Oliver Barkes


An experienced accountant, Oliver Barkes has been a Finance Director for over 30 years in a variety of companies including privately owned SMEs. In addition to strategic and operational responsibilities, he has experience in fund raising, reorganisations and has carried out a number of acquisitions and disposals. As a Management Accountant and Corporate Treasurer, he has been in a number of responsible positions throughout his career and he can apply his experience and analytical skills to a wide range of business situations and sectors including: Advertising and Marketing, Manufacturing, Printing, Engineering, Financial Services and more recently Education & Training.


Oliver qualified as a Management Accountant with Morgan Stanley International and, after completing his training in the ‘City’ he worked as an Internal Auditor for an International Manufacturing Company to gain broader accounting and overseas experience. This led to a promotion to become the Finance manager of the UK subsidiary where he gained operational finance and staff management experience. During this time Oliver got more involved in Balance Sheet management, cashflow, Foreign Exchange (FX) and treasury management. The knowledge he built allowed him to move into the treasury department of advertising company WPP Group, as the UK Treasurer, overseeing the cash management and FX activities of its UK subsidiaries. At the same time, he qualified as a full member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Oliver`s next role was a European Treasurer for Avery Dennison, moving the treasury department from the Netherlands to the UK, revising and improving their systems. A number of treasury roles followed before becoming a consultant and then a Finance Director for group of SMEs undergoing a financial turnaround.

During his career, Oliver has applied his vast treasury skills when with SMEs under financial pressure or distress. In many of these situations he has been successful in using his skills to either enable them to grow, attract investment or prolong the life of the companies, often saving many jobs as a result.

He is flexible and a resilient self-starter, working well either alone or as an effective team player.  He is a goal-driven individual, action-orientated with a can-do attitude and a fine eye for detail.

Over the course of his career, he has focused on:

  • Business Planning – extensive financial modelling experience in developing short term day to day cash management strategies to 3 to 5 year business plans which link to budgets and financial results. The plans have also been used as part of vendor sales processes and for testing bank covenants.
  • New business set up– founding director of a leading education business, actively involved in all operational and financial start up activity.
  • Cash-flow – as part of an interim management role, developed short and medium term cash-flow projections to enable business to understand intensive working capital demands of long manufacturing/inventory cycle, and to fund additional working capital through combination of debt finance sources.
  • Raising Finance – for investment projects including major manufacturing sites, refinance existing facilities, equity and bond investment
  • Due-Diligence and Acquisitions – carried out due diligence for acquisitions of small and medium sized businesses. Negotiation with the vendors and structuring the transactions.
  • Business Turnaround – Overhaul cash management procedures and financial forecasting. Negotiating and managing the HMRC arrears position. Identifying and introducing KPI’s to manage business more effectively.
  • Buy/Sell Business– disposal of engineering businesses for a plc as part of a debt reduction program. Acquired education businesses to move into new business areas to broaden the offer and de-risk the business.

Case Study


Case StudySubsidiary facing closure following a poor Ofsted inspection.

This resulted in the termination of certain contracts.

The impact on the Group could have been significantly adverse.


This was to limit the damage that the subsidiary closure would have on the rest of the Group and try and retain as much business as possible. There was also the potential impact of significant adverse local publicity as young people and school children would lose their place of learning in the middle of an academic term.

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