Proxima — See the change

Insight & opinion


The Modern Slavery Act 2015: Steps to compliance

Modern Slavery Act: Implications for your business

How confident are you in knowing the ins and outs of your suppliers’ working practices? Confident enough to stake your reputation on them?

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What's more important than growth and customer relationships?

Modern Slavery Act 2015

Move over business growth and customer relationships; if slavery isn’t on your boardroom agenda you’re not only missing a trick, but you could be falling foul of the law. The Modern Slavery Act 2015, which aims to stamp out modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking in the supply chain, has serious implications for vast swathes of business. Around 12,000 organisations in the UK across a variety of sectors are predicted to be affected. But with change comes opportunity – the opportunity to beef up best practice among procurement partners and tick a very large customer box in the process.

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Supply Management: Changes to audit market will unleash ‘flood’ of tenders

Supply Management logo

There has been a “flood” of tenders for audit services from FTSE 100 firms this year, as companies prepare for new regulations to come into force.

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Role reversal: Apple drags down suppliers

Apple drags down suppliers

Quite often, we use this blog to discuss the increased reliance companies have on their global network of suppliers – the notion of corporate virtualization - and the importance of carefully managing suppliers and understanding their behavior and ethics. We have seen and written about many circumstances in which a supplier-related failure or business behavior has impacted a company’s reputation or bottom line. In many ways, company and supplier have become one, with the lines between the two increasingly blurred.

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US retailer plays chicken with notorious egg supplier

US retailer comes under fire for supplier failure

When a major, well-known and generally respected retail brand retains a supplier with a shady track record for food sourcing, it should hardly be a surprise when that supplier drags that retailer into a PR fiasco. In the recent case of a popular US retailer (which stocks everything from cleaning supplies to electronics to groceries), and Hillandale Farms of Gettysburg, the question of “the chicken and the egg” and which comes first is quite a literal one, as it relates to who gets the blame.

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in-tend: Auditing needs an MOT


Proxima discuss why auditing needs a check-up in April's edition of in-procurement magazine from in-tend. Looking at the current reforms and regulations, Proxima's Richard James identifies the opportunities that have arisen from this changing audit market, and how companies can use these to their advantage when tendering their audit. Find the full article on page 34.

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BlogTalkRadio: Buyers Meeting Point weekly commentary for June 1st, 2015

Proxima's resarch into supplier-related failures on BlogTalkRadio

In this Procurement Perspectives podcast, Buyer's Meeting Point's Kelly Barner discusses Proxima's latest research into consumer attitudes towards companies involved in supplier-related failures.

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Buyers Meeting Point: New research reveals consumer expectations for supplier management

Buyers Meeting Point and Proxima

Buyers meeting point discuss Proxima's latest research into consumer attitudes towards companies linked to supplier-related failures, and explain what this means for procurement.

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New study suggests American consumers intend to punish companies involved in supplier-driven scandals

NEW YORK, NY and London, UK – May 14, 2015 – A newly published survey suggests that companies who are not actively monitoring the business practices of their suppliers, or who are engaged in questionable supplier practices themselves, are placing their reputations and their balance sheets in harm’s way.

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Another Chinese supplier drops McDonald's in the fryer


In the latest example of the extent to which a geographically far-flung supplier can negatively impact a corporation’s reputation, we present the case of McDonald’s and their Chinese french fry supplier.

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Procurement Leaders: Big company supplier squeeze - a disturbing trend continues


Proxima's Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall submits a guest post to Procurement Leaders, explaining why in the sometimes complicated area of supplier management, a disturbing trend is emerging.

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New US legislation takes aim at supply chain slave labor

New legislation around supply chain slave labor

In our blog and in our ongoing dealings with clients, we continue to advocate the importance of having explicit insights and knowledge into the business practices and ethics of those companies that live within one’s supply chain. We’ve pointed quite extensively to our corporate virtualization research that reveals just how much modern organizations rely on external suppliers for the services and goods necessary to not just run a successful business, but to have one in the first place. The importance of supply chain visibility has grown exponentially in recent times, as has the potential negative impact failures can have on brand and profitability.

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ICSA: The right firm and the right terms

ICSA: The right firm and the right terms

With new regulations requiring businesses to tender their audit more frequently this offers companies a chance to revisit a key supplier relationship; enabling them to run a tender that will encourage closer relationships, promote best practices and drive additional value.

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Procurement Insights: Audit tendering process will force procurement professionals to go beyond traditional boundaries

Procurement Insights: Audit tendering forces procurement beyond boundaries

Procurement Insights' Jon Hansen looks at how mandatory audit rotation will force procurement professionals to go beyond traditional boundaries.

