“Since studying at LBS,
I’ve got more vigour
and confidence in
the workplace.”

Matthew Warhaftig

Commercial and Operations, Senior Manager at Northcross Capital LLP

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With over a decade of experience in the finance sector, Matthew Warhatfig has honed his craft as a consultant and business leader in both large financial institutions and now a boutique investment firm.

Having stepped up to take a leading role in the company’s finances at Northcross Capital LLP, Matthew attended the Finance for Non-Finance Executives (FNFE) programme to equip him with the self-confidence and ability to take on new challenges.

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I’ve worked in finance for 15 years, but until recently I’d never really been the one in charge of the numbers, I’ve always been more behind the scenes. I studied business management at university and then found my way to consultancy and project management, which in turn led me to the banking sector. After over a decade working at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where I touched on many areas of the business, including retail, commercial, and front office, I felt like it was time to find new opportunities. I was very lucky to be introduced to the partners at Northcross, where I now work. It’s such a supportive, collegiate environment. We’re a boutique investment management company specialising in cash management and money market products. My role involves overseeing finance, operations, legal, compliance, and technology, so I have a broad remit.

Over the past eighteen months, I’ve become more involved in the finance side of the business. When Northcross was founded in 2005, each of its Partners took on responsibility for a different area of the business, while also working with outsourced companies, for example to put together the management accounts. Today there are three partners, however the one who looks after finance is retiring. Having to step up in his absence felt like quite a big deal for me – after all, I’ve spent my career caveating any advice I give with “I’m not an accountant…” Now, I’m looking at the numbers more than ever.

My learning journey

“I needed to cut through the jargon and become more informed.”

“Everyone brought their own strengths to our cohort at LBS.”

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Stepping up was exciting and meant taking on a new challenge. Cutting through jargon and new acronyms was key for me. I needed to be able to ask better informed questions when it came to our company finances. Gaining this knowledge, along with more self-confidence and validation of what I already knew, was what I really needed. I’m a very driven person, and I needed a course that would help me bridge the gap to be successful in my role – I knew the FNFE programme would equip me with this.

The programme started with strategy, before moving on to numbers, and circling back to strategy. It emphasised that figures can and should tell you a story about a business – you should be able to look at them and tell whether a company is doing what it set out to do, whether that’s global expansion, or launching a new product. We were always on a journey with our learning on the programme, never static, for example, looking at financial modelling and analysis and relating those back to different firms in a number of sectors.

LBS made a real effort to create a network between its participants. It was fascinating to be around people who worked in different sectors, from the pharmaceutical industry to interior design. Everyone brought their own strengths, whether that was being more comfortable leading a group, or experience with handling data.

The impact of Finance for Non-Finance Executives

“The Finance for Non-Finance Executives programme gave me the skills to analyse our finances better - and at just the right time.”

“Since coming back to work, I’ve been able to put what I learned into practice immediately.”

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I am currently running several audits simultaneously and spend every day analysing financial statements. One of the first things I implemented on my return to work was a dashboard with financial ratios and metrics I’d learnt on the programme. Since the programme, I’ve been thinking about how everyone in the firm should have a grasp on the numbers, and how they need be a part of our daily conversations to allow us to make confident decisions. We are currently working on simplifying our financial forecasting model to include these.

I now have more vigour and confidence with numbers, I am not afraid to query and challenge the figures that I’m presented with. Before, if I thought that something didn’t look quite right, I never questioned it because it came from a financial expert. After attending the programme, I now have the tools to make better informed decisions.

Finance for Non-Finance Executives

Demystify finance. Make sense of financial concepts and apply your new-found knowledge with confidence.