Need Help with Your Cash Flow?

Need Help with Your Cash Flow?

Cash flow problems put your company at risk.

Unless your company manages cash flow effectively and uses regular cash flow forecasts, your company is in jeopardy. Cash flow shortfalls mean:

  • You can’t pay suppliers on time
  • You can’t make debt repayments on time or at all
  • You can’t buy new inventory to meet customer demand
  • You can’t pay staff wages
  • You can’t compete for new contracts
  • You can’t advertise to attract new clients
  • You can’t hire new staff.

This will have a knock-on effect on your company’s profits, market share, and brand reputation. It could even result in your company going into liquidation.

One US bank study found that 82% of business failures are due to poor cash management.

How to Fix Your Cash Flow Shortfalls

Fortunately, most cash flow problems can be resolved with help from the right people. They will help you to identify the causes of cash flow problems in your business and advise the best way to fix them.

Causes of Cash Flow Problems

Conditions that can impact your cash flow include:

  • A fall in sales or a decline in gross profit margins. This could be a result of changing economic conditions (such as the most recent global financial crisis), increased competition, or a drop in demand for your product or service.
  • An unprofitable business model
  • Using a negative cash flow business model. You offer customers or clients credit terms of anywhere from 30 days to 90 days (or longer).
  • Having excessive debt
  • Having inadequate stock or credit and debtor management.

Your cash flow problems can be due to any of the following:

Late paying customers When a customer doesn’t pay on time, your business can experience cash shortfalls.

Poor debt collection processes Not issuing or chasing up invoices in a timely fashion can result in reduced cash flow.

Low prices If your prices are too low, but your expenses are rising, your company is almost certain to experience cash flow problems.

Low sales Too often business owners try to resolve poor sales by looking for new clients. But this incurs more costs in areas like advertising and marketing to attract those new clients.

Too generous payment terms Allowing customers to pay in arrears for goods or services received is a bit like giving those companies short-term, interest-free unsecured loans.

Overtrading Rapid growth means your company will have to invest in more stock, equipment, or hiring staff to meet demand. If you don’t have sufficient working capital, the company will experience cash flow problems.

Too much stock Every dollar or pound you have in inventory is a dollar or pound you don’t have in cash.

Too much debt If you’re overleveraged (when you’ve borrowed too much and can’t pay interest payments or principal repayments or meet operating expenses), you’re likely to experience cash flow problems.

Cash Management

Cash is vital to your business. Without it, your business won’t be able to pay suppliers and creditors and to meet its payroll obligations.

Finding and fixing the cause of your cash flow problems in your business and putting systems in place to manage cash effectively is vital for your company’s survival.

In our free “Cash Flow” report, you’ll discover how to identify cash flow challenges and fix them. You’ll also see how the FD Centre experts help business owners like you to manage cash flow now and in the future.

Find out more.

How to Get External Funding for your Construction Business

How to Get External Funding for your Construction Business

Using sound management reporting and project by project accounting would make it easier for construction companies to get funding from banks and other financial institutions to grow and scale their businesses, says Simon Parkins, a construction industry accounting specialist.

Many construction businesses don’t invest in good management information, says Simon, who has over 20 years of experience in the construction sector and who is now a part-time FD with the FD Centre, the UK’s leading provider of part-time FDs.

Instead of making informed decisions about how to run the business based on facts, Managing Directors and their boards tend to rely too much on gut instinct, he says. That makes banks and other financial institutions wary.

Why banks and financial institutions don’t like construction companies

Getting access to external finance has always been challenging for construction companies because it’s perceived to be a very high-risk sector, says Simon.

The collapse of construction giant Carillion with £7bn debts just over two years ago has made lenders even more cautious about providing funds to companies within the sector.

“Carillion going bust made it even more difficult than it already was,” he says. “There were already banks who would not touch construction clients, but now even the ones who were open to construction companies have put a lot more hoops in place for them to jump through.”

