Accounting and Finance
I work with clients who want an experienced professional that they can rely upon to be part of their team, and who brings commitment and clarity to the table. My clients are typically in a period of growth, who could really use need the services of a qualified professional accountant, with years of experience, but they are not yet in a position to employ someone of that calibre.
For these companies, with a bit of smart working, their needs can often be met by a part time outsourced financial controller or accountant. They need accounting information that goes beyond what is required to comply with annual tax and company returns. They may have to provide information to investors, shareholders and lenders in differing formats on a regular basis. I can provide monthly, quarterly or annual accounts as appropriate. Files can be prepared for your auditors and tax advisors and I can either work with your own advisors or provide a seamless service with a reputable accounting firm that I work with.
Some clients just need a system designed to give management or the Board accurate, relevant and timely information, and I can do this as a one-off project and provide staff training as well.
In order to be more accessible and timely for my clients, I use online accounting software together with other online tools for meetings and exchange of information.
My clients want to have an experienced finance person on their team, who can handle the bureaucracy that goes with company growth, and can also make a valuable contribution to management and decision making. In short, they want someone who can make the hard stuff simpler.
Fees are agreed and fixed in advance of all projects, so you won’t have any surprises.
Accounts and the language of business
Accounts are one of the most used and least understood of business tools. At their simplest, accounts show a company’s income and lists the expenses. When your income exceeds your expenses, you make a profit. When your expenses exceed your income, you make a loss. Simple.
However, where accounts fail for most people, is to answer some simple questions beginning with “why” or “what”. Questions like:
- Why did we not make more money?
- What was our most successful product line?
- What was the effect of the last month’s flood on our business?
- Who are our best customers? (Good customers are not not necessarily the ones who order most from you).
There are two things you need to be able to answer these questions:
- A set of accounts that accurately captures business details every day, in a way that can be rolled up and sliced to answer many questions every week, month, year and as needed
- An accountant who can set up and monitor your system, extract the reports that answer your questions and use them to manage your business with you.
Moving from Accounts to Business Intelligence
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said”. Peter Drucker 1909 – 2005
There’s been a revolution in the accounting world. Yes, it is possible to have an accountant who understands your business, who speaks your language and who can help you to manage your business. Accountants need to at least have an appreciation of what the guys in marketing, purchasing and every other department do, before they can hope to account for it. This is why, when I worked in manufacturing industry, I had steel toe capped shoes in my office, for the trips around the factories to talk to the shop floor workers. It isn’t enough to report that the margin is down, it’s important to find out why and improve upon it.
Most often, it’s the simple things that let us, and the profits, down. Are your biggest customers your most profitable ones? Is the place where cash is counted cleared first, so that cash doesn’t, (literally), get lost in other paperwork? Do you know what all the direct debits are for and are they for services you still want? Did you actually receive the discount you agreed with your supplier?
I start with the simple things. I learn about your business first, how it works and what the important issues are. I also learn who you need to report to, shareholders, investors, lenders as well as Revenue or other stakeholders. I set up an accounting system to record details that can be analysed in lots of different ways. One well set up system can answer many questions, even the ones you haven’t asked yet. I keep in touch with you and your staff, I’m on your team. I don’t do book-keeping but I make sure that it is optimally set-up and that there are systems in place to maintain your books properly.
Together, we will keep the big picture in mind, to ensure that your business is growing and profitable in that way that it is intended to be. Otherwise, we’ll know the reason why and correct it.
Financial control involves ensuring that your optimise your profits. It’s about ensuring that the most amount money comes in as quickly as possible with the reverse for payments out. It’s about having a management system and staying on top of it as your business develops and the business world changes. Every decision you make in your business will have a financial impact, and most of those decisions will happen outside of finance, so your accounting system needs to pick up on what is happening.
I provide outsourced financial control for your business and work with you and your staff to manage your finances. A more complete financial control package includes not just accounts preparation, but also includes actively targeting financial improvements both internally and externally such as customer targets, margin improvement and grant or funding applications.
Find out More
If you would like to find out more about accounting services for your business, please contact me.