Nov 22nd 2023

Preparing a High-Growth Finance Firm for Additional Funding and a Clear Path to Profitability- Timeline Case Study

The company was no stranger to VC investment, having successfully secured seed funding from 2018, and Series A funding in 2022, but Series B would require a more rigorous process.

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Oct 10th 2023

Flexible Finance Expertise when the pressure is on- Paint Manufacturer

With extensive experience across all aspects of accounting, financial management, financial analysis, controllership, and regulatory compliance – and a track record of turning financial losses around – Mark is no stranger to complexity or urgency, and this project certainly required him to hit the ground running.

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Aug 14th 2023

Bridging the finance gap to take a thriving business forward

The well established, multi-site business operates early-years nursery care in the Midlands, with a small Finance team that had performed well under the leadership of an experienced FD.  However, when that FD decided to move on, the company needed to take responsible measures to ensure its Finance function would continue to benefit from an experienced FD until a permanent replacement could be found.   For this, they turned to EFM Associate Simon Finbery, whose extensive background in both financial services and SME accountancy proved an excellent fit for the role.  The position involved not only managing the Finance affairs of the business itself but bringing in-house the financial management of a charitable organisation that the business supported, using the business’s own systems and processes.   To this end, Simon oversaw substantial rework and realignment of the charity’s existing accounting procedures and data, working closely with its management team, in addition to his “day job” of performing the business’s FD role. 

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Jun 12th 2023

A higher degree of flexible finance helps London uni thrive

When Richmond American University in London approached EFM Associate Jonathan Wheeler towards the end of 2021 to strengthen their Finance function as interim CFO, they knew his skills would deliver results. He had previously headed up a major project in 2019 that had seen the University secure further funding to enable it to continue its growth. 

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Mar 2nd 2023

Profiting from Financial Discipline from Day One Recruitment Start-Up

With a wide-ranging Finance background across multiple sectors, but also specific experience of resolving the Finance challenges facing start-ups, EFM Associate Mark Brown was brought in as consultant Finance Director (FD) by London-based digital recruitment agency?Futureheads Recruitment. His role: to put in place, on a part-time basis, the systems, processes, and financial discipline to underpin the business’s embryonic but innovative offering – and lay solid foundations for growth. 

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Jan 4th 2023

Optimising Credit Control to Ready a Business for Further Funding

A forward-thinking UK Fintech business punching well beyond its weight in both the domestic and international markets was entering the next exciting funding phase to support its continuing rapid growth.  To ensure the business’s financials were fit for it to succeed in the next funding round – and with only a small UK team to look after both Finance and more strategic customer relationship and business development responsibilities – it needed the flexibility and accessibility of an outsourced CFO who could prepare the business for a funding round, including robust finance processes and maximising balance sheet strength.  For this reason, the business turned to Richard. 

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Oct 18th 2022

Construction Brand Stepping into the Breach as Finance Director

Martin Allen’s broad experience as not only a Finance professional but also as a business manager stood him in good stead when he was brought in from EFM at short notice to replace the part-time Finance Director (FD) of a respected UK construction materials business, on that FD’s recommendation. 

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Aug 4th 2022

How EFM helped BCM Agency grow a unique marketing business

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Jul 12th 2022

A successful exit strategy- How Pure Washrooms were sold with EFM support

Set up in 2003, Pure Washrooms was third-party funded and run by two directors with equal shareholding. Glyn Abba, an experienced EFM Finance Director with multi-sector expertise, was introduced to the company in 2013 by EFM’s Managing Director, Gary Jesson. Glyn acted as FD, working for Pure Washrooms one day per week initially on business plans, cash flow analysis and management accounts, as well as enabling the directors to withdraw earnings in more tax-efficient ways.

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May 11th 2022

Distressed Financial Management for Education based SME

Unfortunately, the Educational based SME was in severe cash flow difficulties and facing imminent insolvency and an application to appoint the Official Receiver.  The CFO was leaving prior to the application and the company required immediate and short term financial expertise and oversight and help to ensure a smooth handover to the Receiver. 

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Mar 10th 2022

Implementation of a Successful New Operating Model to Overcome Regulatory Challenges

In the wake of complex regulatory changes in the banking industry, Paul took on the task of implementing a new operating model that would transform the way the business worked, yet enable it to continue functioning effectively and profitably.  At the same time, Paul needed to ensure that well-established relationships with over 600 clients were protected through significant contractual and pricing changes, and that those clients could continue to expect and receive at least the services and service levels they had benefited from before.  This was no ordinary change management exercise, however. The MiFID II reforms at the heart of the changes were fundamentally unclear and highly fluid, yet, at the same time, extremely time-sensitive.  From a place of uncertainty and pressure, Paul had to produce progress and stability – a big ask, whatever the size of the business! 