SME construction companies are not particularly good at investing in management information or the accounting software that’s suitable for the industry, so they are often the first things Simon recommends they do.

Having access to the banks and financial institutions that will lend to construction companies and knowing what assurance and MI they want to keep that lending position in place is really crucial.

“I’ve got connections with some really good lenders who are not put off by construction, and they’ll improve their rates and fees on the basis that the FD Centre is involved,” Simon says. “They know that we will ensure the management information they need is there.”

“A lot of construction companies simply do not understand what the banks need to get finance, which is where we can help.”

Another reason why lenders find construction companies less appealing than other businesses is that the profit margins are often quite low.

Many of the top construction companies work with tiny margins of 4% to 5% while SME construction companies are more likely to have margins of between 10% and 25%.

Using project by project accounting practices

Many SME construction companies fail to put project by project reporting into place. This results in poor MI for the business, but also in an erratically performing profit and loss position, which scares lenders.

“A bookkeeper or accountant will put together management accounts for the business, but they often report on the whole business and not on individual and distinct projects.”

“The key to success in construction is really understanding project by project performance, so you can see which ones are performing, which ones are not, and which ones contain the risk. Doing that brings the performance of the business into clear focus,” he says.

“I worked with one client with a Commercial Director who the Managing Director regarded as performing quite well. He was delivering reasonable but not great numbers, but there was no transparency to what he was saying at the monthly board meetings. When we put project by project reporting into place, he had nowhere to hide. He was found to be deficient and covering up lots of problems and issues from the Managing Director.”

“Within four months of me coming on board as a part-time FD, the Commercial Director went from a position of nearly being assigned share options and some ownership of the company to the point where it was revealed he was fundamentally underperforming and probably losing that business something in the region of £100k to £150k a month.”

Construction accounting is very different from standard accounting and many good accountants get it wrong when tackling construction accounts for the first time, says Simon.

“As accountants, traditionally, we take the ledgers, we adjust for income not recorded (bringing in work in progress) and then we adjust for missing cost (accruals). Do this for a construction company without looking at individual project performance at your peril.”

“Traditional accounting in this way is problematic, and the following issues were common to the majority of construction SME clients I have worked with:

  • Making income and cost adjustments without looking at individual project performance means there is no sense to check/validate the adjustments being made.
  • The majority of risk tends to materialise or manifest itself at the end of a construction project, and so you need a system of reporting that reflects this risk and adjusts accordingly.
  • The ability of the business to forecast the expected margin at the end of each project is often poor to moderate.

Clients believe that when they bring the income and cost adjustments together the accounts will be accurate. What you tend to find is that income is optimistic and overstated and that not all outstanding costs are identified. Coupled with poor visibility of the likely financial outcome of the project, and no consideration for risk, the accounting profit tends to be overstated.”

Too few construction companies allow for the problems that inevitably occur during a project.

“Nine times out of 10 profit-related things go wrong at the end of the construction project. There might be:

  • Liquidated damages where you’re actually on penalty clauses to finish the project on time,
  • Remedial works, an ongoing obligation to fix any subsequent problems which materialise with the work you’ve carried out,
  • Snagging at the end of a job is when the client will point out problems with the work,
  • Many companies underestimate the amount of work required to fulfill the snagging list for the client to be 100% happy.”

“It’s also just an industry in which people haggle at the end of the job.”

It’s for all these reasons that Simon tries to persuade clients to hold back some of the profit.

“I tell them to beware of ever taking the full margin until the client has signed the project off and physically paid the bill.”

While big construction companies have the systems and processes to put that all into place, many SMEs don’t have the knowledge or resources to do these things properly.

They might have accountants or bookkeepers, but they often do not understand well enough how to allow for how the construction industry works.

“It’s quite hard for an accountant without construction experience to know what to do or to understand the risks involved in construction,” he says.

“I have worked with many of the blue-chip companies in the construction sector for the past 20 years, and there are lots that I’ve learned along the way. A finance director in construction cannot sit in an ivory tower playing with spreadsheets. You’ve really got to understand project performance and how things are going on operationally.”

