Preparing finance for the future: the challenges ahead for CFOs
The value the finance function delivers to an organisation is changing fast and this will have a significant impact on resource planning, day-to-day operational finance, business and financial analysis, innovation and information and systems, according to Finance 2020: closer than you think, a new report from specialist recruitment firm Robert Half UK.
In the longer term, process automation within the wider corporate digitisation agenda with the move from manual operations to digital solutions, the finance function will need to transform. This will bring real pressure on finance leaders when combined with compliance, regulatory and reporting requirements with an ongoing need to protect assets while managing costs are all conspiring to bring real pressure on finance leaders. Finance function teams are increasingly expected to participate in company-wide innovation programmes to help drive profitability and growth.
From the research over 200 CFOs and FDs including interviews, the key trends and implications of the future of finance are explored. Looking forward, CFOs identified the most important areas the business will expect support by 2020 as ‘commercial business opportunities’ (32%), ‘efficient time management and higher work volume’ (23%) and ‘internal and external stakeholder communication’ (20%).
Peter Simons, Head of Future Finance Research, CIMA Global, says: ‘CFOs are balancing the need to support businesses to remain profitable and remain compliant, while supporting the business to seek out commercial opportunities which is seeing them invited back to the table again and again. What this report by Robert Half shows is many CFOs are already considering their long-term plans in finding the new equilibrium required by 2020. Leading CFOs have already estimated their future staffing requirements with this in mind.’
Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director, Robert Half UK, South America and the Middle East said: ‘The finance function has been experiencing a period of evolution, and we’re seeing this through enhanced, specialised skills set in growing demand in accounting and finance. While financial acumen and ensuring regulatory compliance are still absolutely key, CFOs looking ahead to the future recognise they need additional skills including the ability to help their organisation exploit technology to fuel business growth. This is not a battle that can be won overnight, but should be a planned programme of transformation that can be tackled successfully with the right blend of technology, people and process.’
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Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.