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Financial Times: Auditors - shopping around

Financial Times cover Proxima's audit market research

Are companies long-term relationships with their auditors a thing of the past? The Financial Times discusses our research into the UK audit market, and why many more companies are choosing to shop around when it comes to buying audit services.

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Accounting Today: The virtues of mandatory audit rotation

The virtues of mandatory audit rotation

Proxima's Richard James discusses the virtues of mandatory audit rotation with Accounting Today and looks at how audit rotation can benefit both company and auditor in the long run.

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UK Audit Services

Key recommendations for your audit

Five key recommendations for maximizing your audit tender process

Prior to 2011, the average tenure of a FTSE100 audit firm was almost 50 years, with the majority of firms never having changed auditors in living memory, some being retained for over a century.

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Professional Services: what are we paying for, exactly?

Richard James: Proxima's Professional Services expert

As supply management evolves into a strategic business function, one of the key roles procurement teams often play is to challenge stakeholders to justify what they are paying for. In “traditional” cases this is relatively easy: you can count the number of laptops you need to buy, you can benchmark the wholesale price of utilities, you can understand the need to use a recruitment agency to find new or replacement staff.

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The Accountant: Audit needs a check-up

The accountant: Audit needs a check up

Proxima's Richard James discusses why regulatory change has shaken up the sleepy world of audit and why this could lead to a key opportunity for companies to reassess their relationships with auditors.

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Director of Finance: Audit needs a check-up

Directorof Finance: Audit needs a check-up

Director of Finance speak to Proxima's Richard James about the new rules around statutory audit rotation; and why this could be a valuable opportunity for companies to revisit a key supplier relationship.

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Spend Matters: Buying audit services - advice from an expert

Spend Matters - Buying audit services, advice from an expert

Following their previous coverage of our research into the UK audit market, Spend Matters discuss how procurement can get involved in the complex business of purchasing audit services, and offer advice from our expert Richard James.

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Global Banking & Finance Review: Competition Commission reforms make audit a procurement challenge for FTSE350


Global Banking & Finance Review cover our research into the UK audit market, highlighting why the reforms by the Competition and Markets Authority are creating a challenge for procurement.

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Procurement Leaders: Reforms shake up audit market

Procurement Leaders: Reforms shake up audit market

Procurement Leaders discuss Proxima's research into the UK audit market. The research highlights that although over half of the FTSE350 companies have been using the same auditor for a decade or more; proposed reforms by the Competition and Markets Authority are encouraging more firms to tender.

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Spend Matters: More top companies tendering audit services in response to new reforms

Spend Matters: More top companies tendering audit services

Spend Matters discuss our research into the UK audit market and why new reforms are forcing companies to learn more about the audit tendering process. 

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Supply Management: Top companies changing auditor more often

Supply Management: Top companies changing auditor more often

Proxima's Richard James talks to Supply Management about why the top UK companies are switching auditor more frequently; and why research shows that the number of companies tendering their audit looks set to rise dramatically.

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A fresh pair of eyes

Guy Strafford: A fresh pair of eyes

The traditional way to explain the role of an auditor is that they’re a watchdog, not a bloodhound. They keep an eye on what’s happening, sit up when something looks suspicious and occasionally bark when they see something dodgy. The job is explicitly not turning over every rock they can find to test ethics or legality - no bloodhounds chasing the bad guys through the woods here.

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accountingWEB: One in four FTSE 350 companies switch auditor

Accounting Web: One in four companies switch auditor

Companies change many things regularly, but are usually reluctant to change their auditor. Proxima's research, featured in accountingWEB, highlights a growing trend of FTSE 350 companies tendering their audit.

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Audit services: Four reasons why it pays to be a first mover

Richard James: Proxima Audit Services

During the original dot-com boom, the idea of first mover advantage gained massive currency. Staking out a digital domain before anyone else showed up was considered the best way to guarantee success – gaining mindshare, customers, and above all, experience and personnel that would be denied your rivals.

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Financial Times: Proxima weighs in on new audit market reforms

Guy Strafford: Audit market reforms

There was a strong feeling of anticipation and suspense throughout the Proxima office in London on Wednesday, as we all waited excitedly for Financial Times City Correspondent Harriet Agnew’s article - discussing the shake-up to the audit tender process - to be published. A few weeks earlier, Richard James (Category Director for Professional and Financial Services) had been interviewed by Harriet, and asked to weigh in on what impact the changes to the UK audit tender process are having on the wider market.

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Financial Times: Accountants warn on audit market reforms

Proxima and the Financial Times

Proxima's Guy Strafford speaks to the Financial Times around the consequences of sweeping changes to the UK audit market, and the implications that this has for both auditors and their customers.

