For Michael O’Donnell, the key to successfully leading and managing Finance to build successful businesses is fourfold: go for growth, drive change, turn issues around, and focus relentlessly on the fundamentals – the order book, what the business owes, and cash-flow.
But for all his more than 25 years experience as a successful, multi-sector Finance Director (FD), working with both SMEs and large corporates – and his background as a Chartered Accountant – Michael isn’t just the numbers guy.
In fact, he’s a self-confessed people person, and prides himself on his ability to encourage and engage stakeholders at every level – from board room to shop floor – to rise to the challenges of change and turnaround, using transparent language they understand and value.
Coupled with keen commercial acumen and a determination to roll up his sleeves and get hands-on whenever needed, these skills are behind Michael’s proven track-record of delivering significant operational growth in businesses across Fintech, Publishing, Property development, and more.
Over the course of a career spanning several decades and multiple business sectors, Michael O’Donnell has worked alongside a broad spectrum of clients, from SME owners to AIM-listed companies, to high net worth individuals.
He has added value to their activities through, amongst others:
- New business set-up – Incorporating companies and putting in place all necessary banking, VAT, PAYE, Corporation and Construction Industry Scheme taxes (CT, CIS), and company secretarial arrangements, and by establishing efficient offshore structures, including Permanent Establishment and Transfer Pricing.
- Strengthening cash-flow – Enhancing customer collections, re-negotiating terms with suppliers, streamlining VAT returns.
- Risk-aware due diligence – Investigating companies targeted for investment; advising clients on methods of valuation and deferred consideration to reduce upfront cost, using efficient data room techniques.
- Continuity, strategy, turnaround – Reorganising systems and teams to improve on business continuity plans and align Finance to strategy; reviewing overheads and losses, and implementing critical cost reductions, based upon rigorous benchmarking and third-party industry and banking data.
- Delivering successful exit and sale – Achieving top- and bottom-line growth through the business life cycle to optimise valuation for business sale – including a London and New York publishing house sold for £27.5m.
“We were able to source an interim finance professional to undertake some due diligence for us on an investment opportunity, at reasonably short notice, on reasonable fees. Previously we would have just engaged a firm of accountants to do due diligence for us. However, working with EFM has enabled us to get a more in depth understanding of the financial position, and systems and processes, within the investee company, which we felt was a more helpful financial due diligence exercise. We have used EFM again since for other on-going projects”.
A London and New York SME sized publisher was seeking funds for a MBO. One of the founding shareholders was to be bought out by the co-founding shareholders through two Jersey based trusts. A corollary to the above was a subsequent reversal into an AIM listed shell company. The shape of the transaction was such that the vendors’ sale price was determined over a three year period. The proceeds were determined by an equal mixture of cash, guaranteed bank loan notes and equity in the listed company. Nine vendors of differing participation’s were involved in this process.
The quality of the existing accounting records were not up to the challenges of the background. The group suffered from poor cash flows allied with an inefficient corporate tax structure. The business included various loss making profit centres which management were unaware of.
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