Santa: Why I Was Ghosted by Elon Musk & Faced an AI-Inspired Rebellion

Santa: Why I Was Ghosted by Elon Musk & Faced an AI-Inspired Rebellion

Guest Blog from Santa 

Santa: Why I Was Ghosted by Elon Musk & Faced an AI-Inspired Rebellion

Phew, just back from a sleigh test flight and nearly had a collision with one of those Space X rockets as it plunged to Earth!

Talking of Elon Musk, my offhand comment back in August  about the high cost of keeping my reindeers in shape resulted in a flurry of late-night tweets from the boss of Tesla. In the first one, he offered to solve ‘my reindeer problem’ by having his engineers design an electric sleigh – ooh isn’t he a giver!

The phrase about solving “my reindeer problem” sounded a bit ominous. But I was intrigued by the idea of an electric sleigh until I realised the production delay would mean the reindeers wouldn’t be able to come with me on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine what the fallout would be like if I made the reindeers redundant (or gave them unlimited ‘gardening leave’)? The Daily Mail would be on my case for EVER!!!

What’s more, Tesla cars can only do 539 km before their batteries need recharging. Ain’t gonna cut it Musk – on Christmas Eve, I travel about 510,000,000 km delivering presents to all the girls and boys around the world, and I only have 32 hours in which to do it.

After the 97th Tweet from dear Elon, I asked my Finance Director, David, for his thoughts about an electric sleigh and whether it made sense to investigate options. David’s the part-time FD we hired from the FD Centre—the one I mentioned last year.

He said an electric sleigh would need recharging over 946,000 times during my journey and given that each charge would take about 30 minutes, it would take me over 50 years to deliver this year’s presents. I don’t think any child, no matter how nice, could wait that long for Fingerlings Untamed Dinos or Lego’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Express, do you?

I sent a message to Mr Musk explaining that unfortunately his electric sleigh wouldn’t be practical in this situation. I was a bit worried about how he’d take the news—would he unleash a furious Twitter storm? What would he say about me?

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried because he never responded, He didn’t reply to my subsequent messages either—David said Mr Musk had obviously ghosted me!

Talking of delivering presents, it looked like the whole thing would have to be cancelled for the first time in hundreds of years. No, not because of climate change (well not yet, anyway) but because of the European Union’s new privacy law, the GDPR.

David asked me at the start of the year if I was “GDPR-compliant”. I said I was easy going but no push-over. Then I admitted I didn’t know what GDPR was, so I couldn’t say for certain. He explained the GDPR and told me it meant we needed to have the permission of every child in Europe and the UK to keep their personal details on file.

How I wondered. We have a decent budget—thanks to David helping us sort out our cashflow and expenses—but it doesn’t extend to a massive house-to-house campaign across Europe and the UK and beyond. Once again, David came to the rescue. He suggested I write to the children because, under GDPR, we don’t need permission to send a letter.

“For  once, you’ll be the one writing to children to ask them for something,” he said during our weekly Skype chat. “Quite a turnaround!” That made me chuckle!

So did the BBC reporter who rang to ask what I thought about Brexit.

“Let me begin,” she said, “by asking you whether you’re a Leaver or a Remainer?”

“Am I A. Lever or A. Remayner? No, I’m S. Claus,” I said. “That’s ‘S’ for Santa, as in Santa Claus. I thought you knew that.”

She tutted and then asked in a very frosty tone, “How will Brexit affect your Christmas deliveries, Santa? Will you have to apply for visas for every European country post-Brexit?”

“No need,” I told her with a chuckle. “I have a Santa passport which allows me visa-free travel to every country in the world.”

The workshop elves were just as icy later that week when I passed on David’s recommendation that we outsource some of the gift-wrapping and parcel sorting.

The atmosphere in the room was positively glacial as I explained that outsourcing would save time and funds.

“Are you going to bring robots in to do our jobs?” shouted one of the older elves, rolling up his sleeves as if getting ready for a rumble.

“No AI at HQ OK,” yelled someone at the back. Others in the room began to mutter, and I feared things were about to turn ugly.

I quickly told them what David had told me, that the money we saved from outsourcing those tasks would make us more efficient and allow us to increase their salaries and improve their accommodation.

That’s when the elves began to thaw.

