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    Q&A – Jo Powell, Head of Financial Transformation

      Attach a CV (Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, rtf.)

      Q&A – Jo Powell, Head of Financial Transformation

      Q&A – Jo Powell, Head of Financial Transformation

      At Broster Buchanan, we believe that successful recruitment goes beyond simply finding the right fit for a specific role. We view every interaction as an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the market. By connecting with talented individuals, we can stay up-to-date on market challenges, emerging trends, and the evolving skillsets needed for success.

      We had the pleasure of sitting down with Jo Powell, Head of Financial Transformation at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), to delve into her inspiring career journey, her insights on female leadership in finance, and the critical role financial transformation plays in today’s finance world.

      Jo brings a wealth of experience and a passion for driving positive change. In this Q&A, we explore her career progression, the unique challenges and opportunities facing women in finance, and how financial transformation is shaping a more efficient and sustainable future.


      I was born in the South of England but having lived in the North East for 13 years, I consider myself an aspirational Geordie. I am so glad that my children have grown up in this brilliant area and will always consider it home. I love the beaches and rivers for paddleboarding, our countryside is the best for reviving walks on a day off and the city has plenty of buzz to keep you occupied. Mostly, I love the people and their unshakeable positivity as it completely aligns with my outlook. I am passionate about diversity and inclusion and I believe that all it takes sometimes is a little belief in someone to bring out their best. I’ve been really lucky to work all across the UK with inspirational people and I credit my success to seeing potential in myself and others. I love the adage of surrounding yourself with incredible people and lifting each other up to deliver the best outcomes.

      Industry Trends and Challenges:

      Q: What are the biggest trends you see impacting financial transformation in the next few years? (e.g., AI, automation,)

      Automation and data extraction are essential. My team is developing a new unit costing service which is one of the organisation’s key priorities to understand costs linked to volume/ demand and drive improvement. We are working closely with colleagues in our data team who are developing capacity to fully automate the process and live dashboards will be available each month at the “touch of a button” enabling further enquiry and facilitating decision making. Our customers want insightful, accurate information that can be interrogated to understand what is driving the trends. I think that the days of written finance reports with no means of enquiry will soon be a thing of the past.

      Q: How can companies leverage financial transformation to gain a competitive advantage?

      Insightful financial information will give you evidence and the “why” when you’re looking to make decisions, whether that is investing in resources, projects or addressing under-performance and efficiency programmes.

       Q: What are the biggest challenges companies face when undergoing financial transformation?

      It is really important to invest in dedicated resources to ensure success and give sufficient time to really embed new processes into the organisation; it really isn’t something that people can do alongside their current job. Transformation work often highlights processes that aren’t currently working in the best possible way and so accepting that this can feel threatening to teams, but providing support to your transformation team who will motivate others around a vision for change, and overcome the challenges.

      Leadership and Career Path:

      Q: What advice do you have for other women aspiring to leadership roles in financial transformation or indeed any areas of finance?

      Play to your strengths. I am a chartered accountant and I have always loved numbers and analysis but I also love people and I’m really good at building relationships and developing others. I always look for a position that allows me to use my talents and enjoy my work.

      I also think it’s important to be open to new opportunities as they arise but if the idea doesn’t exist yet, develop your own thoughts about why it might work.Tell others, test your theories and If someone says no, be open to this and ask why. Be very open to others feedback, using this as personal learning and development then adapt your approach. Never give up!

      Before any important meeting or presentation, really think about the people you’re going to see. Put yourself in their shoes before you meet and then you can test this when you get the chance to talk e.g. I think this might be a concern for you right now or I think this might be important to you. This will get people talking. Empathy is essential for good relationships as is a willingness to meet in the middle. I absolutely believe in the “I’m ok, you’re ok” style of assertiveness.

      Q: What are the most important skills for success in this role?

      Grit, determination,  and a strong belief in the outcomes you’re trying to achieve. Working in an organisation with a social purpose helps align your team and your colleagues around the strategic objectives to drive change.

      Q: How do you maintain a work-life balance while holding such a demanding position?

      When you have commitments outside of work, it isn’t easy, but I have always found self-worth and respect through my work, so it is a balance that I am willing to continually refine. Giving something back is important to me, and I have had trustee roles with charities in the North East where I can see that I made a difference.  I know we always say “do your best” but I think it’s accepting that your best can look different on different days. Sometimes you need to give much more personal energy to your work and you need to share this with family and friends. The converse is also true. Be kind to yourself and those around you.

      Diversity and Inclusion:

      Q: What are your thoughts on the importance of diversity and inclusion in financial leadership, particularly for women?

      I think we have to lead the way. Nothing will change unless we stand up for what is important to us. Diversity and inclusion shouldn’t be seen as a nice to have. Utilising everyone’s unique experiences and differences is an essential part of delivering value for an organisation and creates a safe, happy team where everyone can feel safe to be themselves and be their best.

      Q: What specific actions are you taking to promote a more diverse and inclusive financial team?

      Aligned to my values of respect, acceptance and growth, I have recruited a diverse and inclusive team who are thriving through development opportunities and delivering brilliant outcomes for the organisation. Selecting the right individuals is incredibly important because my team’s work is high priority and can be incredibly challenging. Like me, all of my team embrace change, focus on learning and development and maintain a collaborative and positive outlook.

      Q: Are there any specific challenges do women leaders face in the public sector?

      Like any industry, it is really important to recognise your strengths and be prepared to talk about them. I love the saying “Shy bairns get nowt ” which I learned when I moved to Newcastle, and I think it speaks volumes for what women, and anyone, needs to embrace.  Be proud of what you have achieved, and the strength it took to keep moving forward, and share this with others.



      We understand that finance transformation can be a complex process. If you’d like to discuss how we can support your organisation with temporary or permanent staffing solutions through your transformation journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out.