An experienced and approachable Finance Director, Jonathan is passionate not only about helping SMEs to overcome their challenges and achieve the best possible outcomes, but guiding them through growth and scale-up phases too.
He has over 18 years’ experience in senior finance roles and in providing advice across various sectors in crisis management, business turnaround, growth, exit planning, refinancing and M&A.
Jonathan’s career has taken him from a Big 4 accountancy firm to a major international bank to working in a number of restructuring and turnaround roles, with significant focus on the SME market. He has also engaged with local SME businesses on a voluntary basis, giving up his free time to mentor and coach them, and help them grow.
This varied background and broad skill set means he is well-equipped to advise and work with all manner of clients, whether they be growing, changing, under-performing, or requiring restructuring.
As EFM’s Operations Director as well as an EFM Associate FD, he fulfils a business leadership role himself every day, and so is adept at engaging with business owners and their boards.
Jonathan is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has spent his career in senior finance roles in SMEs and in consultancy roles advising both challenged and growing businesses, including start-ups looking to exit. His career highlights include, amongst others:
- Supported Fin-tech start up with seed funding round by providing financial modelling and advice, leading to successful £1.6m raise.
- Mentor to a health start up, supporting through pre-seed round and coaching the founder as they moved into a seed round.
- Finance Director for a group of management consultancy, HR and recruitment businesses helping to grow from c.£3m to £5m in a three-year period and achieving 30% operating margins.
- Finance Director/Turnaround Director for a start-up marketing and events businesses requiring an exit plan having suffered a 25% fall in revenue. Jonathan implemented a recovery plan to underpin sales performance and restructure the cost base to maintain profits and maximise the company value, more than doubling the business valuation upon sale as a result.
Crisis Management and Re-financing
- Jonathan acted as Finance Director/Advisor to a large education provider in south London which was facing a cash crisis and imminent closure. Jonathan worked with the Board to generate short term cash which allowed a longer-term plan to be formulated and a later re-financing of the business by an international education group.
Due Diligence for SME investment
- Jonathan acted as Senior finance advisor to a private equity/alternative lender group in the South West which targeted either challenged or growth SMEs requiring short-term financing and longer-term investment. During this role, Jonathan worked with a number of SMEs across various sectors including book binding, groundworks, food and leisure, and hotels producing cash flow and integrated financial forecasts for the businesses and advising the lender regarding its proposed investments.
Banking, Risk and Turnaround
- Relationship Director in Barclay’s corporate team managing a portfolio of SME turnaround businesses and reducing the bank’s lending risk.
Business Advisory and Insolvency
- Jonathan spent five years in PwC’s restructuring team in London and the Thames Valley, advising mainly businesses in straitened circumstances and gaining experience in debt advisory, pension deficits, and insolvency.
“Jonathan Wheeler is an accomplished, experienced and extremely reliable finance specialist who has occupied the role of Finance Director for a number of years but also worked as a consultant, advising on complex financial issues. I have direct experience of his work in the education sector where he oversaw the financial system and processes of an institution in serious difficulty and, as a result, aided its recovery. He is also a very engaging person and an effective communicator who can explain complicated financial matters to non-specialists seeking advice and assistance. I most highly recommend him for senior roles in finance or as a key consultant on projects.”
Professor Sir Deian Hopkin
In 2019, a UK educational establishment was facing a bleak future. The organisation had always relied upon donations from its charitable foundation to break even and access to these funds expired in 2019. The business model (expensively rented campus, small group teaching, low student numbers) was loss-making without external funding. The institution was facing immediate closure if a solution could not be found.
The organisation had reached crisis point. It was hemorrhaging cash and would not be able to continue trading past January 2020, when a new cohort of degree students would arrive to begin their studies.
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