It’s the end of the Financial Year for Kloeckner and as things begin to wind down, our Finance Director and National Compliance Officer Ciara Milne shares with us her thoughts on the different aspects of the Kloeckner culture, the ever-evolving role the finance team is taking within the organisation and her aims and strategies in creating a cohesive working environment.
Ciara has been at Kloeckner almost two years now and joined as Head of Finance. Ciara studied for her professional qualification at KPMG Leeds and has been in industry and manufacturing since 2007.
Ciara outlines her role for us:
At the moment, as Finance Director and Company Secretary, I am responsible for Financial Control; Financial Planning & Analytics, Credit Control and IT, but in addition to this I am also the company’s National Compliance Officer.
With a busy and hugely varying role there’s no such thing as a normal day for Ciara:
I start the week with a plan and within an hour on a Monday morning, that plan is usually out the window!
The finance function naturally works with every department in the company, which means Ciara and her team have a unique vantage point to view cultural changes throughout Kloeckner. Ciara gives her view of Kloeckner as a whole and it’s clear that the forward-thinking, innovating nature of the company, along with the extremely diverse team, are things she’s profoundly proud of:
On the board, there are two women, myself and the Head of HR (Tracey McQuade) and I think in an industry like this, to actively have two females on the Leadership Team is amazing. The manufacturing industry tends to be a very male dominated environment, but here at Kloeckner we see a lot of diversity and I feel we’ve definitely got a good healthy balance as a team
In terms of Ciara’s role as The National Compliance Officer there is an array of ongoing tasks. With Kloeckner being a sizeable, listed company there are a lot of regulatory acts that need to be adhered to. She must also stay on top of any new additions to regulations, she explains an example:
The rules changed a few years ago around the fraud and bribery act, it used to be that only the company itself was liable, but now the actual directors can also be held personally accountable, so as an organisation Kloeckner take it very seriously and they want to make sure that we adhere to all relevant legal requirements. As such, every country in the Kloeckner group has to have an official National Compliance Officer who works hand in hand with the Group Compliance Team
One of the great initiatives introduced within the compliance function is a change in the way the company delivers its compliance training to new staff.
Ciara explains why she felt the change was needed:
Within the first six months of joining the organisation, all staff who are customer facing or deal with procurement must have face to face training sessions.
We’ve adapted this in the UK utilising feedback from our employees as we found that our in-house training was a little drawn out and not necessarily the most effective method of training our members of staff.
Now we have two lawyers who deliver an extremely interactive three-hour training session where real examples of companies are presented. The new employees can really grasp why it’s so important to Kloeckner and we now get really good feedback from that”.
Ensuring training is received and carried out sees Ciara interacting and liaising with HR on a regular basis about what new members of staff are coming in and what training is required for them.
Ciara is also responsible, under the Compliance mantle, to control everything around gifts, entertainment and any large contracts with companies in or outside the UK. Her team carries out credit and background checks to ensure all partners, suppliers and clients are legitimate.
Our Group Compliance Officer really helps us to see new legislations on the horizon and advise us how this will affect our countries and our markets but we’re expected, as National Compliance Officers to be very diligent in any changes or new legislation that is relevant to our specific territory.