Heartened, I carried on. “Mrs Claus didn’t like it when I told her David wanted us to hire a trained accountant.”

“’But I like doing the books,’ she said. ‘I’ve been doing them for over eight hundred years.’

“I know my dear, but I think we need to modernise.” I hadn’t meant to say the next bit, but it tumbled out before I could stop myself. “It’s time we went digital.”

That didn’t go down at all well.

“’Digital?’ It came out as a screech that made my ears ache. ‘Where will it end? Next you’ll be telling me that children can send you letters via WhatsApp. It will ALL go downhill from here; you mark my words, Mr Claus! Digital indeed.”

I decided not to tell her that children have been sending their Christmas wish list via text messages rather than letters for years. Here’s one I got a few minutes ago from a young man called Colin. “Santa RUOK? I’m GR8. B4N Colin” with a winking emoji and a link to his Amazon wish list . Google Translate says it means “Santa, are you okay? I’m great. Bye for now. Colin.”

It took some time to change Mrs Claus’ mind about going digital. But thanks to David (who patiently explained to her why doing several million data entries by hand wasn’t the best use of resources) Mrs Claus now appreciates that as a “scaleup” charity we need to be efficient, and for that to happen we need professionals to handle our finances, our Human Resources, our strategy, and so on.

I’ve hardly seen Mrs Claus since the accountant arrived. She’s out every day and most evenings making the most of her spare time—choir practice one morning, volunteering at a local elf hospital on another, reading to seniors, Zumba classes as well as evening classes in Tango, Esperanto for the Elderly and Car Maintenance for Non-Drivers.

As you can tell, hiring David as our part-time CFO has more than paid off. He’s helped us in countless ways… saved us enormous amounts of money, made us more efficient, and helped quell a rebellion from Mrs Claus and the elves. He even saved me from an electric sleigh and an uprising from the reindeers, not to mention a mauling on social media.

8 Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms – Part 3

8 Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms – Part 3

8 Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms

Over the last 2 weeks we have explored these 4 Profit Drivers;

  • Keeping Costs as Low as Possible
  • Highly Structured and Efficient Billing and Debt Collection
  • Marketing and Business Development Activities
  • Strong Cashflow Management

This week – let’s look at;

  • Retaining Quality Staff
  • Strong Financial Management

RETAINING QUALITY STAFF 

  1. In an ideal world, you would like to have the best quality staff all around in every dept in your practice. (Cause that is what your marketing says, isn’t it?)  Unfortunately, the best may be unaffordable, at a higher price tag.  Compromise is necessary.  It’s a balancing act between what would be considered the best by our clients, what we consider the best, and what our firm can afford.  There is that Return on Investment discussion, once again.
  2. Productivity of staff should be reviewed and discussed at least monthly, measuring performance against targets for both billing and time charged. Are these targets based on charge out rates and hours billed expectations or on a multiple of wage?
  3. Monthly recognition for those achieving target is encouraged.
  4. Make sure these targets are kept up to date at increase time, adhoc in year increases and other changes within staff. Its important that your staff feel they are measured against accurate up to date targets.
  5. To help reduce staffing costs: regularly review the option of outsourcing, in the areas of Transcription, IT support, HR, Payroll, Marketing, Admin support and Finance.
  6. For those growing firms who do not have the need or budget for a full-time highlevel CFO person, the part time option is a viable choice.

STRONG FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 

  1. Strong financial management includes ticking of as much as you possible can of the 8 Profit Drivers. In some cases, even just a regular conversation on that topic is necessary.  Financial management is awareness. Aware of our strengths and weaknesses which will eventually affect our bank account.
  2. Monthly Finance/BOD meetings should be held (after or before Debtors meetings – see previous profit driver) discussing at least:
  3. 5-9 KPI’s in the areas of the past months:
    1. Productivity for staff – Billing, Time: Highlighting high performers and concern areas
    2. Profit and Loss performances
  • Debtors and WIP iv. Departmental performance
  1. Projections to the rest of the financial year and after that
  2. Updates / Plans relating to staff which could affect productivity, billings or efficiency of staff.

Taking steps to action these 6 profit drivers could be “just too hard” or “too time consuming”.  For many these are beyond the capabilities of your bookkeeper, and may not be the area of expertise of your office manager/practice manager.

