With over 30 years’ background in finance and operations, in everything from a Norwich accounting practice to a private health insurance provider, and a Big Four professional services brand to a boutique estate agency, Finance Director (FD) Jon Pennells has managed just about every flavour of Finance challenge and opportunity across every size of business.
He’s refreshingly clear that the numbers are only valuable for the business story they tell – and that the story is itself only valuable if communicated simply and transparently to business owners and their teams, accompanied by insight into what it means for the future.
Indeed, working with people and teams to get the job done is what Jon is all about. Having led, for many years, project and task groups to constantly manage change and deliver improvement, Jon quickly recognised that developing people is “the most important piece of the role.” The right people doing the right things in the right way is, he says, a critical positive influence on financial performance.
But Jon’s also firmly focused on the business fundamentals – income maximisation, cash flow forecasting, cost control – and on putting technologies and processes in place to manage these smartly and efficiently.
About Jon Pennells
Jon Pennell’s commercial focus, and his determination that Finance should play a proactive role in strengthening the business’s performance, inform how he engages with his clients.
Continuous improvement ranks highly in his priorities, and it is this that has fuelled the many Finance projects he has instigated and led, both small and large, from change management, to improvement and even complete digital transformation of systems and processes.
Strategy and measurement are, equally, staples of Jon’s approach, but he keeps things simple, to engage and involve stakeholders at all levels. As he explains to them, it’s about “knowing where the business wants to go, how it’s going to get there, and where the money is coming from to achieve those objectives” – nothing more complex than that.
Jon also has long experience of developing the key performance indicators (KPIs) that underpin these goals – through tough times and good.
What Jon will help EFM to do
Jon is equally at home being the Finance team, building the Finance team, and leading the Finance team.
These skills will stand him in good stead when working with the many EFM clients that have little or no Finance expertise in-house, as well as with those seeking to upskill the teams they already have.
Key to this, on a day-to-day level, will be Jon’s ability to communicate helpfully and understandably with stakeholders of all levels of Finance literacy.
But more strategically, he will also bring to the table his usual determination to delve into a business’s workings, and truly understand its model, its uniqueness, and the problems that it solves – as well as, of course, its challenges.
And Jon will apply his trademark open-mindedness to the job in hand, championing diversity and inclusivity, and embracing new digital channels of communication and collaboration to accelerate better outcomes – both of which he’s done in many previous roles.
In his own words
Jon says “Working with EFM gives me the opportunity to bring the fruits of more than 30 years in senior Finance roles within the reach of small and medium enterprises and startup businesses, without burdening them with an unaffordable, full-time FD salary.”
“And as EFM has clients across all sectors and specialisms, engaging with them all will require me to be flexible and to adapt – a prospect that, with my background in change management, I absolutely relish!”