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Feb 4th 2022

Funding, Growth & Trade Sale

Following a request from an angel investor, Finance Director Richard Preston was brought in to review the finances of an Offshore/ International start-up investment platform, and to identify and implement sources of additional funding to achieve stretching goals.  Making good use of Richard’s extensive experience and wide-ranging skill set, the business subsequently also invited Richard to join the Board as non-exec Chairman.  In this role, he informed and underpinned the company’s growth strategy, direction of travel, and investor objectives, ultimately guiding the founders to a successful launch as a regulated company that became an award-winning market leader. 

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Feb 2nd 2022

Finance Function Restructure for a global insurance brand

As newly appointed UK FD for a global insurance brand, Richard Preston inherited a finance team that was in disarray and poorly regarded within the Company.  Pulled in too many directions at once, the team lacked focus and selectivity, which resulted in an incessant rush to keep on top of core procedures from one period to the next, with no intervening opportunity for reflection, critical thinking, or continuous improvement.  The same issues were also evident in the company’s operations outside the UK, so Richard’s solution would have to be geographically adaptable as well as measurably effective. 

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Aug 16th 2021

SaaS Business

A venture capital investor had committed seed and first round funding to a SAAS company without a finance director.  The VC’s investment was contingent on an FD being appointed, while the Managing Director was oblivious to the benefits an FD could bring to his business and resistant to what he considered would be outside interference.  I was approached to work with the MD for an initial trial period of three months, delivering one half day each month, and ongoing email and phone support. 

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Jun 25th 2021

EFM Finance Director, Neil Outram, shares his story of founding a business

On leaving the global engineering and construction group, Alstom Thailand in June 2010, I began evaluating business opportunities that would keep me in the region but would enable me to apply my business development strategies to new sectors. 

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Apr 13th 2021

Cost-effective Finance Director support for domiciliary care business

A specialist care company had lost impetus and relationships between the directors deteriorated, with no clear vision for the future. Two of the business partners proposed to buy out the other two, one of whom was the FD and therefore required financial expertise to support the remaining directors. The company operated several care homes, bank funded, so maintaining covenant requirements and the banks confidence with a new management team, having no track record with the bank, was a key deliverable.

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Apr 8th 2021

Cocktails distributor receives high-level financial reporting support

An early-stage business developing and distributing batched cocktails, predominantly for on-trade distribution, was seeking accounting and financial management support. The current FD was leaving, and the business was struggling to find the right balance between an ambitious and bespoke IT led management reporting solution developed by the FD, and a more resilient and sustainable solution capable of being operated by non-technical resource and meeting the current needs of the business.  A short handover was available, but time was critical. Systems and processes needed to be recorded, and resources made available to ensure that there was no interruption to the delivery of management information, and to ensure the continued smooth running of operations. 

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Jul 13th 2021

Building a fully flexible business model

The client company helps health insurance payors tackle fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) in claims. Driven by AI and ML and backed by medical and specialist fraud experts. 

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Mar 1st 2021

Cashflow review and improved management information for Laundry company

An established provider of linen hire and laundry services to some of London’s top restaurants, hotels and spas had been acquired by a turnaround partnership and appeared to be on target for a successful exit. Operating from a 40,000 square foot facility in Park Royal, the business generated a robust revenue stream and reported good levels of profitability.  However, a series of plant failures over summer exposed some serious weaknesses in the business when customer billing and collections were affected. Despite apparent profitability, the impact on cash flow indicated that the Operating Model was flawed.  The loss of a number of key accounts and rapidly diminishing cash reserves meant that an urgent review was required to identify the problem and provide solutions. The company operated with a lean finance function and had outsourced financial reporting and advisory services. The investors now recognised that this approach was not providing them with the insight and visibility that they needed to properly understand the business, and that an insource solution was required to help connect the dots. 

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Feb 23rd 2021

Turnaround and Re-Financing of distressed Education Provider

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. 

