One of the things that makes EFM’s outsourced Finance Directors and other Finance professionals effective is that they understand Finance’s ability to positively influence outcomes across the business – not just fulfil an accounting function. In our new Associate Mark Brown, we welcome to EFM another experienced FD with a track record of putting Finance at the heart of the business’s performance.
With wide-ranging experience across a number of sectors, including property, recruitment, and technology, amongst others, Mark has helped both start-ups and established SMEs to streamline their Finance processes to meet the wider needs of the business.
By his own admission, he thrives on change and continuous improvement, and is always “scanning the horizon” for more unified and automated solutions – in the cloud, for example – that can enable Finance teams and individuals to do more with existing resources.
Mentoring teams to adapt to these new systems and processes, and benefit from them, is second nature to Mark, as his work with start-up businesses has often involved introducing them to suitable procedures and technologies for the first time – or indeed helping them to unpick the complexities of existing “best efforts” approaches, and transform them using more systematic or automated tools.
In the same vein, Mark values the importance of being able to communicate the intricacies of Financial data and report it in straightforward fashion to suit the audience – whether it’s Finance or non-Finance teams, the Board, investors, banks, lenders, or others.
By creating separate, highly visual stories that speak to each audience’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Mark demonstrates both where performance has hit targets, where not, and what must change.
This approach has served Mark well in scenarios ranging from bank loan negotiations, to cash flow management for large construction projects, business case evaluation, management of property sales and purchases, the introduction of specialist software to streamline accounting and sales processes, and many more.
What Mark will help EFM to do
Mark’s approach to Finance is resolutely cross-functional, so like all our Associates he will work closely with CEOs, business managers, line managers, owners, shareholders, and other stakeholders to ensure that, as he puts it, he “has the meetings to explain and frame the parameters”.
Spotting strategic opportunities and the potential for revenue upside will also be a focus for Mark, as he explores multiple business growth scenarios and translates these into forward planning, underpinned by regular cash-flow forecasting and anticipated-versus-actual reporting.
Indeed, embedding this kind of financial discipline in the business’s processes in general is very much what Mark stands for. As he observes, there comes a point when the lack of it can cause operations to unravel, and it is better to put it in place from the start rather than correct what’s grown up around it organically later on (although in reality, he’s well practised in doing the latter, too!)
But it’s important not to confuse Mark’s dedication to financial discipline with staid traditionalism – far from it. He is clear that, at EFM, he will be committed to helping businesses work smarter, not harder, by exploring powerful tools for making financial data instantly accessible and usable – “running in the background all the time,” as he puts it – and ensuring that both technology and teams are doing what they do most productively.
In his own words
Mark says: “I am very excited to join the EFM network, which has revolutionised the way SMEs access and benefit from cost-effective Financial Management expertise. I’m delighted to be part of a team that can be truly instrumental in enabling SMEs to succeed – not just fulfil their financial compliance obligations.”
“I’ll be bringing all my previous experience, and my commitment to continuous improvement, to bear, as I help Finance teams deliver better business outcomes for my clients.”
Click here to view Mark Brown’s EFM Profile.