The inaugural conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Interim Management Group (IMSIG) today (Friday) brings together key figures from public and private sector to address issues in what is, in effect, an unregulated marketplace. This could be a veritable minefield for interims with dangers lurking from both EU and UK regulations from money laundering, insolvency, whistleblowing and fraud to reputational risk.

As the number of chartered accountants working in this burgeoning sector which includes financial management, management accounting, corporate finance, planning and information technology, continues to grow, the need for support and guidance, is all the more essential for regulated specialists working in an unregulated marketplace.

Speaking at the conference on the issue of risk for interims, Dennis Cox, ICAEW Council, IMSIG member and Chief Executive of Risk Reward Ltd., said:

"Interim management is becoming increasingly important, yet the risks that interims encounter on a day-to-day are far from clear. They are rarely considered when rules and regulations are drafted. I hope that IMSIG members will be fully aware of the risks they are running before taking on, and during, an assignment. That is their only "Get out of Jail Free" card."

Legal beartraps which might lie in wait for the interim manager were outlined by Andrew Blankfield of Fisher Field Waterhouse, particularly in the areas of insolvency and directors’ liabilities. He said:

"Interims are the flying doctors of the business world. The urgency of their task is often such that they lose sight of the personal financial risks they may face if things go wrong. In particular, an interim can be held liable as a director even if he or she had no intention of taking on such an office. This conference is an excellent opportunity to remind interims of how this can happen and what they can do to avoid it."

Speaking on interim managers working in the public sector, Alan Charlesworth, a partner in AshtonPenney, said:

"Public services are undergoing the challenge of constant change, involving higher expectations from customers, greater accountability and more devolved management. There is increased demand for professional financial skills eg with the introduction of resource accounting and widespread use of Oracle and other well-known packages. Accountants as interim managers are finding it easier to make the transition from private to public sector and offer very good value for money compared with consultants."

Cindy Thorneycroft, of the Independent Director Panel and CEO Unit Manager at 3i, said:-

"Interim Managers have plugged some very valuable gaps when situations are time critical. 3i backs successful management and applauds all efforts to promote best practice across the industry. The work of interim MDs and FDs deployed at the opportune moment, can be vital to the success of our investments.”

Paul Druckman, Deputy President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, who has himself experience of working in interim management, said:

"The Institute wholeheartedly applauds IMSIG in its aims to provide a support group for the increasing number of chartered accountants working as interim managers. The training given to chartered accountants and their work experience after qualification make many ideally experienced to act as interim managers. Users of interim managers have the benefit of professional knowledge and general business experience for the specific period needed."

James Haddock, Chairman of IMSIG, said:

"The IMSIG inaugural conference provides an excellent opportunity for seasoned interim managers as well as those thinking of entering the field, to listen and contribute to a broad range of highly relevant topics amongst a group of expert speakers, guests and other members with very similar interests and concerns. This conference will make interims aware of some of the pitfalls and risks which exist in their marketplace."

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