No Ivory Towers- How New EFM Associate Lisa Compton Gets Hands-On with Finance

Apr 06 2023 Business Updates

Putting Finance at the core of our clients’ business success is a commitment shared by all EFM’s outsourced Finance Directors and senior Finance professionals – and new Associate Lisa Compton is no exception. 

At one level, she works across functions to rigorously put Finance fundamentals (back) in place and turn businesses around where needed. On the other, she “takes what’s in CEOs’ and MDs’ heads” and models its business impacts and outcomes through relentless forecasting and financial planning. 

And in between, she’s ready to get stuck in “under the bonnet” and get her hands dirty – sometimes literally! 

About Lisa 

What stands out about Lisa immediately is her determination that Finance should not be a delicate discipline operating in splendid isolation. “I’ve never been an ‘ivory tower’ accountant,” she says, and her people skills, unflappability, and general willingness to roll her sleeves up and get involved have stood her in good stead in many situations where stakes and tensions ran high. 

On one assignment, she found herself crawling under desks and rifling through cupboards for valuable missing router stock at a broadband network company. 

On another memorable occasion, she pitched in with the cleaning team to spruce up the company’s office facilities before a vital lifeline meeting! 

At the same time, whilst Lisa’s “hands on” approach is often indispensable, so is her ability to grapple with highly complex and intellectually challenging Finance tasks in demanding timescales. 

Whilst working in the leisure sector, for example, she once had to abandon an imminent IPO and US acquisition plan, and rework an immediate investment and recovery plan to secure the ability to continue to trade, with shareholders & regulators, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. 

Likewise, whilst turning around an emergency services-owned company, she found herself having to produce, at short notice, a five -year business model “in extreme detail” to secure continued funding. 

But longer-term strategic projects hold no mystery for Lisa either. She managed the complex requirements for profit and cash release modelling for a Joint Venture, with UK and US shareholders, and diverse risk, accounting, cash, and timing challenges, over its 10-year lifespan. 

What Lisa will help EFM to do 

Lisa is driven by the prospect of seeing the business’s change and growth narrative evolve for the better – and she’s not afraid to build personal relationships across functions and tiers to understand where that narrative needs to tell a different story, and how. 

Equally, she brings deft team-building skills to the table, creating templated processes to help those teams perform better, and making it easier for non-Finance teams to engage as well. As she remarks, “Teams have always been incredibly important to me – I doubt whether I could have achieved what I have without the support of the right team around me.” 

Lisa often describes her approach as “back to basics”, but for “basics”, read “bedrock”. This is Finance built on the solid foundations of sound reporting and understanding, effective control and processes, transparent risk management, rigorous forecasting and impact modelling, and decisive action to fix what’s broken. 

It was this that enabled her, for instance, to turn one hospitality client’s maxed-out overdraft into a cash-positive position, as she carefully identified loss-making and cash-draining product offerings, drove improved turnover on existing assets, and invested in game-changing new offerings. 

In her own words 

Lisa says “Being part of EFM enables me to select the best fit between my skills and experience, and clients’ needs, and makes it possible for the Finance function in their organisation to do what it should – not just count pennies and file management accounts, but be at the heart of the business’s strategy, execution, and profitability.” 

“And all that without the business having to pay the salary bill of a full-time FD!” 

Click here to view Lisa’s EFM Profile. 


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