One client has a Commercial Director who was advising the monthly unbilled income figure and working with the accountant on the missing cost figure. They were adamant that the adjustments they were making were correct. But they had no mechanism for sense checking whether the adjustments were logical when bought together in the accounts. By introducing project by project reporting Simon showed them that their adjustments were very often incorrect. On one project they were reporting a 75% margin, on a project they were forecasting would make 35%. Moreover, the forecast proved to be inaccurate, and by the time the job was complete the actual margin achieved was 23%. With the job not even halfway completed they were already taking £250K profit on a job that ultimately only made £130K, and yet they were 100% convinced that what they were reporting was accurate.

Why construction companies need external funding

Much of the work construction companies do initially is self-financed with extended payment terms and that can put pressure on cash flow.

Projects can also go into a dispute which means cash flow can stop altogether.

“I had a client with a modest annual turnover of £6M who got into a dispute with a customer who then withheld a massive £1.2M. The work was delivered, but the £1.2m was withheld because a single piece of paperwork wasn’t delivered by a deadline.”

Many of Simons’ clients are SMEs who are working on four to eight live projects at any one time and are therefore highly exposed to each client.

“Their clients can quite often just withhold money on a pure technicality. The amount of cash they need for business operations hasn’t changed but their expected cash inflows can suddenly dry up. It is a difficult sector from that point of view.”

It’s therefore often a good idea for the construction company to have lending facilities on standby as a contingency to cope with any issues that may materialize. Approaching the bank, at short notice and with an urgent need for funds is rarely easy of a successful conversation.

If your a construction business needing some help/advice on getting external funding, reach out to us today at [email protected] and one of the team will be able to book a call with one of our dedicated Regional Directors to discuss more.

“This too shall pass”

“This too shall pass”

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the only constant in life changes.

Over the course of the last century alone there has been a litany of challenges and numerous disasters, all of which have one thing in common – they’ve all passed.

Some months from now – it’s impossible to predict the true timeline – the current situation we face with Covid-19 will too have passed. It will have left in its wake a trail of debris and destruction which we ought not to minimise, but it will pass.

As the great German writer, Goethe once said: “Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.” It’s a wonderful way to focus the mind on proactive, practical activity and look forward. To deal with things that you can influence and change rather than those you can’t.

As Finance Directors part of our role is to use our knowledge of the past and translate it into actions that bring about a better future.

With 750 of us in the UK and abroad, many of us spanning 3 or even decades of service to SMEs, we have weathered many storms. We’ve also come out the other side.

And we have learned from those experiences that there are certain actions we must take quickly if we want to overcome adversity and put ourselves in a stronger position for when the storm abates. In the midst of the storm, it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening. This is precisely the time to slow down for a moment, as hard as it may seem, and make some proactive decisions.

To address the negative, we can take it as read that the speed at which many industries will contract over the coming weeks will increase. Primary industries such as aviation, travel and tourism, events and conferencing, restaurants and pubs, will suffer devastating blows as will the supply chains they support. The ripple effect will affect everyone, in some way or another. These events are already in train.

While all that happens, as SME owners, we have to do whatever we need to do in order to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

And you don’t have to face that challenge alone. There’s a lot the government and banks are doing to help small to medium-sized businesses get through the challenges of the coming weeks and we’re also here to help you navigate the options and put you in the strongest possible position when some sense of normality is restored.

Below are some key considerations, risks, opportunities, and resources. If you would like us to help you navigate the options, we are offering a courtesy 1:1 Scenario Planning Call to help you get clarity around what you should be doing now to put you in the strongest possible position.

