In the hot seat with Andrew Robinson, Director of Finance
Date: Tue, 01 May, 2018
What has Andrew been up to, and what has he got planned for this coming Committee year?
What inspired you to join the BBG Dubai & Northern Emirates Committee? I first became a member of the BBG not long after settling in Dubai in 1995, to expand my network here. In my KPMG days, I was the honorary audit partner of the BBG. After retiring from KPMG in 2014, I am no longer conflicted and chose recently to join the Committee. I am impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the members of the Committee and the BBG Operations team. Each one of us is working to further the opportunities for British businesses in a collaborative and enjoyable way.
What does your role involve? I work closely with the finance and management functions in the BBG office to ensure the overall financial sustainability of the BBG.
Is there anything special you have been working on? This year, we have invested heavily in the Group's infrastructure to ensure that we could offer our members a fully functional website which provides a more interesting and user friendly service, both on the front and back end, to make it easy for the Operations team to do their jobs, and through which we could introduce the ‘Request expertise’ function which allows members to search the member directory for other members who offer particular products or services that they need as part of the our #member4member initiative. In addition, we have strengthened the Group's resources by creating a measurable development programme for all employees. We want to recognise talent so that that we retain and develop our excellent team.
What’s next? The BBG ran a deficit last year because of the investments in infrastructure and the reduction in membership and events revenue. Financially we are still healthy though, and have over AED 1.6m in the bank. This exceeds six months operating expenses, which is the purpose of these rainy day funds and shows the BBG is very much a solvent organisation. The committee knows that deficits cannot continue, however, and are ensuring that the BBG has a sustainable business model by rolling out a new strategy to further enhance the BBG brand in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. This strategy means being relevant to its members through technology, working closely with UK Government initiatives and introducing more sponsor opportunities in addition to our current respected platinum sponsors who have continued to believe in the BBG for eight years or more.
I do hope to get the chance to meet more the members at this year’s AGM and answer any questions you may have – so sign up now and join us!