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Feb 2nd 2021

Systems implementation support for manufacturing firm

An immediate need arose to undertake the FD role on an interim basis whilst the business carried out a detailed recruitment exercise to identify and select a suitable candidate to project manage a major systems implementation project.  The Group Director responsible for arranging cover was already aware of EFM’s ability to provide a range of experienced candidates at short notice to take on interim and project roles. Terms were agreed quickly with an immediate start date to ensure ongoing monthly and year-end financial reporting deadlines would be met. 

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Dec 14th 2020

Flexible funding solutions obtained for growing oil & gas firm

The recently formed international trading company had grown very quickly from a standing start and the business needed to fund significant further growth, ensuring it maintained sufficient working capital for the projected higher level of trading activity. An additional element to financing was that trading transactions were multi-currency, involving sterling, euros, and dollars, so there was a requirement to mitigate foreign exchange risk as well.  In the initial growth phase, the business had used standard accounting software coupled with a bespoke operational trading system to track bulk and container movements. It was therefore key to ensure these systems were integrated as comprehensively as possible with finance so that the stock and currency positions were recorded and monitored on an ongoing basis.  The forward plan and budget set out a near doubling of trading activity with increased stock levels and additional geographical spread, so it was key to bring in additional finance streams particularly to cover stock during the extended shipping period from the Far East to Europe. 

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Aug 31st 2020

Strategic revenue increase for school group

Subsidiary 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. 

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Nov 24th 2020

Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity for legal client

Management of my legal sector client expected to be significantly impacted by the global lockdown restrictions imposed by the government as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. They believed that fees could be dropped by as much as 60% and did not have the necessary tools in place to track the impact to the business in order to take corrective action.

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Oct 1st 2020

Successful exit for family owned food business

Star Foods S.A. was a start-up Company in Poland owned by a Greek, entrepreneurial family. The patriarch was charismatic, energetic and visionary. He had four sons who he was grooming to take over. Some were more competent than others.  An informal decision making process, high priority for growth with an end goal of eventual exit had led to position where the Company was drastically over trading. This resulted in working capital issues, abnormal levels of bad debt and operational inefficiencies. 

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Nov 7th 2023

Business reorganisation for Aerospace Group

This £15m turnover aerospace business had undergone a difficult period. The poor results for the site included inventory £3.2m, OTIF 10% and EBITDA 4%. The OTIF meant customers saw the site as an unreliable supplier and were putting enormous pressure for improvement.  This also meant that this subsidiary of a multi-national group was under the scrutiny from the main board. The site had a new CEO and a new FD. 

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Nov 7th 2023

Significant cost savings and maximised cash collection for financial services company

The company was seeking to maximise cash collection from its loan portfolio, whilst also making significant cost savings.  The aims were to maximise net cash flow whilst keeping the investors fully supportive of the business and maintain adequate working capital in the business. 

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Aug 26th 2020

Grant funding win for construction client

The company is a highly successful business in the construction industry, concentrating on providing MEP services for several large contractors.  During the previous year, they had a dispute with a major customer over the variations on a contract. This dispute forced the company to reassess their relationship with this customer and they decided to pull out of all the other contracts with that contractor, thereby losing substantial revenues. With negligible other orders in the pipeline, the company faced significant cashflow challenges. 

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Aug 11th 2020

Opening and developing a new international business

Having worked in large corporate entities in several countries, I had decided that I would utilise the knowledge and skills I had acquired and set up and develop a business in my own right.  I had certain criteria’s in as much that it would provide a reasonable income and capital growth and that at some future point the business would be able to run with minimal involvement from myself, becoming more of a passive income.  An important criterion was to be involved in a business that I could take pride in being involved with. Whilst I had capital to invest it was limiting factor. At this point, the Malaysian economy was still recovering from the 2009 financial crisis.

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Jul 20th 2020

Cashflow Management for Biopharmaceutical Manufacturer

The company had undergone a difficult period where a transformation of the business had not delivered the expected sales growth.? This resulted in it carrying significant overheads and therefore making a loss and putting severe strain on cashflow.  The board had begun the process of changing the management team and two non-exec directors had stepped in to run the business on a day to day basis.? These issues were also placing the incumbent finance manager under increased pressure that he was not able to cope with, resulting in him leaving the company. 

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Feb 10th 2020

Successful exit strategy executed for medical device manufacturer

A medical device company that has developed a specialised product was having difficulty penetrating a market which was heavily regulated and already dominated by major manufacturers with years of experience and large market shares. The company had to prove, not only to the regulators, but also to the competition, on how their product complimented current methods. The aim was for the product to become the standard of care in the industry.