Protect the downside

Cash

Cash is king. What cash buffer do you have in place, what funds can be drawn down from available credit facilities if required? From March 11th the government is pledging £30bn. This covers welfare and business support, sick-pay changes, and local assistance. In relation to business, the support includes:

  • £2bn of sick-pay rebates for up to 2m small businesses with fewer than 250 employees
  • £1bn of lending via a government-backed loan scheme, with government backing 80% of losses on bank lending
  • The abolition of business rates for this year for retailers (a tax cut worth more than £1bn)
  • The provision for any company eligible for small business rates relief to be allowed a £3,000 cash grant, estimated to be a £2bn injection for 700,000 small businesses

In addition, here are just a few key resources you may be able to draw upon from the major banks:

  • Barclays has a range of options for business customers, including 12-month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25,000 and increasing overdraft facilitieswork from home
  • RBS has said it is offering more flexibility over loans to businesses, suggesting repayments may be deferred by up to three months for those in financial difficulty
  • NatWest has pledged £5bn Working Capital Support for SMEs during the Coronavirus outbreak
  • The Lloyds Banking Group said it would be open to requests from small businesses for overdraft extensions and other support

Scenario Planning

  • If you are predicting a reduced demand what will be the impact on sales and cash?
  • What costs can be cut or deferred? Is there flexibility in the cost base that could partially offset a downturn in revenues?
  • Are there major capital expenditures that could be postponed?
  • Over what time period might you expect revenues to be reduced?
  • What impact might you expect in regard to late payments from your existing customers?

Supply-side:

  • Are you likely to be impacted by a break in the supply of inputs/services from other businesses struggling with the virus?
  • How much contingency are you holding if supplies of inputs stopped/became erratic?
  • Are there alternative sources of supply if a supplier fails?
  • What is the likely impact on the workforce – do you have a business continuity plan, can workers productively work from home/remotely?
  • Could you look at taking measures now to reduce the risk to your workforce; e.g. more virtual meetings rather than asking staff to travel?
  • Are you operating in an area which could be impacted by “lockdown” measures e.g. city centre, does the workforce travel largely by public transport (impact if closed/restricted), would the travel patterns of the workforce mean it would be necessary, for staff safety, to suspend travel to the head office/main site.

Demand-side:

  • Potential impact on sales volumes – e.g. what is your level of exposure to consumer demand, are you B2B or B2C, are your corporate customers likely to be significantly impacted (airlines, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, attractions, events, etc.
  • Any delivery issues for goods/services?
  • What are the contractual implications of failure to service customers (do they have a force majeure protection in contracts?)
  • Does the client have contracts that enable clients to claim force majeure and cancel commitments without penalty – the worst case what might this mean in terms of the liquidity scenario planning.

Communications:

image of a laptop and notepad

  • Who should you be contacting new – suppliers to see what contingency plans they have, customers to reassure, other stakeholders?
  • If someone has an issue, do they have the means to communicate with you?
  • Can you post messages on your website remotely if required as a means of keeping customers, suppliers notified?

Staff:

  • What is your policy on sick pay if staff have to self-isolate (the Government has announced the availability of SSP from day 1 of self-isolation but does your policy mirror that?)
  • Are there contingent measures that can be put in place to bring in temporary staff if necessary?

Miscellaneous:

  • Any business-critical single points of failure?
  • Can you switch your office phones to an alternative line?
  • What insurance arrangements do you have in place?

Prepare for the upside

All of the suggestions mentioned above constitute the day-to-day role of an FD. These are things that companies ought to be doing as a matter of course, but of course, many do not.

The advantage of going through this process now is that it will enable you to build a better, stronger, more resilient business for the future. Whether Covid-19 or the next major recession or some other unforeseen event, knowing that you have done all that you can to prepare your business will give you greater confidence in the future.

The future of work is all about remote working, flexibility, greater specialisation, and outsourcing. The Coronavirus will increase the pace with which we transition to a new global model.

We encourage you to be cautious and use this time to spark ‘fresh activity’ and build a stronger, leaner business for the future.

We are here to help and are offering 1:1 Scenario Planning Consultations to help you make the right decisions to get you through the coming weeks and prepare you better for when the current madness subsides.

