New Associate James Goodman: Understand Objectives, Fix the Issues, Prepare for Scale-Up

Apr 18 2024 Business Updates

With 30 years’ experience in Finance - over 20 of them as a Finance Director (FD), and 10 of them in consultant FD roles – new EFM Associate James Goodman has managed companies from start-up to acquisition in a wide range of industries including real estate, investment management, recruitment and professional services.

Commercially minded, hands-on, and pragmatic, James is focused on preparing businesses for scale-up, but his experience also encompasses mergers, management buyouts, and major IPO-related transactions, so he’s well-versed in the challenges and opportunities of taking businesses far beyond that point. 

For James, working closely with clients’ existing teams and Finance personnel is key. “You have to take the team with you and do it together,” he says. But he also believes that asking the right questions early on is critical – particularly around identifying the company’s strategic objectives, which he believes Finance must support.

Finding and fixing the problems that impede these objectives is also James’s focus. These issues can come from anywhere in the business – “across the field”, as he puts it – but their impacts will inevitably be financial and so James sees it as his responsibility to step in and help solve them.

About James

James fully understands the pain points of start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and for this reason, he prioritises the activities that address them: cash-flow management, forecasting, securing funding, and putting in place structures, systems, and processes that deliver the financial discipline imperative for future growth.

This includes collecting and analysing data from across the business, interpreting it, and transforming it into accessible dashboards that communicate the challenges and opportunities clearly to the Board and all other relevant stakeholders – team members, shareholders, investors, funding bodies, banks, and others – with greater granularity as the business exits the start-up phase.

Finance, he says, should be “the custodian of the business’s data”, making sense of everything that could positively or negatively influence the business’s financial position. In this way, James moves Finance away from a ‘compliance-only’ model to a more proactive approach with insight and opportunity built in.

And when it comes to people, too, James has a track record of adding value to the Finance function as well as to the wider business. He’s experienced in implementing training, restructuring teams, and redefining roles and responsibilities to deliver greater productivity and better outcomes.

What James will help EFM to do

James’s determination to understand where and how issues and opportunities can affect the business’s financial performance means he’s well-placed to develop the plans that will help EFM’s clients to address them.

But he’s also an expert at communicating the urgency of these plans and gaining stakeholder buy-in. His approach – “Tell them what needs to be done and show them what will happen if it’s not” – has stood him in good stead not only in helping businesses to thrive but in returning distressed businesses to stability and growth.

His ability to engage with complex tasks means he’s as at home turning cash flow around through improved invoicing practices, factoring, and credit control, as he is managing the introduction of, or migration to, new software and systems.

And by rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck in, he’s as comfortable fighting a client’s quarter with HMRC as he is marshalling the day-to-day activities of a busy operational team.

In his own words

James says:

“Becoming an EFM Associate is a fantastic opportunity for me to work with a varied and interesting range of clients at differing stages of their evolution - which in turn means the skills and experience I’ve acquired across businesses of many sizes and types can all be brought to bear.”

“EFM’s flexible way of working benefits me as a seasoned Finance professional looking for part-time career satisfaction, but even more importantly it benefits SMEs, who pay only for the hours they need, and can build a commercially effective Finance function without the expense of a full-time FD.”

Click here to view James’s EFM Profile.

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