The best compromise could be a part time CFO, who specializes in customised financial support based on your budget and needs.  The cost is relative to a junior staff member, and the benefit can span expertise in many areas of business finance, ranging from:

  • Reporting and profit improvement,
  • working capital management,
  • cashflow management
  • planning and systems implementation
  • and maintaining or improving banking facilities.

You can find out more here: https://www.cfocentre.com.au/, where there are some great short animated videos providing additional support to grow your practice in many of the profit drivers mentioned in this series.  You can also contact us for a short 15-minute phone conversation to discuss your unique situation.

8 Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms – Part 2

8 Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms – Part 2

Last week we explored

  • Keeping Costs as Low as Possible
  • Highly Structured and Efficient Billing and Debt Collection

This week let’s look at

  • Marketing and Business Development Activities
  • Strong Cashflow Management

MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

  1. Generally, this function is considered a soft skill – and not something you may consider a “finance” area of focus. But as you know every area of business has some impact on the money, sometimes directly or indirectly.
  2. Do you know how much you are spending to recruit new clients (or even keep existing clients), and how does that compare to what your competitors are spending?
  3. Do you know which area/s of your marketing give more bang for your buck? Are you actually tracking it, or is a best guess? Is it networking, your static website, SEO and Google ads, or is it the alliances and referral partners that give you the best value for money.  Next question is; by how much?  Make sure you don’t have a “all your eggs in one basket” approach.  Spread your marketing focus.
  4. This may be a small part of your monthly finance meeting, but it’s a really important discussion, especially when looking at cutting costs (see previous article). Unbeknown to you, you need to avoid “biting the hand that feeds you”.

STRONG CASHFLOW MANAGEMENT

  1. As we all know, Cashflow is (absolute) King in business – especially legal firms with lumpy inflows, and especially those that work in the Personal Injury sector.
    1. Depending on the size of your firm, cashflow forecasts need to be updated and reviewed either weekly or monthly.
  2. Continuous, reliable up to date forecasts are absolutely imperative.
    1. These include short term: Family Law & Personal Injury Deferred payment cases settling dates and values as well as reasonable expectations relating to PI cases. (These require continuous communication and should include the staff member handling these cases)
    2. Long term: Reasonable expectations relating to increase in productivity as hourly rates increase or staff changes take place, matched with relevant outflows.
    3. Forecasts should be updated for at least 12 months in advance – even though the next 2-3 are the most reliable for cashflow forecasts. It important that these cashflow forecasts are updated based on what is actually taking place in the firm – not what we want to happen.  There is often a big difference between our target and what actually happens.
  3. The Silly season is an especially challenging time of year with billing generally low. Do your best to encourage staggered annual leave during the year (for legal / billing staff), especially between the mix of staff with school going children and without. Be prepared with a “money buffer” to withstand outflow commitments during this time.  What else can you do? If this won’t make enough of an impact to billing over those months, make sure start the conversation with your bank manager early, to avoid the last-minute bank account squeeze.
  4. Be particularly aware of the delayed BAS period for December payable in Feb, and the March quarter payable only two months later.
  5. Avoid the Tax-Man-Catch-up game, with regular check ins with your Tax accountant regarding tax expectations. Rather be “on the front foot” with tax saved during the year, and avoid those nasty year end shocks!

Taking steps to action these two” financial” profit drivers and the two from last week could be “just too hard” or “too time consuming”.  For many these are beyond the capabilities of your bookkeeper, and may not be the area of expertise of your office manager/practice manager.

The best compromise could be a part time CFO, who specializes in customised financial support based on your budget and needs.  The cost is relative to a junior staff member, and the benefit can span expertise in many areas of business finance, ranging from profit improvement, working capital management, cashflow management and maintaining or improving banking facilities. You can find out more here: https://www.cfocentre.com.au/ .  If anything, just a small 15-minute phone conversation could lead to driving more profit.

Keep an eye out for next week’s profit driver “bites” as we look into Retaining Quality Staff  And Strong Financial Management.

8  Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms

8  Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms

8  Guaranteed Profit Drivers for WA Legal firms

Overall, WA legal firms have had a slow and disappointing recovery from our mining boom days.  Legal practices Australia wide have shown signs of industry pressure in areas such as automation, outsourcing and the continual client pressure to adjust billing models, while still maintaining revenues and the pressure to improve profit.