Hiring An FD in the South Just Got Easier

Hiring An FD in the South Just Got Easier

Ambitious business owners in the south will now find it easier to increase profitability, improve cash flow and maximise the valuation of their SMEs with a part-time finance director.

That’s because the UK’s premium provider of part-time Finance Directors, The CFO Centre has just created a regional centre to serve more businesses along the South Coast.

The Solent regional office will cover an 85-mile area that stretches from Bournemouth in the south-west, Winchester in the north, to Bognor in the south-east and incorporates the four distinct cities of Southampton, Bournemouth, Chichester, and Portsmouth.

The CFO Centre’s 250 part-time FDs work with more than 600 clients across 20 regions in the country. Typically, The CFO Centre clients are SMEs with turnovers of between £3 million to £25 million. They’re companies that need the professional services of a dedicated part-time strategic FD with big business experience, who can guide them through the next stage of growth.

Matt Fernandez, who was born in Havant and has lived and worked throughout the region for most of his life, is the newly appointed South Coast Regional Director.

He says The CFO Centre’s part-time FDs have been working with clients in the region for some years, but an increase in demand for help from local business owners led the company to decide to establish more of a presence here.

The government has identified the Solent and South Coast as an area of potentially strong economic growth and increased job opportunities, so it makes sense for The CFO Centre to have a base here, he says.

His ambition for the next three years is for The CFO Centre regional office to become the go-to resource for growing SMEs along the south coast.

He also wants to expand The CFO Centre’s network of strategic business partnerships, including regional banks, accounting firms, corporate financiers, solicitors, and challenger banks.

“Our Finance Directors want to be able to offer best-in-class solutions to our clients along the South Coast. So, part of our strategy is to identify and build relationships with the best professional service companies in the region.”

Fernandez also plans to increase his team of hand-picked part-time FDs. Although the team is small, the breadth of experience of the FDs is vast. They’ve held senior leadership roles across most sectors including working for tier 1 brands such as Oracle, Homebase, B&Q, Ben Sherman, and Farrow & Ball.

In the future, he’ll be looking to find part-time FDs to work with SMEs involved in the region’s major industries including maritime and marine, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, defence, life sciences and health care, and IT.

“Our FDs are exceptional generalist CFOs or FDs with very strong relationship-building and interpersonal skills. Some have worked as interim MDs too, so they really understand the decision-making process their clients’ experience.”

Successful candidates go through a five-stage interview process and then a five-day residential onboarding process.

“We really want to be sure we choose the right people to join our network of part-time FDs,” says Fernandez.

The CFO Centre FD’s agree a bespoke plan to maximise their value to the client, typically engaging 2-4 days each month depending upon the needs of the company.

To find out more, send an email to Dave Paton, UK Head of Operations.

Business Budget – A Simpler, More Effective Approach

Business Budget – A Simpler, More Effective Approach

Hearsay, you may shout! How can I possibly run my business without a budget? Can I hold managers accountable? How can I reward and incentivise my staff to perform? 

And, most importantly, how do I measure my financial performance on a monthly basis? All these are very valid questions, but an annual business budget is not the best financial management tool to achieve this and can drive limiting behaviours.

What if I were to say there is a better way. A way that improves financial performance and increases employee engagement. This way is known as Beyond Budgeting.

Let’s remind ourselves of the 3 core objectives of any business budget:

  1.       It sets a target i.e. what we want to happen
  2.       It acts as a forecast i.e. what we think will happen
  3.       It’s there to allocate the company’s resources i.e. capital expenditure

A business budget is both a target and a forecast. How can one number be both things?

A budget sets a ceiling on performance, once it has been met what is the motivation to keep going? After all, you are only going to get a bigger target next year. “A new survey from Clutch just revealed close to two-thirds of 61% of small businesses don’t have an official documented budget”. smallbiztrends.com

A budget sets out fixed costs with a plan of how we intend to get to our destination and it also allocates company resources accordingly. The world never ends up being how we planned it, so why do so many of us continue to follow – and stick to – the budgeted plan that is now out of date?

