Breadth of experience and a wide-ranging skillset are things we value highly in our network of outsourced Finance Directors (FDs), CFOs and other Finance professionals – after all, our SME clients need them to be much more than “just accountants”. New associate Grant Bisset has these qualities in spades, having led and managed Finance and related functions across Investment banking, private equity firms, international payment companies, and high-growth SMEs
About Grant Bisset
A 30-year veteran of senior Finance roles in both the UK and South Africa, Grant is clear that a successful FD or CFO must wear two hats. On the one hand, owner of “bread and butter” financial systems, processes, deadlines, and compliance. On the other, leader of business growth. And this is true, he says, whether the business is a large corporate, an SME, or a startup.
He finds growth exciting and has gained a reputation for working energetically to support it, by cooperating closely with management, building strong Finance teams, raising investment, and liaising with banks.
But he’s also quick to point out that whatever the nature and size of the business, gaining a strategic understanding of that business, how it operates, what its markets are, and how its people engage with it, comes first and foremost. To this end, he’s as much about listening and looking – particularly in the early stages of a role – as he is about doing.
That said, when it comes to the doing, he brings with him the best of two very different worlds: the ability to manage complexity born of his lengthy corporate background, and a thorough understanding of SME challenges and opportunities born of over ten years’ work in small private equity firms dealing exclusively with SME clients as well as direct operational involvement with their portfolio companies
What Grant will help EFM to do
Wearing the first hat, Grant will enable EFM’s clients to effectively manage and control all aspects of their financial resources, and to fulfil all their financial compliance and reporting obligations.
But he will certainly also add value beyond this, bringing what he calls “financial polish” to the processes of management information (MI), budgeting, forecasting, and reporting.
It’s an area SMEs and startups typically need particular help with, he says. “SMEs often have fantastic ideas, but where they frequently don’t have expertise is in financial processes, so they struggle to project, report and communicate effectively to meet the differing needs of diverse stakeholders – including lenders, investors, partners, and banks.”
This, in turn, leads him to don his second hat, which will enable EFM’s clients to improve their business performance by executing on growth plans, obtaining funding and investment, optimising cash flow and working capital management, as well as giving strategic growth support to management and the Board.
And throughout, Grant will keep it all as frictionless and productive as possible thanks to his working mantra: trust and dependability.
“I don’t micromanage,” he says. “I make sure people have the tools to do the job, and any guidance they might need – this is really important in an SME environment where people working on Finance may not necessarily be Finance specialists. Once I’ve done that, I simply trust them to get on with it. If they hit a problem, they flag it, because they trust me to help them solve it.”
In his own words
Grant says: “Energy and curiosity are what make me tick, and EFM combines both. There’s a wide range of SMEs hungry for new impetus to help them grow, and a spread of sectors that each come with interesting new perspectives and learnings.”
“But ultimately, what I applaud about EFM is its ability to deliver Finance expertise to smaller businesses as and when they need it, without the salary bill of a full-time FD or CFO. Even in more stable times, this was a game-changer; now, in a challenging economy, for many smaller businesses it’s a godsend.”