Need an FD/CFO?

As a portfolio Finance Director and CFO (Chief Financial Officer), I help ambitious businesses make better financial decisions. If you’re experiencing challenges like the ones below, odds are I can help you…

Has your business been growing fast (over 10% a year), but finding sales harder to come by, leading to cash flow pressures which make it harder to invest in growing your business?

Are you paying more for people, equipment or materials but struggling to get your clients agree the price increases you need to protect your bottom line?

Do you spend more time than you’d like agonising over cash flow instead of taking your business forward?

Has your bank started to demand more frequent or more detailed financial reporting, suggesting they might be getting a little twitchy?

Have you decided to run your business purely on the cash flow it generates because your bank wants additional security or extra personal guarantees before they’ll lend any more money?

Are you working harder and harder, but taking home less and less…perhaps even having to pay some of your key people more than you earn yourself just to stop them being poached by your competitors?

Are you caught off-guard from time to time when someone wanders into your office a couple of days before the payroll or a big payment run is due and tells you there isn’t enough cash in the bank to clear the scheduled payment?

Have you thought about realising the value you’ve built up in your business…perhaps selling up, exploring a semi-retirement option, bringing in outside investors, supporting an MBO or passing your business on to the next generation?

Are you getting increasingly frustrated that every time something important needs sorting out, nothing seems to happen unless you get involved personally…even though you’re already busy enough?

Well, if you experience one or more of those on a regular basis, the likelihood is your business needs the support of a Finance Director and CFO to sort out your problems and get your finances in the right shape to put your business firmly back on the growth path.

Normally that sort of support is out of reach for smaller businesses. And it’s still true that full-time Finance Directors and CFOs won’t leave you much change from a six-figure salary and benefits package.

But because I work with clients on a part-time basis…only working for your business when strategic financial support is required…my support is surprisingly affordable for businesses of £1million or more in sales. More on that in just a moment.

You might wonder how a Finance Director and CFO could add value to your bottom line. Here are some of the ways I’ve helped businesses in the past:

  • Doubled revenues in a two year period by converting a commodity business into an upmarket, bespoke producer
  • Saved 56% in per-unit manufacturing costs from a key financial insight about factory operations
  • Helped a business see how their long-standing bank’s financing was keeping them permanently in “negative equity”, and sourcing alternative financing to free up much-needed cash in the business
  • Demonstrated where a business was losing money by serving a group of customers they could never hope to make a profit from, and plotting a course to exit that sector, thereby boosting profits and reducing the strain on cash flow
  • Developed a key insight about the use of labour resources in a B2B business services firm which saved £500,000 in 12 months
  • Steered a business to Supplier of the Year for a major consumer brand…and used that accolade to build fresh income streams and attract new customers
  • Implemented a quality management programme to reduce costs across the business by 30%
  • Identified overlooked spare capacity a business was already paying for – once harnessed in the right way, they doubled in size over the following three years with almost zero additional operating costs
  • and many, many more.

All these projects added substantial value to the bottom line.

Everything I do for a client is bespoke, designed around the unique opportunities and challenges they face but, if I’ve got space to take you on as a client, here’s how the relationship typically gets under way…

  1. We start with a thorough review of your strategy and business model…or create one if there isn’t one in place already…to make sure the business is on course to deliver your personal financial objectives. Then we move on to…
  2. Building a profit improvement plan through identifying opportunities to reduce cost or increase revenues.
  3. Getting clear about what’s holding your business back and removing those obstacles to your success.
  4. An in-depth costing analysis – most businesses have clients or products which lose them money, but traditional financial reporting does a poor job of highlighting where those problem areas are. (This is critical – it’s often why you’re working harder and harder, but still not making the money you deserve.)
  5. Getting your cash flow right – including renegotiating support with banks and other lenders to make sure your business is financed in the best way for you…not just the best way for your bank.
  6. Strategic planning. What’s your end-game – selling up in 3-5 years or building the business for the long-term and creating a legacy for your family? Whatever your objectives we get you there as fast as possible and, if you’re thinking of selling up, work to maximise the value of your business by the time you come to sell.
  7. And ongoing monthly support to keep your business firmly on track and handle any problems that threaten to blow your plans off-course, while making sure your business stays “light on its toes” and ready for any opportunities which come along.

Of that long list, by far the most important element is the ongoing monthly support.

Think about it. You don’t get fit by going to the gym once and having someone show you how all the machines work. And you don’t secure your financial health by getting someone to write a fancy-looking business plan which sits unread in a drawer.

Your physical health and your financial health only improves when you work at it on a regular basis.

That’s why I only take on clients who see the benefit of a long-term relationship with a trusted strategic Finance Director and CFO, doing the sort of things we’ve covered here, boosting your bottom line and taking away a significant amount of the stress and strain of running the business.

However, you’re not tied in to a long-term contract. At any time, should you feel you’re not getting great value, just give 30 days’ notice. There’s a no-hassle, no-obligation right to cancel and we’ll part as friends.

You get all this when you work with me. And it’s very affordable – while each client has different needs and so requires different amounts of time input, typically ongoing monthly support costs about the same as employing a junior accounts clerk.

But instead of just another paper-shuffler, I work alongside you to help you build sales, profits and cash flow, reducing costs where possible and increasing efficiencies, adding significantly more value along the way than a less-experienced administrator or more junior accountant could hope to do.

So if you’re looking to grow sales, profits and cash flow…if you’re tired of working so hard and taking home less than you deserve…or if you need some help to get your business through a tricky patch and back on the growth track as fast as possible, it’s probably worth a chat.

Get in touch via the Contact page. Tell me more about your business and the challenges and opportunities you’re dealing with. I’ll be happy to speak with you on the phone and explain how I might be able to help – and if I know someone better placed to meet your needs, I’ll tell you that too.

Apart from half an hour of your time, you’ve got nothing to lose. And in the course of our brief conversation you might even get a fresh perspective on your business, from a fresh pair of eyes, which helps unlock whatever has been getting in the way of growing your sales, profits and cashflow.

So why not get in touch today? I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Alastair Thomson
Finance Director and Chief Financial Officer

PS: There’s only one of me, and I can only work with a limited number of clients at any one time. So get in touch today before my calendar fills up.