Judges' tips on entering

Judges' tips on entering from Russell Picot, 2017-2018 Chair of the Judging Panel

Russell Picot, 2017-2018 Chair of the Judging Panel

It's was a great honour to be the Head Judge of the Finance for the Future Awards for another year. Last year I was impressed by the passion, commitment and professionalism shown by my fellow judges. I was also impressed by the care with which all applicants have taken to present their award applications and for their level of information and quality. It is very encouraging to see. Each year the Finance for the Future Awards increase in size and quality, and we are expecting this to continue with you as a part of it. I know I speak for the entire judging panel when I write that we are really excited to see this year's innovations in finance, and I hope our tips will help your entry. Picking the winners is going to be tough!

Here are a few quick tips on what we are looking for and how to make the best of your entry:

  1. Involve the CFO. This goes a long way to impressing the judges and making a good quality entry.
  2. Show how your project delivers real change and encourages others to adopt similar behaviours. This is why the link between the project sponsor and the finance department is an essential ingredient: proving financial credibility is an important way to inspire action.
  3. Provide good evidence. These Awards aren't about CSR programmes. Sustainability should be integrated into the organisation's business model. We want to see sustainability within the mainstream thought process to unlock value for the future.
  4. Show the business case. Keep to your natural finance instincts, your entry should add value to your organisation.
  5. Be clear. Say what the issue was, what you did and what the outcome was. Be consistent and logical.
  6. Work with others. Give examples of how the finance team have worked collaboratively with other functions to achieve your results.
  7. Be unique, tell your story. We want to see your energy, passion and finance expertise shining through. We're looking forward to reviewing the diverse range of ideas, examples of how business models have been adapted and, of course, getting to know the creative people leading them.

Interview with Finance for the Future Awards Judge and former entrant Richard Carter 

In the lead up to the Finance for the Future Awards we took some time to speak to Richard Carter, Head of Finance and Sustainability at Adnams, about what he thinks is special about the awards. Richard has a unique perspective of the awards having entered the awards as a contestant in 2015, for which Adnams were highly commended, after which he became one of the judges for the awards.

Richard Carter, Head of Finance & Sustainability, Adnams
2015 highly commended


Richard, why do you think the awards are important?

Bringing finance and sustainability together is essential if we are to make any progress on tackling the problems facing the world today. These awards are a very comprehensive step towards dispelling the myth that behaving well is costly.

You've been a judge at the awards for a few years now, what do you look for in an award winning entry?

I’m looking for a project that delivers real change and encourages others to adopt similar behaviours. This is why the link between the project and the finance department is an essential ingredient: proving the commercial imperative is the best way to inspire action in other organisations.

What were you most impressed with at the Judging Day last year?

I was most impressed with the great number of organisations doing really wonderful things, but often without realising it! Sharing one’s success modestly and with credibility is difficult. Recognition such as this is both hugely motivating and hugely helpful for external stakeholders. Plus, as you know, it was probably the best organised event of this nature that I’ve been part of.

What have you learned from judging the awards?

For me, the diversity of entries was absolutely fascinating – I came away with new knowledge on five completely different subjects. But more excitingly, I took enormous encouragement from the quality of the entries and the people presenting them. It was very uplifting indeed.

You were highly commended in the SME category in 2015, why did you enter the awards?

We’ve long-since believed that it makes good business sense to behave sustainably, and we’d like to share that belief with others. This award helped us to do that in a very credible way. The rigorous but unobtrusive application process was perhaps the main enabler though.

How did you find the entry & assessment processes?

It was beautifully organised – requirements were perfectly clear, the application didn’t create any burden on the business and yet the process was absolutely rigorous, which meant we respected and admired it. 

What were the key areas that stood out which helped you to be highly commended?

The clear link between finance and sustainability – we were able to talk about the finance department’s involvement with our carbon footprinting, the cost savings arising from it and the enthusiasm to repeat the exercise on water footprinting ahead of any known financial benefit.

You and your fellow judges have the task of choosing the winners, what would be your top tips to potential awards entrants?

Set out the business benefit of your project and make the finance team’s involvement very clear. These awards are about collaboration and commercial imperative, and that makes them slightly unusual.

"The requirements of the entry process were perfectly clear. The application didn't create any burden on the business and yet the process was absolutely rigorous, which meant we respected and admired it. "