employees costing the UK economy an estimated £320bn,” said Heidi, “now more than ever, businesses need to ‘hard-wire’ their cultural values and behaviour to future-proof success. It’s your history, your story, your rituals and your reputation that create your culture. The whole company must live and breathe those values, top to bottom.”

Jon Roberts, senior sales manager at Orderwise, shared the 30-year journey of the business management software provider and its founder, David Hallam, who turned an idea into a multi-million pound business with 200 staff and 15,000 customers.

“30 years is a long time, especially for a technology company, and we’ve had to change how we work time and again over the years. If you’re not prepared to drastically evolve in the face of changing technology, your business won’t be here in five or 10 years’ time. But when you’ve got that belief, you find a way to overcome any challenge along the way.”

The event was closed by motivational speaker Kyle Walker, from Positive Connections, who explored how psychology can enhance the power of our minds.

“Extraordinary is a mindset,” said Walker. “If we can stay away from the limiting thoughts that we’ve been preconditioned to believe, we can start to transform our reality – because the only thing that really exists is the present moment.”

Pictured are (l-r) Kyle Walker (Positive Connections), Heidi Thompson (HR director, Duncan & Toplis), Kirstin Gillon (ICAEW), Adrian Reynolds (MD, Duncan & Toplis), Jon Roberts (Orderwise), Jake Horwood (British Business Bank), Edwin Morgan (IoD)

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