Across the land, last preparations have been made and final stories read as our budgets are put to bed.
Traumas and tantrums have been dealt with, and unexpected surprises and requests handled and tamed with a reassuring hot chocolate.
The finance director, using a combination of magic and story-telling, appears on the annual stage, with grace, and in usual style, the passing of the budget flows seamlessly into the memories, and everyone moves off for their own rest and future dreams.
But, once that which has been nurtured for more than 12 months is sleeping soundly, the dragons will begin to appear.
The finance director must now pick up the sword and step forward.
As the author J R R Tolkien once noted: ‘It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.’
Attention, therefore, must turn to managing our dragons, and seeking out the stones under which they currently rest.
A critical examination of our financial performance culture is required, ensuring that our dragons are discovered when they are very small and manageable.
Croydon LBC has just been awarded four stars under ‘use of resources’, with notable practice in financial management performance, but this shield is no guarantee of success.
It’s time to ensure all stones are turned, swords are sharp, and the action swift. n
Nathan Elvery is director of finance and resources at Croydon LBC