Many businesses witness a drop, both in employee performance and their motivation levels just because a large customer went bust during the year. This sees them losing any hope of commissions or bonuses just after the first quarter and you don’t need to be an expert to understand that this is not good for business.

These conflicts that arise due to budget conflicts need to be resolved as they can cause serious disruptions. We can resolve them by separating them and having different management processes.

Setting a small target that will take 12 months to achieve is not ambitious enough. Why not reach for the stars? If the target is met in 12 months maybe it wasn’t ambitious enough. If the target isn’t ambitious enough, you give yourself very little chance to achieve big things.

The world outside our businesses does not beat to the sound of our company’s financial year-end. Many of the important business decisions are made in the last few months of a financial year to hit a budget number, that was set 15 months earlier. This lack of strategy shows the ineffectiveness of business budgets as the only means to measure performance. 

Often these decisions cost the business in the subsequent months. Time is a continual line; we should manage our businesses in the same way. The numbers that we make budgets for, get added up every 12 months (the previous year) to pay business loans, not to manage decision making.

Wondering how you can make better decisions in the light of the numbers that your business generates by not being dependent on a budgeting worksheet that you keep on following every year? You can do this using rolling 12 forecasts. Using this technique, you can forecast what you believe will happen in the next 12 months. Every month, you renew this and plan for the coming 12 months without limiting yourself to a specific period.

This helps you in understanding if you are closing the gap on your target or are you going away from it. If you’re closing the gap, keep repeating what’s working, if you’re drifting away, try something new. Measure, report, assess, and repeat, never stop seeking to improve.

Allocate cash flow based on the opportunity, as it arises. Empower management to make decisions that improve customer service, delivery and seize the opportunity when it arises. Simplify decision-making for resource allocation and keep the process simple and easy. It does require rigor – just enough to make sure everything’s well thought through.  

Lead your business by establishing clear values, goals, and boundaries. Delegate responsibility to those closest to the customer; give teams and management autonomy and freedom to act.  Promote transparency. The bad news is to be shared openly, so the remedial decisions can be made quickly. 

Create bonus pools, not individual targets. You want everyone in the business pulling in the same direction. 

The process of how small business manages its financial decisions is a culture driver. By managing your business using the above processes, it will change the culture and drive performance and increase employee engagement, improving staff retention and customer satisfaction. A happy employee is the most important step that leads to a happy customer.

So, let’s go beyond budgeting and business budget templates to break the glass ceiling that these budgets set and unlock the potential of your employees and their abilities.

METIS Aerospace Ltd and BBC2 Horizon Documentary

METIS Aerospace Ltd and BBC2 Horizon Documentary

An FD Centre client, METIS Aerospace Ltd, based in Lincoln, is to be featured in a BBC2 Horizon documentary to be shown on Monday 1st July 2019 at 9.30pm.

The programme entitled “Britain’s next air disaster? Drones” will describe the proliferation of drone ownership in the UK and the potential consequences of their negligent or malicious use.

The program will include interviews at London Southend Airport with Alex Cruikshank, Chief Technical Officer of Metis Aerospace demonstrating the capabilities of one of the world’s leading drone detection systems, SKYPERION.

Skyperion works by detecting the radio signals between the drone in flight and the pilot. The RF detection is complementary to other systems such as radar and cameras thereby providing an extremely reliable multi-layered approach to drone detection.  This will be key in preventing the incursion of drones into the airspace around airports, thus ensuring ‘Britain’s next air disaster’ is not the result of a collision between an aircraft and a drone.

IMKO London

IMKO London

IMKO LONDON is a complete ‘full service’ general contractor and construction management company. Our experienced management team has the knowledge and experience in the mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural fields to find and eliminate unforeseen challenges in the construction process, providing solutions to these issues upfront. This approach helps to eliminate project risks providing program and budget certainty on each project.

