Thought Leader Tony McMurray and Ingram Micro UK
The next Thought Leader that we spoke to is Tony McMurray – the Finance Director at Ingram Micro UK, a subsidiary of the world’s largest distributor of IT. In his role, he is accountable for all aspects of finance ranging from M&A, Working Capital Management, Strategic Planning, FP&A reporting and a regional lead in the transition to Ingram Micro’s shared service centre in Sofia.
You have been working for Ingram Micro since 1995 – what were the goals that you arrived with? 22 years later, would you say that you’ve managed to accomplish them?
When I arrived at Ingram Micro as a young Finance Professional, I never had a clear goal in mind, aside from wanting to learn everything and anything about my new employer. Over time I gained the confidence to aspire towards the FD role through working in the UK and abroad, as well as a period outside of finance working in commercial. This breadth of experience certainly provided me with the skills to face all the challenges that face the FD of a large US corporation.
What further goals are you currently working towards with Ingram Micro? What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
My finance function in the UK continues to expand through acquisitions (the latest being Comms-care in May 2016) as does my scope of accountability (I now oversee the IS function in our HQ). My goal is to further strengthen the role of the UK finance organisation as the best Finance Business Partner we can be for our front office functions. Beyond that, I look forward to broadening my scope of responsibility as Ingram makes more acquisitions and/or my breadth of experience at Ingram Micro is utilised further.
What education or prior experience helped you succeed at your current role?
My A levels and degree centred around Music and Sports Science (I was a national long jump champion as a teenager). I did not formally study a finance or business subject until I was 21 years old. I was an attentive student at school and university and my eye for detail in both Biomechanics and music composition did help me later in life as a finance professional.
As a 2nd year student at University I applied to more than 70 accountancy firms, as I wished to continue my education after my degree. It was during a ‘vacation traineeship’ resulting from these applications that I decided I wanted to work in the area of finance. Ultimately, the greatest contribution to me developing as a modern finance professional was my broad, all-round education, for which I am very grateful.
Who is your role model and why?
Many of my role models are found within the sporting world. As a big fan of Athletics one my sporting hero’s was the Decathlete Daley Thompson. Whilst he was often seen as too cocky and brash, I admired his ability to be different and deliver when it mattered. A view which some may say reflects me in some way.
What are the day-to-day challenges that you are faced with?
In a fast moving industry such as IT, the day-to-day challenge is always the unexpected. Ranging from the downfall of an SME customer, the latest request from Corporate or the assessment of the deal that has to ship that very day.
What would be your top three tips for fledging Finance Directors?
- Be honest – the greatest asset of a strong FD is their credibility.
- Do not be frightened to ask questions, even if the questions are being directed at more senior experienced people than yourself.
- Trust your own instinct – if something does not feel right, then go with that instinct.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people would know?
I am an ambassador for The Alzheimer’s Society and regularly give talks on my fundraising adventures to schools, business and other organisations. In April 2015 my most spectacular challenge to date found me up on Mount Everest during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal. The days after the quake were some of the most harrowing of my life and strengthened my will to support others where I can and do the very best that I can in my day to day life.