Acting as your Finance Director
We provide professional FD (finance director) support to SMEs who could not afford a full-time experienced FD. This service is tailored to the needs of the client to allow it to be well focussed and cost effective.
Typical examples of this work includes ongoing cash flow management, all financial aspects of the business’s operations and reporting as well as a hands-on senior finance expert to whom the company has ongoing access. A non-financially trained business owner is often grateful for the perspective and financial expertise that can be brought to the company in this way. One-off assignments and/or other roles such as HR or IT are often added to the brief of the FD in which we also have expertise.
Unlike some providers of FD services we embed ourselves in the business in order to provide the depth of support that is invaluable to SMEs.
The Finance Director is a key member of your senior management team. The right one will remove barriers to your growth and have the gravitas to inspire confidence in staff, investors and stakeholders. In SMEs they think strategically, act commercially and are highly analytical. They are just as comfortable contributing to Board Meetings as they are getting into the detail and helping their team achieve their goals.
We believe that there are ten functions that the FD can perform for you.
|Function||What a good FD should do|
|Act as a sounding board||Be the confidante of the CEO.
Listen empathetically and provide financial intelligence and wisdom.
|Think strategically||Ensure that financial plans and the business’s tactics are aligned to strategic objectives which are themselves clearly identified.
Identify opportunities for increasing value.
|An understanding of the market, marketing and branding||Businesses will only thrive if the right product or service is aligned to the right market and projected properly into it. The FD can bring objectivity to this key area especially in budgeting and accountability of investment in marketing.|
|Act commercially||Ensure that all significant contracts enhance the cash flow of the business. Negotiate them where appropriate, especially with the raising of debt and equity and sale of the business.
Ensure the focus is on gross profit not turnover.
|Provide visibility||Show the effects of new projects.
Develop financial models that are accurate accessible and complete, showing changes to value and cash as well as profit.
|Report clearly||Intelligently assess and present the results of the business.
Ensure that everyone understands the results and what they mean for the business.Identify the right KPIs.
Relate results to key non-financial data.
|Control the finance||Make sure that there are systems in place which safeguard the assets without strangling the business.
Strong cash flow management without alienating customers or suppliers.
Be the focal point of budgets that are ‘owned’ and understood by department heads.
Control risks and mitigate as far as possible.
|Lead the finance function||Understand the capabilities of the finance team and, where appropriate, mentor and develop them. Build and adapt systems to get more accurate data faster.
Work with advisers to get the best additional advice from them.
|Support innovation||It may be counter intuitive but the good FD will encourage innovation and new thinking but innovation should still be owned and accountable.|
|Be a great encourager||As a person who can get into the detail, the FD is able to understand underlying issues in both the business and in specific roles and is well placed to offer encouragement, support and mentoring.|
(Based on and adapted from research by FD Solutions, the flexible Finance Director Service and used with permission)
David joined our family owned company as a non-exec director and quickly brought new insights to us. He worked closely with me (as Chairman) and my cousin (the Managing Director) to identify areas that were holding the business back such as remote family shareholdings. We created a Board structure, better delegation and good business planning. A management buy-out was achieved which put the company on a sustainable footing and aligned interests much more effectively. The business was then able to grow much more effectively into a strong and happy team. – Christoper Foster, Chairman, Noble & Taylor.
Sean really impressed me. He was the FD for my business during a year of rapid growth. During this time he brought our finance function in-house from a third party accountancy and put in place strong controls and processes allowing our team to get a better understanding of the business and make more informed decisions. Sean was responsible for a range of areas including tax, corporate finance, and bookkeeping/accounting. One of the things I like most about working with Sean is that he always has a positive and proactive attitude to any challenge put in front of him and adapts quickly to the needs of the business. I can strongly recommend Sean to anyone looking for reliable, professional, and smart support on any aspect of finance. – Managing Director, London.
I have seen the impact John has had on those organisations that he has supported in both executive and non-executive roles. John’s pragmatic and hands on approach helps to guide small and medium sized organisations through difficult, complex situations and enables them to operate more effectively. John is also an excellent communicator and is able to successfully manage the demands of multiple stakeholders simultaneously. Because of John’s passion for the organisations that he works with his clients receive a huge amount of value from John’s input and insight. – Daniel Maycock.