Future Finance Leaders Forum in Partnership with Chris Patton of William Grant & Sons

On Friday 1st December, Consultant Harry Young hosted the second instalment of the ‘Future Finance Leaders Forum’. This newly created event series is aimed at the most highly aspirant 0-5 years post-qualified accountants in West & Central Scotland.

The purpose of the event series is to connect future leaders, allowing them to network and be introduced to like-minded individuals, whilst also providing them with insights from our network of established leaders; helping to shape their careers and accelerate their professional development. Harry shares some highlights from the event below.


Our second event of the Future Finance Leaders Forum series was a roundtable lunch in partnership with Chris Patton, Head of Packaging Finance at premium drinks business, William Grant & Sons. At this exclusive invite-only event, Chris shared insights from his career to date, and provided guidance to our audience on what they could do to progress their career and achieve their ambitions.

Chris started his own career at Deloitte, spending 7 years there and eventually progressing to Manager level before joining William Grants in 2015 in an Internal Audit role. This was followed by four promotions in eight years, culminating in his most recent promotion to Head of Packaging Finance in February 2023.

During the roundtable event, Chris shared five key principles that have helped him to progress his career and achieve his own ambitions. They were as follows:

  1. Keep learning: Make sure you are always learning in your role. Whether it’s technical, commercial, communication or leadership etc.; if you continue to learn in your role, the progression and promotions will come. It’s okay not to have a detailed plan of where you want to end up, as long as you continue to learn.
  2. Bring a point of view: Have opinions and ideas, and don’t be afraid to share them (appropriately!). Give advice and guidance – become a trusted advisor. It doesn’t need to be about numbers or big issues; Finance Leaders add value beyond the financials. Don’t underestimate how much your business partners and line managers will appreciate you saying what no one else will!
  3. Develop your understanding of leadership: Learn the difference between “Management” & “Leadership”. Spend time thinking about your leadership style and how it needs to flex to your team members. Make sure your leadership style is authentic to you – it won’t work otherwise!
  4. Be interested: Ask questions! Be interested in what matters to the business and the functions you support. Understand how the parts fit together, what matters, and why does it matter. Make sure you are thinking both internally and (typically more interesting) externally. This helps build your relationships and credibility beyond Finance and can help you understand your stakeholders’ perspectives and what drives the numbers.
  5. Develop your communication and influencing skills: Do not underestimate the value and impact of structured, clear and concise communication. Making complex things easy to understand, and driving change, are both underpinned by structured and impactful communication. Instead of additional Excel training, you might benefit more from a report writing course.


We were delighted to partner with Chris on this roundtable event, and are excited to announce we will be hosting four Future Finance Leaders Forums in 2024 with some fantastic speakers already lined up!

To register your interest in joining the Future Finance Leaders Forum and to be notified regarding future events, please contact Harry Young at [email protected].