Archive: May 2013

  1. 15 MINUTE WONDERS – A business seminar with a difference

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    Over 30 companies attended our first ever 15 Minute Wonders business seminar, held at the Buckerell Lodge in Exeter, including Quickes Cheese, Kitsons and Duchy Timber.

    The idea of holding this event was to present short 15 minutes topics on a range of subjects that would be of interest to growth business owners/managers.  This would hopefully give them food for thought on current issues affecting their businesses.  Despite over running on a few of the presentations (may need to change the title!) there was ample time for everyone to network in an informal setting and ask questions to the panel of speakers.

    A follow up survey revealed that attendees found the format unique and engaging, with many asking when the next event would be.

    If you would like to be notified when we have details of our next event, please contact

  2. One of our part time FDs part of Event Cornwall’s success

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    A Cornish event management company has launched a new national brand to support its work east of the Tamar.

    Event Cornwall, which has been delivering a wide range of event activity in Cornwall since launching six years ago, has unveiled a new national identity, Mackerel Sky Events.

    The Event Cornwall team

    The Event Cornwall team

    The move has been prompted by increased demand for its services across the UK. Managing director, Claire Eason-Bassett, explained: “We are already working in Devon and London, and as the company grows we are looking even further afield, which is why we need a sister company which works and grows with these events.”

    The development of a national brand also comes at a time when Event Cornwall is expanding its staff cohort, with two new event coordinators joining the company this year.  Jeremy Kirk (pictured above), part time Finance Director, SouthWestfd has been assisting the company for a number of years, advising on financial and other issues.

    Three new associates have also joined – Jane Montague, Liz Newton and Tony Kavanagh – to further help deliver projects across the UK.

  3. VSOP® for Continuous Improvement in Finance

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    1.      What is VSOP?

    A Visioning, Strategic planning, Operating planning and Proficiency Assessment Tool — all in one package.

    Visioning—what do we want to look like 3-5 years from now?

    Strategic Planning—how will we get there?

    Operating Planning—short term actions

    Proficiency Assessment Tool—what needs to get better—this drives the vision, strategic plan and operating plan

    2.      Extract

    VSOP for Continuous Improvement in Finance – Extract.  In this example we are looking at the credit control function but there are similar proficiency assessments covering the entire finance function from stock control to payroll.

    3.      How it works

    • For each element, assess which level most accurately describes how you operate. At the end, add up your score – on average, companies score between 2 and 3 for each element
    • Senior Management Team sets 3 year target for total score
    • Finance Department identifies which elements to focus on in the next 12 months
    • Work groups apply continuous improvement tools to achieve targets
    • Department carries out on-going assessments
    • Finance Department identifies new elements to improve until 3 year target is achieved

     4.      What are the benefits of the VSOP Tool?

    • Drives progress towards world-class performance
    • Encourages teams to be self-directed
    • Everyone works from the same set of measurements—each level clearly de- fined
    • Reduces financial risk
    • Improves morale and motivation

    5.      What do the levels mean?

    1          At risk, reactive, no systems or controls, many issues

    2          Some awareness of issues and a few improvements being made

    3          Getting the basics right but frequent problems

    4          Better than average performance

    5          World-class, seamless, automatic


    Would you like to know more about VSOP or take the test?  Call us on 01392 432654.