With the average revenue growth spanning anything from 18% in Queensland and 10% in NSW, WA skimmed through, only just missing the not-so- “lucky-last” placing with a 6% revenue growth, just in front of South Australia which maintained revenue averages.

Unfortunately for our legal partners, revenue and revenue growth is not the only component to a successful firm and more importantly, money in the bank.  It’s a balancing act between profit and the ever changing lumpy cashflow commonly experienced by legal firms.  In fact, stats show us that in terms of profit growth, Western Australia came a definitive last in the profit growth race, with profitability actually being slightly worse than the year before.  Performances in profit growth ranged from 9% in ACT to a whopping 25% for NSW legal firms.

So, are we still being haunted by those high boom wages, with the added client pressures to price more competitively?

And what can our WA legal partners do to improve profit and reap short and long-term rewards of a hard-working legal career?

Macquarie Banks Benchmark industry results report indicate 8 Profit drivers to a successful legal firm.  These include the “touchy feely soft skills” as well as 6 other drivers that can be (and should be) regularly practiced and quantified.  The softer skills include;

  • Managing and developing client relationships,
  • And Excellent customer service

The other 6 profit drivers have a financial spin to them, and should be regularly reviewed by the firms finance team and CFO.  They include:

  • Keeping Costs as Low as Possible
  • Highly Structured and Efficient Billing and Debt Collection
  • Marketing and Business Development Activities
  • Strong Cashflow Management
  • Retaining Quality Staff
  • Strong Financial Management

 (You may be thinking how is a marketing function categorised with a financial spin?  And how do we talk numbers when “Retaining quality staff”.  Let’s explore these later….)

Unfortunately for those firms not considered “Top-end” and fit into the less than 50-60 staff, it is totally unpractical to employ a $160-$200k finance person to give support with these remaining 6 drivers!  So, what do these growing firms do?  How can they fulfil these while still supporting staff, handling cases and balancing the bank account?

For consistent support, let’s look at these in bite size chunks and explore what can be done.

KEEPING COSTS AS LOW AS POSSIBLE

  1. Do not leave the “where did our profit go” conversation to year end with your accountant? By that stage the horse has already bolted!  Past and future spending should be reviewed and discussed at least monthly or bi-monthly (depending on your firm).
  2. What is your mix of support staff wage to legal staff wage? How do you compare to legal profession benchmarks?   By reducing your spend in the human element, you may need to increase your spend in technology to improve efficiency.  With that in mind;
  3. How does your IT spend compare to your competitors? What is your sweet spot in the cost of technology and staff.
  4. To help reduce costs: regularly review the options of outsourcing, in the areas of Transcription, IT support, HR, Payroll, Marketing, Admin support and Finance

HIGHLY STRUCTURED AND EFFICIENT BILLING AND DEBT COLLECTION

  1. Highly effective systems are the key to an efficient billing cycle. Whether you are still billing mostly by hourly rate / moving towards fixed fee billing and/or retainers – you are still billing a value in exchange for the time for your staff.  Disciplined billing and debt collection is vital!
  2. A WIP & Debtors meeting should be held at least once a month between the partners / a partner, the CFO and the support staff member/s who play a role in Debtors follow up.
    1. Do you split your billing cut offs? Legal firms are renowned for lumpy inflows – by splitting some depts billing mid-month and others end of month – it should also spread out the inflows of receipts from debtors over the next month/s and relieve some pressure on your bank account.
    2. Are you actively tracking deferred payment cases for family law cases and keeping an eye on how many you are taking on?
    3. What about Personal injury cases? These projections should be updated at least once a month.

(These are important discussion points at your monthly Debtors meeting – as they can severely affect your cashflow projections, which we will cover later)

  1. Do you handle bad payers in house or is this outsourced?
  2. How do your average debtors’ days (time is takes on average to recover fees billed) compare to your competitors? (There is no need celebrating high billing months when your bank account is continuously crying to be topped up!)
  3. Be aware of the traditionally low billings of December / January, and how are you preparing for it now?

Taking steps to action these first two” financial” profit drivers can be “just too hard” or “too time consuming”.  For many these are beyond the capabilities of your bookkeeper, and may not be the area of expertise of your office manager/practice manager.