 

Mykola, the managing director is an established business owner and successful entrepreneur in the extremely dense and challenging construction industry in London. Specialise in high-end and luxury residential makeovers, basements, extensions, and new builds with over 14 years of experience. In addition to construction, successful property investor and developer with projects in London and Home Counties.

 

At IMKO LONDON everybody works hard to make sure that the three most important principles of the construction industry are upheld on every project: time, quality, and value. We use CRM and project programming software, seeking to maximize results and value in every area of our business. We work with our clients to save them money without compromising quality in each phase of the construction process. We are always seeking new ways through technology, research, and innovation to maximize the value of each project while eliminating the extra cost and completing each project in the time agreed. These can be extremely important, protecting your investment and budget from the effects of a volatile market.

We can guarantee this because of the professionals that work with IMKO LONDON. Our staffs understand the importance of the processes we use and the safety standards by which we operate. We live for the challenges that come with each construction project and we believe that our success is based on the extra effort we give.

 

One of IMKO LONDON’s recently completed projects was a near 8000 sq ft family house with complete renovation and refurbishment and expanding the space with a sunroom and orangery extensions adding 2000 sq ft living space. The dated building required extensive works to modernise the steel structure and build a new foundation and a whole new roof.  Inside every bathroom got refurbished and the kitchen was updated to modern standards to harmonise with the other parts of the house which all received its caring touch to make this house a lovely and welcoming warm home for our dear customers.

 

Check out the video below for a walkthrough of the newly completed family house:

Top 9 Advantages of a Part-Time FD

Top 9 Advantages of a Part-Time FD

Top 9 Advantages of a Part-Time FD/CFO

The quicker you want your company to achieve its goals, the sooner you should consider hiring a part-time FD or CFO.

That’s because a part-time FD or CFO will provide your company with the high-level financial expertise necessary to scale up (things you and your team may not even be aware you need), for a fraction of the cost of a full-time FD/CFO.

Hiring a part-time FD or CFO provides your company with many advantages that really help it to grow and stand out in any marketplace. But here are the top nine advantages you and your employees and stakeholders can expect when you hire a part-time FD/CFO.

  1. Cost-saving

By hiring a part-time rather than full-time FD or CFO, you can avoid the often-hefty recruitment and hiring costs (and the delays they inevitably entail). What’s more, you can hire a part-time FD or CFO for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. You won’t have to offer a benefits package or bonuses to retain the appointee.

  1. Strategic advice

Your part-time FD or CFO will provide you with strategic analysis and support on every financial aspect of your business. A report from the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) described CFOs as “critical to the success of start-up and early-stage growth companies” since they provide key insights.
It found CFOs play key roles in not only managing a young and fast-growing company’s finances but also in setting broader strategic goals and establishing and achieving financial and non-financial milestones.

What’s more, part-time CFOs or FDs can highlight potential threats or risks of which you and your team may be unaware or perhaps don’t know how to deal with.

  1. Flexibility

You can use the services of your part-time CFO or FD for what you need when you need it. That could be for a variety of different financial functions or a specific project. This means you and your CFO or FD can tailor the role to suit your company’s needs at any time.

  1. Multiple industry experience

Although you can choose to work with part-time CFOs or FDs who have direct experience in your given industry, you can also opt to work with those that have experience across multiple industries. The advantage will be that your CFO or FD will provide you with access to networks and multi-layered insights that you might not otherwise have.

  1. Crisis management

The loss of major contracts, customers or employees can be devastating for any business. Your part-time FD or CFO will be able to help you and your team navigate your way out of the crisis. This could include producing short-term cash flow reports, identifying costs that can be cut, producing new financial forecasts, and helping with raising vital funds.

  1. Sounding board

Running a company can often be a lonely, stressful experience for CEOs, according to the FD Centre’s Chairman Colin Mills in his book ‘Scaling Up How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash.[1]

He’s seen first-hand what pressure does to business owners.

“I’ve sat in sales meetings with entrepreneurs who had literally been brought to tears by stress and frustration and the feeling that it’s all too much.”

