Harvey Berkley, FCMA, CGMA chief financial officer of HMV Canada.How did you get started in your career?
After graduating, I began my career at the UK headquarters of cosmetics group Avon, where I first worked as a reporting financial analyst. During that time, I became interested in a career in management accountancy after completing a course in business studies at Manchester Polytechnic. I specialised in accounting, which then led to the desire to pursue a career in accountancy.
I had decided already against becoming a chartered accountant, feeling I was more suited to a focus in industry and commerce. As a result, I found the CIMA qualification suited the path I wanted my career to follow. It gave me an overview of business operations Business operations are those activities involved in the running of a business for the purpose of producing value for the stakeholders. Compare business processes. The outcome of business operations is the harvesting of value from assets as a whole, and how to be influential within that business.
How did you find your way to North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. ?
After leaving Avon, I moved into a role as a management accountant at Sony manufacturing and distribution. During this time, I decided I needed additional experience in other firms. I moved to Thorn EMI Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics, music, defence and retail. It was created in October 1977 when THORN Electrical Industries merged with EMI to form one of the largest operating companies in the United Kingdom. Security, just as it had transformed into a larger conglomerate, where I worked as a divisional accountant.
While at Thorn thorn, in botany
thorn, sharp-pointed projection on some plants, usually protective in function. Botanically, thorns are distinguished as modified stems (as in the honey locust and hawthorn) from spines, which are modified leaves (as in the barberry), and , I saw an advert for a management accountant role at HMV HMV His Master's Voice
HMV High Mobility Vehicle
HMV High Mileage Vehicle
HMV High Molecular Weight
HMV Heavy Maintenance Visit
HMV Hazardous Materials Vault (military vault for dangerous materials)
HMV Heavy Military Vehicle UK. Once hired, I had the opportunity to work in three different countries, something I had always wanted to do. First, at the age of 29, I moved to New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. following my appointment as finance director of HMV's operations in that country. I was there for two years, returning to HMV's corporate office to take up a role in business development, which entailed supporting the development of the overseas businesses. This led to a position in business development in the US, where I was vice-president, finance, based in Stamford, Connecticut Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 119,261, making it the fourth largest city in the state. .
You were heavily involved in HMV's US rollout. What happened?
We established the US business based on several preconceptions. We felt we could roll out a US franchise in the same way that we had successfully developed the model in the UK. The US market for "physical" music was still in growth mode at that time, with significant specialist competition. We felt we could deliver a better offering than the competition that existed in the market.
We looked at many opportunities to acquire new physical locations from 1993-98, but our arrival was during the peak of real estate prices in the country. We were aware of the market opportunity, but unfortunately less aware of the overall marketplace. We had opened new locations in many of the most competitive US markets, including New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , partly because we had experienced success in the major cities in the UK.
We compared the British market to the US, but didn't fully understand the differences in size and density of the US market. As a result, we ended up pursuing too many real estate deals in too many markets. At one point, we had 24 stores in the US, all on the east coast. When market conditions evolved unfavourably, we were forced to exit the market. Subsequently, I was offered the opportunity to become the VP, finance and management information systems, for HMV North America.
How did you end up in your current position?
Part of my new role was as vice-president of finance for Canada. At the same time, I was continuing to focus on our exit from the US marketplace. Once that was complete, I then became CFO See Chief Financial Officer. of HMV Canada.
From 2000 onwards, I was fully involved with the Canadian business Canadian Business is the longest-publishing business magazine in Canada. It was founded in 1928 as The Commerce of the Nation, the organ of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The magazine was renamed Canadian Business in 1933. , which had approximately 90 locations in Canada when I began. Our plan was to increase coverage to somewhere between 125 and 140 sites. At this time, there continued to be plenty of opportunities for expansion, as Canada was still a solidly performing market that focused on physical music sales.
Internet retailing had yet to fully develop here in the way other countries had by this time, partly owing to owing to
Because of; on account of: I couldn't attend, owing to illness.
owing to prep → debido a, por causa de shipping costs in a large and less densely populated pop·u·late
tr.v. pop·u·lat·ed, pop·u·lat·ing, pop·u·lates
1. To supply with inhabitants, as by colonization; people.
2. country. Traditionally, Canadians are more comfortable to search for goods on the Internet, yet the actual purchase would be at the physical retail location. As a nation, Canadians are some of the biggest users of the Internet, yet remain less interested as online purchasers.