The best compromise could be a part time CFO, who is in the business of customised financial support based on your budget and needs.  The cost is relative to a junior staff member, and the benefit can span expertise in many areas of business finance, ranging from reporting and profit improvement, planning and systems implementation, maintaining and improving banking relationships and more. You can find out more here: https://www.cfocentre.com.au/ .  If anything, just a small 15-minute phone conversation could lead to driving more profit.

Keep an eye out for next week’s profit driver “bites” as we look into Marketing and Business Development Activities and Strong Cashflow Management.

Why are scale-ups more valuable than start-ups?

Why are scale-ups more valuable than start-ups?

What if Bill Hewlett and David Packard had never got out of that famous Palo Alto garage? If they’d stayed a two-person company, we’d likely never have heard of them – and the history of Silicon Valley would have been very different. Instead, at its peak in 2011, Hewlett Packard had nearly 350,000 employees around the world.

There are many small startups of the size Hewlett Packard was back in that garage, and it’s important for governments to encourage entrepreneurs to found companies. But the economic value of entrepreneurship isn’t in two-person startups. It’s in “scale ups” – companies that have hit a growth curve. Scale-up companies have particular value because:

Skilled workers have a chance to shine: Successful scale-ups are able to offer secure, well-paid jobs to highly skilled professionals, giving them a chance to build their skills even more.

Reliable jobs: Scale-up companies also need workers for a wide range of roles – ranging from payroll managers to marketing, sales and other support functions – and this provides work for people who work in the background to keep the company functioning.

Spinoff economic activity: Successfully scaled-up companies provide more than direct employment. They create spinoff activity, requiring support from their own supplier base while supporting their customers’ growth. They also become reliable tenants for property owners, and through their payrolls, they boost the tax base in their community.

Technological advancement: They can gather the financial resources and skills to invest in developing and commercializing new technologies.

Building other companies: Scale-ups also become reliable customers for companies that supply them with parts, components, and other inputs. This allows these vendors to provide reliable jobs, and they too create their own spinoff activity.

Our book “Scale Up” quotes business guru and venture capitalist Daniel Isenberg, “One venture that grows to 100 people in 5 years is probably more beneficial to entrepreneurs, shareholders, employees and governments alike, than 50 which stagnate at two years.”

This book points out that in many parts of the world, the focus for business growth is on helping start-ups succeed. People wanting to found companies find financial help, coaching, and other support through incubators and other institutions. “Scale Up” points out that startups are fun, exciting and sexy.

By contrast, the growth process is more of a hard slog. It’s not that common for a company to have a winning combination of a good idea or technology, along with the vision and determination, to grow past the “garage” stage into mid-size, scale-up stage. But when they do, there has not been the support network to help them successfully grow.  Governments and organizations are now recognizing the need to create an eco-system for start-ups to help enable them to Scale-Up.

The CFO Centre has worked with thousands of companies over the past 17 years. Using this experience and the experience of our clients in Scaling Up, we have identified the key attributes and requirements for a company to successfully Scale.  Over the coming weeks we will explore and explain our Scale-Up Framework.

Because so many companies either fail or have trouble scaling, you need to have every possible advantage on your side.

So maybe you’re not working out of a garage, as Hewlett and Packard were when they started. But to follow their success path, you need to change your thinking from a startup mentality to a scale-up. Success isn’t a matter of predestination – HP’s founders hit many failures before they found what worked for them – but it does help to have a roadmap –to help you on your journey.

The result is a company that is much more valuable when it comes time to move on to the next stage of your life and career.

Is your company ready for rapid growth and positioned to Scale-Up?

First mover advantage doesn’t go to the first company that launches, it goes to the first company that scales.”   – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn

Why The Gig Economy Is A Huge Opportunity

Why The Gig Economy Is A Huge Opportunity

Author: Steve Settle MA (Cantab) MBA FCA, Managing Director—Asia, CFO Centre

Despite what you may have heard, working on a contingent or freelance basis has many advantages that are just not available to full-time employees.

It’s easy to get despondent about your future job security and finances these days with doomsday predictions of the impact artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, machine-learning, robotics and nanotechnology will have on the world of work.

Back in 2013, two Oxford University researchers sounded the alarm for the future of work by predicting that 47% of US employment was in the high-risk category for being automated within two decades. That included jobs in transportation, logistics, office and administrative support, and the service sector.