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Tender touches for better audits - five recommendations


Following new regulations and a deep desire to restore lost public faith in business, audit is making a conceptual comeback. The European Commission’s new rules on mandatory tendering for audit every ten years (along with increased scrutiny; demands for transparency in the audit process; and controls on what other work your auditor can do) make the process of choosing and contracting and auditor incredibly important.

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Infographic: Accountants warn on audit market reforms

Guy Strafford - Proxima

When analysing the current FTSE 350’s use of audit services, our research highlights the impact of the Competition and Markets Authority’s reform on the UK audit market – finding that there is more happening under the surface than meets the eye...

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Are you buying what you want...or what you need?

Guy Strafford and Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall Math Men and procurement

“The fish rots from the head”. Strong words from a recent FT article rounding up a series of accounting issues besetting large companies in the UK. Following a discussion between Proxima and respected commentator Stefan Stern; Stern argues that boards need to open their eyes to all activities in their business (from top to bottom) – but without getting involved in day-to-day tinkering. 

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Accounting Today: Audit rotation best practices



For publicly traded companies, the audit process is among the more arduous and mundane of all corporate responsibilities. Accounting today discuss Proxima's best practices guide to the audit process.

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Financial Times: Good governance is about more than just numbers

Guy Strafford speaks to the Financial Times

Proxima’s Guy Strafford talks to the Financial Times around the impact of procurement practices on wider corporate governance.

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What’s better for procurement: Mad Men vs Math Men?

Guy Strafford and Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall Math Men and procurement

Many people love to believe the world is driven by “Eureka!” moments – flashes of inspiration or genius leading to a revolution in thinking. 

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Your procurement team is drowning

Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall

By now you will already be familiar with our corporate virtualization research, showing that the average company now spends around 70% of its revenues with suppliers. But what does it mean for your business, and how can you uncover the opportunities that this trend encourages?

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One world, one business model – the impact of globalization

Supplier Management

We were chatting to a management thinker the other day – a former CFO, as it happens – and he said something so compelling, yet so simple, that we were stunned. “The problem with the runaway success of MBA schools is that we’re developing a global corporate monoculture,” he said. “We’re concentrating risk in similar places around the world.”

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Value, values and the return to growth


New research shows that a growing number of corporates are refocusing their procurement functions away from cost and towards strategic innovation. A sure sign that corporate management's attitudes towards procurement are shifting. (We discuss this further in our webinar). But are the smart ones just copying the companies that have always understood that this is a key source of value?

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A moving feast for the Dutch Food & Beverage Market

Dutch food and beverage industry

For Dutch food and beverage (F&B) businesses, improving margins is a constant challenge and breaking out of the commodity trap is the name of the game.

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Corporate risk: when upside is a downer

Proxma image; Ian Ingram

Any accountant will tell you that more businesses go bust in the recovery from a downturn than in the recession itself. A big reason for this is poor risk management – because managers think they can stop worrying. They can’t.

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Industry Week: Auditing compliance - a heavy and expensive burden for Manufacturers

Proxima media mention; Industry Week

Proxima's Guy Strafford recently spoke to IndustryWeek to discuss the process around how audit services are bought and managed.

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Risks and rewards at Coventry Building Society

Proxima interview; Coventry Building Society

Feike Brouwers, Chief Risk Officer for Coventry Building Society, discusses the challenges behind running a successful risk function in a constantly evolving business environment.

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The broken bridge between business need and business supply

Supplier Management

On average, two thirds of any business’ activities today are performed outside of their organization by third party suppliers (see this research for more detail).  And it’s a growing trend.

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How suppliers have changed Dutch management practices

suppliers impact on dutch business

To better understand the implications and opportunities of our latest research into the spending habits (and subsequent management practices around these habits) of modern day Dutch businesses, we have compared labor and non-labor (supplier) costs across the Dutch AEX25 over a two year period.

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Spend Matters UK/Europe: The Competition Commission and Auditors – shaking up the market or just stirring?


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Procurement Leaders: Auditing reform - does re-tendering deliver value?


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Mandatory audit rotation – a sourcing challenge


So, after months of deliberation and consultation, the Competition Commission published its provisional decision on the remedies relating to the market for statutory audit services. But will this really achieve the CC’s laudable objectives to improve quality and broaden the competitive market for statutory audit?

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The impact of ‘corporate virtualization’ on your supply chain


The FT recently ran a piece called “"Businesses unaware of supply chain risk" which followed on from the Bangladesh garment factory fire (killing over 600 people, spurring a fierce public reaction). And just this week, days after the FT article was published, news of a Cambodian shoe factory collapsing, killing at least two people, hit our headlines. These catastrophic events come just weeks after the horse-meat scandal and within memory of the Japanese earthquake disrupting car supply chains.

Read more Hoeveel 'paardenvlees' zit er in uw supply chain?


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