What were the threats that led to the sale of HMV Canada to Hilco last year?
Changes in the UK marketplace began about three years ago, when both revenue and profits were affected by increased competition by "big box retailers" such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Tesco. Specialist retailers, such as HMV, had difficulty competing on price, resulting in the need to adapt, for example, creating stronger relationships in the supply chain. At the same time, more people began to use the internet for purchasing their entertainment. The differences between the UK and Canadian marketplace made the sale advantageous, as the Canadian operations had a different experience in our local marketplace.
What does your real estate role entail?
The biggest part of my job is all about networking, it's much more about going out and meeting people. Effectively that means being a part of leading the charge for the business. The Canadian retail marketplace continues to evolve, and we've undertaken a programme that looks at our retail footprints in all markets across the country in the last year and a half. The key to this role in an evolving market is being able to share our news that this business continues to have a strong, healthy life cycle and make HMV Canada a key part of their sales and marketing plans.
A good example is in our mall locations - as an entertainment retailer we offer the opportunity for good foot traffic for all tenants. Were HMV Canada to exit a particular location, the traffic for entertainment products would likely disappear from the mall environment and migrate to big box retail.
How are you preparing for new opportunities?
It's very important to continue to innovate, especially in an industry that's evolving. Continuing to maintain profitability is the greatest challenge we have had, and we've managed to keep the Canadian business successful.
We believe emerging technology is the focus for the business-we are in the process of developing our own digital streaming service. We need to take full advantage of the opportunities from the 35 million customers coming into our stores every year.
What area of financial management are you most focused on?
Now that we are no longer part of the original parent company, there is more flexibility to be entrepreneurial, as we no longer need the approval we once did for major decisions. To continue being successful, we have discovered that it is all about cash management, i.e. managing cash and working capital. We introduced a well-controlled cash forecasting tool, which we manage on a weekly basis. It allows us to keep a careful eye on every part of the business, concentrating on EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) A metric used to show a company's profitability, but not its cash flow. EBITDA became popular in the 1980s to show the potential profitability of leveraged buyouts, but has become and PBIT.
How helpful was your qualification?
The LIMA qualification provided me with the opportunities I've experienced. With a more rounded view of an organisation, it makes it much easier to have an understanding of things across all channels. I've also had the good fortune to have worked in four different countries. Chartered accountants, by contrast, are a little restricted.
Having the CIMA designation has given me the tools to deal with a multitude of challenges. Also, studying for the qualification while you're working provides a good work ethic work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
a belief in the moral value of work .
What advice would you give to CIMA members?
In terms of working in retail and entertainment, which my role combines, the most important thing is that you need to be passionate about what you're doing and why you're doing it.
I don't think you necessarily have to have the same enthusiasm for working in other business environments. You have to like the product, that goes without saying. I'm a big music fan obviously, with an interest in 80s/90s bands such as U2 and Coldplay.
My other piece of advice would be to work in overseas locations whenever possible. It enhances what you do and how you do it, develops you and makes you a better person. The only thing I really miss about life back in the UK is watching Manchester United play, so I go to Old Trafford Old Trafford commonly refers to two sporting arenas:
RELATED ARTICLE: CAREER LADDER
1981: Joins Avon as European reporting and planning analyst.
1983: Becomes assistant management accountant at Sony UK.
1984 Moves to Thorn EMI Security as divisional accountant.
1986: Joins HMV UK as financial accounting manager.
1989: Transfers to New Zealand HMV to become chief financial officer.
1991: Back to HMV in London to take up post as international business analysis manager.
1993: Moves to the US to become vice-president, finance and MIS, based in Conneticut, for HMV USA.
1998: Across the border to Toronto to become vice-president, finance and MIS, for HMV North America.
2003: Becomes vice-president, finance and MIS, for HMV North America.
2011: Named chief financial officer of HMV Canada as the firm comes under new ownership.
Interview by Lawrie Holmes