Since then, barely a month goes by without an expert issuing a dire forecast about how the work we do now will soon be carried out by machines or robots, making us redundant long before we reach the statutory retirement age.

This fear of automation is nothing new of course. In the 17th century, for example, England’s Queen Elizabeth I refused to grant Reverend William Lee a patent for his revolutionary knitting machine for fear it would destroy the traditional hand-knitting industry. (Despite this, Lee’s machine would go on to improve rather than decimate the knitting industry. Parts of his design are still used in machines today.)

People also feared the worst when the first railways opened, believing they posed a threat to the social order of the day (poor people would be able to travel—nothing good would surely come of that!). They even suspected train travel was a danger to human life (people might die of asphyxiation or melt travelling at 20 miles an hour).

Likewise, the invention of the telephone terrified some people. In Sweden, for instance, preachers were convinced it was the instrument of the Devil and others feared telephone lines were conduits for evil spirits.

These stories just illustrate the point that our fears of innovation and change have always been with us.

It’s up to us whether we see them as a threat or an opportunity.

And let’s face it—it’s easier to accept innovation and change as opportunities than try to resist them. Trying to fight them is like standing on a beach and attempting to stop the waves coming in.

Unless we want to give up work altogether and live ‘off-grid’ in grim survival-mode, the best thing we can do is prepare for and take advantage of whatever innovation and change comes along.

Take, for instance, the ‘on-demand workforce’ or ‘gig economy’, in which the labour market is characterised by a plethora of short-term contracts or freelance projects rather than permanent jobs. It’s already a reality for many: a McKinsey Global Institute 2016 study found that 20-30% of the labour force in both the US and the EU are independent workers who are self-employed or do temporary work.

It will become a reality for so many more in the next few years, according to a 2015 study by the financial management software company Intuit.

To some, the prospect of leaving employment and working on one freelance project after another for a stream of different employers is terrifying. Where’s the financial security, they ask.

But to others like our team at The CFO Centre, working in a gig economy is the closest we will come to total freedom. We contingent workers see ourselves as being liberated from the constraints of paid employment. We are free to pick and choose our ‘gigs’ or assignments.

As with most things, of course, there are benefits, and there are drawbacks. Fortunately, the benefits of working on a contingent basis tend to outweigh the drawbacks.

Granted, we can no longer depend on the security of a monthly salary and the usual benefits of employment—the paid annual leave and sickness pay, the bonuses, and medical insurance, and other perks like company cars—are a thing of the past. So too is the protection of our workers’ rights by unions.

The career training we undertake to keep up with developments in our fields we now pay for rather having it come out of an HR budget.

And to some extent, we don’t have the pleasure of working with the same team of colleagues for prolonged periods like we once did.

But on the plus side, we enjoy a sense of autonomy that full-time employees will never have. We decide when we work, how long we work and for whom.

Our lifestyles are more flexible than they ever were as full-time employees. Suddenly, there’s more time to spend with family and even to follow a great passion, like travel, golf or photography.

We don’t have to commute to the same office day in, day out. We can hold meetings in a Starbucks if we want. Or sit on our couches at home and speak with clients wherever they are located in the world.

The financial rewards we receive are dictated by the amount of effort we put into securing and retaining contracts with individuals and companies and the value we subsequently provide, not by a job position or title.

You might think there’s no financial security working in this way but having five or six clients means that if for any reason we lose one, we still have the remainder – and, importantly, the skills with which to find new ones. There’s no doubt that this way of working takes some getting used to. It can be challenging in the beginning, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining clients. It’s not something we historically have experience of.

One of my overseas colleagues at The CFO Centre, for example, said his biggest challenge early on as a part-time CFO was learning to adapt from working as a Finance Director in a multi-national to working in a consultative, strategic role for SME clients. He realised after losing one or two contracts that his ‘full-on’ big corporate style was perceived as being too dictatorial by the owners of the medium-sized family-owned businesses.

Like so many of us working on a contingent basis, he had to adapt very quickly to survive. He learnt to offer advice rather than issue directives and work in a more relaxed style. Since accepting that things move slower in small organisations, he’s built up a portfolio of loyal clients.

And like so many of us working in this new way, he gets huge job satisfaction and fulfilment. Like us, he’s confident that in his role as a part-time CFO he’s helping many more companies to succeed than he would have done had he still been working for one multinational company.