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Jun 26th 2019

Improved business structuring for publishing company

The company had just taken over a competitor business, doubling its size overnight. It had relocated to allow the two businesses to be co-located and had lost key finance staff as a result of the move. In addition to this, immediately prior to the acquisition, the business had undergone a G/L implementation that had been poorly project managed resulting in unreliable data. Ultimately the company was looking to integrate the two businesses in order to achieve synergies and to resolve issues within its finance function.

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Feb 28th 2019

Due Diligence Reporting

The company was a target of Beechbrook Capital, a venture capital debt provider aimed at sophisticated investors who expect returns >20% p.a. over a five year period. The target would be acquired using a mixture of secured debt and loan notes for the legacy shareholders as well as incentivising the current senior management team. Beechbrook would acquire 20% of the target company. 

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Nov 7th 2023

Student Development business makes better strategic decisions

The owners had a standalone European Student Development business, when the group Financial Controller left it came to light that there were a lot of accounting issues for this group and that there was little understanding of its cash needs as well as where each of the European entities was in terms of its legal and statutory obligations. 

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Nov 26th 2018

Better information means better decisions for Global Manufacturer

Three years ago, a global manufacturing?company needed a Financial Controller to cover a period of prolonged absence.? Tracy Lewis from the EFM network was hired for the three-month contract.? Tracy is a very experienced Financial Controller with 20 years in industry and lectures in Finance and Management.  During the contract, Tracy collated and presented the monthly financials to the Managing Director with commentary, highlighting material differences between the actual results and the budget, and explaining their significance. The Managing Director had never had a commentary of the company’s financials and immediately recognised the benefits and value of this information – which he could use to make informed business decisions. At the end of the?three months, Tracy’s contract was extended in a supervisory role to review and write new processes for presenting the company’s financial data.  After successfully implementing the new processes and supervising them for a further two years – during which a new accounting system was introduced – Tracy was asked to recruit and handover to a permanent replacement Financial Controller. Tracy’s contract ended before the handover to the new Financial Controller could be completed, but she kept in touch with the company. 

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Aug 31st 2018

Company Reorganisation for Aerospace Manufacturing

The Company was owned by Japanese investors who also owned two other aerospace companies in the UK.  As separate companies, they were individually dependent on parental funding. The investors requested a review of the options available to them to optimise the performance of their UK interests. 

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Jul 31st 2018

Management by Objectives and Flotation for a Publishing Company

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. 

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Apr 17th 2018

Scaling Up an Online Gaming Company

Established since 2008, the business had been successful in building its revenue base to support a sustained level of investment. However, as is often the case the owner was so busy working “in” the business that he had not taken time to work “on the business” and its full potential was only slowly being realised. Following the recent hire of a COO and the absence of a plan or strategy, he sought practical advice to move the business forwards and to adopt a more strategic role. 

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Sep 6th 2017

First-time FD for a growing software company

The company had just completed a significant equity raise to fund a pivot from games making to building a platform for distribution of games. The investors required a finance person to free up the time of the MD, implement appropriate financial processes, improve the quality of management information and external reporting, and work with the company towards a fresh rise in 9-12 months. 

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Nov 7th 2023

Overhead Cost Reduction

The business was going through a period of rapid growth and pressure was being applied to reduce overhead costs to maintain margins. The situation was made worse because this growth wasn’t forecast by sales, causing increased pressure on all departments. This meant we had to be selective on which overheads we targeted. 

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Jun 30th 2017

Creation of Costing Model and Database

The company had recently merged with another international business and was undergoing a major change programme. This was branded a new way of doing work and had a team dedicated to introducing new processes and practice to the combined business. One aspect of this was to standardise the way in which costs could be gathered and shared across the company and the way in which project budgets were calculated and assessed.

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Jun 30th 2017

Fundraising and listing on AIM

This situation presented two objectives for the stakeholders in the company. Firstly the business was growing quickly and required further funds for investment in sales, marketing and product development. A number of business development ideas had been followed and this had created a large pull on resources required to deliver those initiatives. The early stage investors could not provide the resources to fund this expansion and were keen to exit their investment in favour of new investors who could.

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Jun 20th 2017

Strategy Formulation and Commercial Engagement

The company had some recent success in developing a digital “virtual shop assistant” but its major customer was the subject of a takeover bid and all work had been brought to a halt. The company needed to identify new customers, what it was good at, where the revenue streams should come from and how to charge for that work. 