That’s where a part-time FD or CFO can help. He or she can act as an independent sounding board for the over-burdened, stressed-out business owner. With their ‘big business’ experience, it’s more than likely CFOs or FDs can provide solutions to what can seem like overwhelming problems to the CEOs of growing businesses.

  1. Mentorship for your team

Part-time CFOs help to establish sound reporting systems and tools that help improve reporting metrics and communications to investors. They can also act as mentors to members of your existing finance team, guiding them where necessary and providing the advice they need to rise to new challenges.

  1. Access to a national and international network

If you choose a part-time CFO or FD from an organisation like the FD Centre, you’ll benefit from the expertise from all the FDs in its worldwide network. That’s hundreds of years of experience in every aspect of finance—all for a fraction of the cost of employing a single full-time FD.

  1. You won’t get left behind

If you’re still hesitating about whether now is the right time to hire a part-time FD/CFO, consider the sorry tale of Kodak—a company that got left behind, despite once being one of the most powerful companies in the world.

Kodak was once known for innovation (being the creator of the Box Brownie camera, Kodachrome film and the Instamatic).[2] Here’s what’s remarkable—a Kodak engineer Steve Sasson developed the world’s first digital camera way back in the mists of time (actually, 1975). Okay, it was the size of a toaster, took 20 seconds to capture low-quality images which had to be viewed on a TV. But still… it had the potential to disrupt the market massively.

The company poured billions into developing the technology to take photos using mobile phones and other digital devices but delayed acting on it due to fears digital technology would destroy its film and photographic developing business. It failed to act fast enough and to identify the opportunities posed by digital technology.

On January 19, 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection 2012, then exited its legacy businesses and sold off its patents.[3] It re-emerged in 2013, albeit in a vastly slimmed-down version of its former self.

If you want to avoid becoming a post-script or salutary tale in your market, appoint a part-time FD or CFO. He or she will provide you and your team with strategic help and advice to recognise threats and to seize opportunities—thanks to vast experience and expertise.

The CFO Centre (and CFO Centres) offer the services of part-time FDs or CFOs with big business experience who can use what they know to help your company achieve rapid yet sustainable growth. What’s more, they’ll help remove fear, confusion, and stress from the entire process.

To discover how the FD Centre (or CFO Centre) will help your company to scale up, please call us on 0800 169 1499 or contact us here.

How it works

The CFO Centre’s part-time FDs use a proven framework known as the ‘12 Boxes’ to identify where the problems are within any business. They use it to review every aspect of your company finance function and identify every problem area.

They will help you to understand your company’s finances and not only eliminate cash flow problems and identify cost-savings but also to improve profits.

They can also help you and your team to understand your main profit drivers; find and arrange to fund; identify your Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), help you to expand nationally and internationally; and build value to make your business more attractive to investors or buyers. To discover more about the 12 Boxes, click here.

Need help?

To find out how an FD Centre part-time FD or CFO will help your business, contact us now on 0808 164 8902. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time FDs, click here.  You can see how they add rocket fuel to any business here.

What people are saying

People are talking about what they really think of the FD Centre’s part-time FDs. Find out what they’re saying on these short videos here.

Where are you going wrong?

You can identify strengths and weaknesses in your business in just four minutes with our Scale Up and Exit Business Assessment. Just answer a brief series of questions, and you’ll receive a customised page report that will reveal potential current or future pain points for your business. It will also help you to rate the performance of your finance function and uncover untapped opportunities for growth. Take your Scale Up and Exit Business Assessment now.

Got a Big Question?

Have a burning question for one of our team of FDs? Just ask it here, and you’ll get an answer within 24 hours. The question must be finance-related (sadly, they can’t predict who will win Wimbledon).

[1]Scale Up: How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash’, Mills, Colin. BrightFlame Books, 2016

[2]The Moment It All Went Wrong for Kodak’, Usborne, David, The Independent, https://www.independent.co.uk, January 20, 2012

[3]Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology’, Anthony, Scott D., Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org, July 15, 2016