Will James
Director of UK Global Business Services (GBS) at Ultra Electronics


Will James is a Commercial Management Accountant.  The first half of his career was spent in a range of increasingly senior Financial Reporting, Controlling, Business Partnering and Finance Leadership roles with large companies. Hence he has a good grounding in how businesses work, of working across business functions (e.g. Sales/Marketing, IT, HR) and trade-offs such as short term profit or cash maximisation v the need to improve capacity and quality.

After one annual budget too many and using his passion for end-to-end process efficiency, Will transitioned into Finance Transformation/Change.  At Aviva this included Offshoring, RAC integration, new systems and P2P (from business case to implementation). With Friends Life this involved ‘merging’ AXA Life into Friends Provident, including migrating ex AXA businesses from SAP to a tight timeframe (delivered on time and within budget).

More recent experience has included re-engineering Finance Shared Services for Astellas Pharma (covering finance transaction processing for 30 European Countries and outsourced work in India) and leading an International ERP implementation for AmTrust insurance (Fortune 500).

Will uses his commercial experience to pursue long term value during change via stakeholder management.  He is able to join-up conflicting plans and approaches be working with consultancies, system integrators and business functions such as HR, Legal, Procurement, IT and Operations.  Known for demystifying complex matters, he often explains to one party (e.g. Finance) what the other party (e.g. IT) is actually saying!

Will joined Ultra Electronics (FTSE 250) as Director, Global Business Services UK in October 2018. The role involves expanding the scope and scale of GBS, a classic blend of Process, People and Technology (ERP roll out in progress to replace 30 legacy systems) plus Data. This role will exploit his influencing and change experience – effecting a collaborative approach between Business; Finance; IT and others to deliver valuable and sustainable results.

Agenda Sessions

  • Communicating FP&A to Non-Finance Leaders