An immediate need arose to undertake the FD role on an interim basis whilst the business carried out a detailed recruitment exercise to identify and select a suitable candidate to project manage a major systems implementation project.
The Group Director responsible for arranging cover was already aware of EFM’s ability to provide a range of experienced candidates at short notice to take on interim and project roles. Terms were agreed quickly with an immediate start date to ensure ongoing monthly and year-end financial reporting deadlines would be met.
It was vital that full financial control and management was maintained, together with the delivery of ongoing analytical support to the divisional board. Tight cash management and credit control was also required. Additionally, the year-end information pack also had to be put together for the Auditors along with the incoming year’s budget being finalised and incorporated in the MI reporting process.
Along with an extremely fast learning curve, with no direct hand-over period, it was key that the Finance Team was also supported and encouraged to contribute to meeting reporting deadlines.
In the circumstances there was no substitute initially for building an understanding of the workflow process and how this integrated with the business’s existing financial reporting approach.
The initial phase was therefore hands-on, working with the Finance Team to identify and assess all the data sources and inputs for completing the monthly MI reporting pack with KPI analysis.
Another important element was to test key Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet areas, Debtor & Creditor balances & ageing, Fixed Assets Register, Finance Agreements, Tax, and Stock. From this and a further review of the key P&L drivers, confidence in the reported results and the financial processes was confirmed. This provided a sound base from which to review and refine both financial and operational MI reports whilst maintaining the overall group and divisional reporting structure.
In a difficult change situation, the cover and continuity of the finance function was provided at short notice with a pre-agreed approach. Key areas were identified including a greater focus on credit control and improving the aged debtor profile which was delivered through a targeted focus on accounts both in terms of debt size and ageing beyond agreed terms.
Through a period of external uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, monthly and annual accounts were generated within reporting deadlines. Additional workload covering re-forecasting was covered enabling a clean and gradual hand-over to the newly recruited incoming Finance Director.
“From the moment Jonathan started up at Flexipol, he exercised a high degree of independence and worked autonomously. With the incumbent having just left the company, Jonathan just got on with the role and only came to me when he needed questions answering.
It’s worth mentioning that he arrived right at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, so the entire Flexipol finance team was working remotely at home. He’s a very amenable character and never came across any obstructions. Jonathan completed his projects with a very strong work ethic and engaged with the rest of the team positively and promptly.”
Mark deMeza, Executive Director, Flexipol
EFM Expert: Jonathan Drew