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Jun 6th 2017

Business Process Improvement

A business unit within a bank had just undergone a restructure and reorganisation. 

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Mar 2nd 2017

Cinema System Implementation

The business comprised a chain of 12 family-owned cinemas. The business prided itself on excellent customer service and was reluctant to take the “human factor” away from the way it operated.  The IT systems were not integrated with the head office thus meaning that each cinemas trading results had to be telephoned through at mid-night to an answerphone and the managers had to provide a long message giving the takings for each particular film. This film data was collated manually by the film booker and relayed to the head office at the end of the week. Each site had two sets of software – one for selling cinema tickets and one for product sales such as popcorn and soft drinks.  This mode of operation meant that the head office didn’t know which films were taking money until the end of the week and then at the end of the week HO staff had to calculate manually the film hire due to the film distributors. Other issues arising were that customers could only buy tickets when the cinema was open either in person or on the phone. The business website could only detail the film showing times and did not have the facility to allow customers to buy tickets. 

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Feb 9th 2017

Cost Reduction

An international bank’s loans were processed by a variety of separate departments across each region, but there was no activity based costing to properly measure the profitability of each loan.dustry. Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

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Apr 5th 2017

Finance Transformation for Trade Association

The Association had grown rapidly in terms of both income and membership. This enabled it to significantly expand its resource to provide increased support to independent charitable grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK through its policy and practice advisory role, and provision of events and networking opportunities. However, the finance function had failed to develop beyond its original book-keeping and administrative capability, and as the incumbent Head of Finance was planning to retire, he was not motivated to make change. 

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Apr 4th 2017

Cash-flow management support for American tech giant

The incumbent CFO had resigned shortly following the start-up, due to differences of opinion with the PE partners. The finance function had experienced a high level of churn as a result of poor staff selection and lack of leadership, but worst of all the Business Plan had been allowed to drift from a technology “proof of concept” to a more fully developed brand development and distribution model, but without any consideration given to funding! Tensions were rising between management and investors as the reality of the situation became more clear. A substantial pre-launch marketing budget had not been controlled and funds were urgently needed to ensure that finance was in place to support the critical approval of a multi-million dollar manufacturing contract with a factory in China. 

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Apr 3rd 2017

Successful business turnaround for charity organisation

The organisation operated from multiple sites across the UK with a lean central management team, and limited financial resource. While the care staff were dedicated and highly skilled, a strong silo mentality had developed in the regional operations, and there was a lack of cooperation with the central management team. Weak finance processes and an increasingly dysfunctional organisation had allowed contract tenders to be submitted outside of any formal review process. Poor financial information, lack of understanding of fixed and variable costs, and a poor budgeting process meant that the trustees were likely to be in breach of their fundamental duty to protect the assets of their charity. 

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Oct 19th 2016

Financial diagnostic analysis run on behalf of VC

A venture capital investor contacted EFM?to provide a financial management diagnostic review ahead of a potential investment in a major social service company that provides professional services to a range of corporate and public sector clients across the UK.

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Sep 21st 2016

Cash management & stabilisation for creative advertising agency

The business was suffering a cash flow crisis due to late payment by its largest client, inefficient accounting processes to match the nature of the business and worryingly, it feared that due to all of its challenges, it would not have sufficient money to pay the wages.?  To worsen the situation, its turnover from the previous year had shrunk and costs were rising, as management had built up infrastructure for a larger business, so this was also a concern in the long run. It still had a steady inflow of contracts but profitability and cash flow were the major, immediate threat to the future of the business, and had to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. 

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Sep 1st 2016

New strategic objectives set for Health and Social Care clinic

The Client, a private limited company started by 2 individuals several years  before was involved in very complex care and education of children and young people. Although very successful in terms of growth and market position, one of the 2 original directors had decided that it was time to move on and wanted to leave. 

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Aug 12th 2016

Continued bookkeeping support for German Manufacturing company

The client, Krauss Maffei manufactures separation equipment in Germany and has been subject to an MBO. Its UK business is a division of a company that is not included in the MBO

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Aug 12th 2016

Membership Organisation given clearer understanding of financial performance monitoring

A membership organisation, steeped in history and retaining its ‘club’ style, both in terms of business and financial control. The organisation had a healthy cash flow – that allowed for the capital expenditure on the upgrade of the premises and it to over-run! 

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