Where do I start? How to tell if your finance function measures up

So you want to build a high performance finance function. Where do you start? Firstly, find out what the people who use and work in the finance function think. Ask managers across your business, senior and junior, in a mix of functions & roles, including finance itself and some friendly stakeholders outside the business, like investors and key customers or … Read More

10 ways to speed up month-end

If you’re going to create a finance function that is fast enough for the 21st Century, you need to complete month-end accounts in 5 days or less. Here are 10 ways to speed things up: 1. Get the team onside: If they are, they will make positive change happen. If not, they will prevent it. Your people need to understand … Read More

Something of an epiphany

It was a little strange. I didn’t expect Sir Peter Bazalgette to be my source of revelation. But he was. While listening to him give what was a stimulating talk in Bristol this evening, it all fell into place. I realised why I do what I do. What do I do? I help businesses, large and small, run great finance … Read More

What does a growing business need from its finance function?

As a growing business it is hard to know exactly how much to invest in your finance function. Do you just go for the basics or aim further? Once you are sure that you are serious about growth (& by that I mean that you are a startup that is going to reach £1m in sales & when you reach … Read More

And welcome to spring

In this blog: What you need from your finance function if you are trying to grow and are £5m to £250m) Spectacular photos of famous buildings taken from drones (nothing to with spring but they are cool!) In my latest blog, I explain the things that a growing business should be looking for from its finance function. I start the … Read More

5 Principles for 21st Century Financial Management

It is good to see that fusty old accounting departments full of out-of-touch, brown-suited, socially challenged accountants are largely relics of the past. I am, however, surprised how many finance functions still fail to deliver up-to-date, relevant information, remaining stuck with many of the management practices of the last century. To help every organisation develop a finance function that is … Read More

Forecasting Tip #6 – My Top 6 Forecasting Do’s & Don’ts

Do prepare a regular forecast. It’s surprising how many businesses simply do not prepare a regular forecast. How do managers in these businesses know what is coming down the road? Don’t confuse a target with a forecast. A target is what you would like to achieve. A forecast is an honest appraisal of what you think you will achieve. These … Read More

Forecasting Tip #5 – Make friends while you forecast

One person working on their own lacks sufficient information and the perspective to forecast well. Forecast information should be gathered from, and discussed with, as many relevant people as is possible in the time available. For decent financial forecasts, as a minimum I would be looking to include people from Sales Operations and Finance. With wider involvement, if I can … Read More

Forecasting Tip #4 – Don’t disappoint

People don’t like to be disappointed. The management time you will save, not to mention the improvement in your credibility you will achieve by beating your forecast, mean that it is worth taking the time to try to make this happen. Start by asking yourself the following questions: Who am I preparing this forecast for? Will they prefer me to … Read More

Forecasting Tip #3 – Track your performance

If you want to get better at forecasting, you and your team need to take time to look at how good your last forecast was and why it differed from the actual outcome. With the time pressures of working life, it is not surprising that this step is missed. But if you get into the habit of a quick review … Read More