David Allen's latest course Financial Control in SMEs has just launched on accountingcpd.net and so we thought it was the perfect time to sit down with the author to find out a bit more about him.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself, ie what do you do within your profession, what specialist areas do you have?

I qualified as a management accountant and company secretary as part of a commercial apprenticeship in an engineering company and, as 'UK Apprentice of the Year' won a travel scholarship to the United States.

I was awarded the CBE in recognition of my work for the accountancy profession: president of CIMA, chairman of the Management Accounting Committee of IFAC, a member of the FRC Review Panel, a visiting professor at Loughborough University Business School, and a regular contributor to the professional press. I was employed by Cadbury's for many years, culminating in my appointment as finance director. Having developed a new concept, which I called Strategic Financial Management, I decided to set up a business through which to write, lecture and consult and was pleasantly surprised when this led to offers of non-executive directorships.

Why do you think cpd is important?

Cpd is important because the world of enterprise is changing so rapidly that competence at the time of sitting professional exams is needs to be kept up to date. Increasingly, people are finding that the internet provides the best approach, not least on account of its flexibility. I am motivated to write by the relative paucity of publication of techniques of financial management (partly on account of confidentiality, partly because practitioners are too busy).

Tells us a bit about the topics you focus on as an author with us.

My primary focus is on proactive, forward looking financial management (as opposed to passive, backward looking accounting) and have written courses on Strategic Financial Management, Dynamic Budgetary Control, Financial Management in Turbulent Times, Managerial Megatrends and most recently Financial Control in SMEs. The hot topics today are concerned with cash flow and balancing short / long term considerations - and SFM provides a framework for embracing these. People who learn about it will be able to contribute to ensuring the long term financial health of their businesses.

What thoughts do you have on what it is to be an accountant/finance professional today?

I see accountants as well placed in businesses today. Apart from the chief executive, they are the only ones who see the whole picture, and can play a vital co-ordinating role (which enhances job prospects).