Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Jan 18, 2021

We were delighted to be joined by Patrick Speek, an Interim CFO/COO, on the EMEA Recruitment podcast recently.

“It’s okay to be uncomfortable, because you’re learning when you’re uncomfortable.”

Patrick has worked for a range of different companies, across many countries and even continents. His broad experience has left him with a good idea of what makes a strong Finance business partner. He explains to our Founder, Paul Toms, the rule he has for how much time a Finance professional should spend behind their desk – it may be less than you think!

For those starting out in their Finance careers, Patrick believes that you only have to do one thing to start adding value to a business and be involved in conversations – listen to the episode below to find out his key piece of advice.

If you’re a Finance leader, Patrick also offers his tips on motivating the teams that you manage to get the best out of them. This is something that he learned while working at GE as European Regional Controller. The company had a culture of rotational opportunities, which sometimes pushed employees out of their comfort zones. Patrick learnt to be uncomfortable.

However, he also accepts that businesses need stability in their teams, so he looks for a mix of mindsets in who he hires.

We discussed the most challenging point in Patrick’s career, when he worked in the Middle East. He explains the different business culture in the region to Paul, as well as revealing why someone kissing you is the biggest compliment!

Patrick is open about his “deliberate choice” to move away from large corporates to small businesses and the opportunities that this has given him. For those aspiring to become CFOs, this is a section of the episode that you should listen to.

Although Paul has known Patrick for a number of years, they rarely discuss the ways in which Patrick relaxes outside of work. Towards the end of the episode, we spoke about Patrick’s charity commitments and love of cycling. If you’d like to find out more about the project he’s currently involved in, click here:

We hope you enjoy this Finance episode of the EMEA Recruitment podcast. Please feel free to share the link with anyone in your network that you think would enjoy Patrick and Paul’s discussion.

The timestamps below will help you find the section of the podcast you’re most interested in:

02:05 – What makes a great Finance business partner
05:14 – Why curiosity is the best skill you can have
08:01 – Motivating your team to see themselves in the bigger picture
10:19 – The culture of learning at GE
15:22 – How to get people out of their comfort zone
17:49 – Working in the Middle East
21:07 – Making the move to smaller companies
24:51 – Patrick’s charity work in Africa
28:09 – Do you really need a work-life balance?
34:10 – The best way to reach out to Patrick


To drop a note to Patrick on LinkedIn, click here:


We’d like to thank our podcast partner, Operation Smile, for supporting us. We’re hoping to raise vital funds and awareness for the work that Operation Smile does around the world, providing life-changing surgery to children and adults with cleft lip and palate. If you’d like to find out more and support this cause, please click here:


The EMEA Recruitment podcast is hosted by Paul Toms and our Associate Director, Jenny Callum.

To find out more about us, please visit our website: 

You can also follow us on LinkedIn: 

If you’d like to connect with Paul, click here: 

Or Jenny, at: 

#emearecruitment #emearecruitmentpodcast #patrickspeek #paultoms #finance #operationsmile #qhubeka