Positive client feedback and excellent client retention proves we are doing something right!
Happy Energy – Adrian Wright
“We are continually looking for solutions that will get us ahead of the market, through developing new services and new ways of funding. Part of this saw us restructure our management team with four new board appointments, including two full-time directors with long experience in mainstream energy provision. It also saw us bring in Jeremy in a FD role through SouthWestfd.
“His 30 years’ experience in business and industry with companies ranging from £100k to £1 billion turnover have been invaluable in helping us to not only develop the business on a day to day level but plan for the future by building robust financial models. The ability to tap into that level of expertise by using SouthWestfd has really benefited us.”
HDA – Tricia Dicks, Chair
‘In 2009 I realised our business needed more experienced financial advice. Our auditors had been with us since the business was set up over 20 years ago and we were very satisfied with their auditing and tax advice. Our company had 3 part time accounts staff and we had no issues with the day-to-day bookkeeping in the company. We had a rigorous invoice chasing mechanism and our clients paid on time – cash was not an issue.
However, at senior management level we needed the input of an experienced and commercially-focused accountant. We needed someone to help us understand the financial implications of both our previous actions and, more importantly, our proposed actions before committing to them. We needed to look at options for growth within the business as we had not significantly grown our turnover over recent years in the way we had hoped and planned to.
I met several companies who could provide part time FDs. Jerry Davison at SouthWest FD impressed me with both the quality and the flexibility of his approach. I particularly liked the fact that he had plenty of experience working with companies of our size. Jerry proposed Steve Lovett to work with us. Steve had no previous experience of a service company in the HR field and initially I felt this would be a major issue. Steve has quickly shown that my fears were unfounded.
Steve has been instrumental in helping us review options for the business and has recently investigated a potential business for acquisition. This business welcomed him into their company and worked proactively with him. This is rare, normally in such circumstances Steve would have been seen as working for the other side and would have had difficulty getting the information we needed quickly for a decision. In fact the owner of that business commented that he learnt more about the finances of his business in 2 days with Steve than over 10 years with his accountants!’ www.hda.co.uk
Aldermans, Plymouth – Karen Friendship, MD
‘When you are running an Owner-managed business it is a full-on job. Your many hats include Production Manager, Quality Manager, Commercial & Sales Manager, HR Manager/Counsellor and if you have time left over for Finance then you’re lucky… but the bills still need paying and your vision and targets still need to be realised.
That’s why we approached SouthWestfd and were lucky enough to interview Andrew Northmore, a Chartered Management Account specialising in manufacturing and engineering. He had an exceptional broad band of knowledge, not just in finance but in operations and quality as well. Andrew has now become a prominent member of our senior team, assisting us in everything from major capital purchase investments to assessing which customers contribute to the business most, right down to helping our bookkeeper with the preparation of the year end file.
Andrew’s flexibility and involvement in the business has allowed me space to work on our strategy and team development much more, and has benefited everyone.’ www.aldermantooling.co.uk/
Forest Fuels in mid-Devon is the South West’s main supplier of wood fuel for biomass boilers. We were requested to supply a part time FD to advise the board and a part time finance manager to ensure that their pricing and margins were being calculated properly in Sage, and to set up a cash flow forecasting system and then produce monthly accounts and forecasts. Dave Rickwood said that ‘the finance demands of the company were becoming increasingly complex and we need a clear strategic view’. The key issue in the business was ‘dealing with rapid growth’.
The company said that the main benefits of using the service are cash flow clarity, financial planning, strategic development and security. Dave thought that they weren’t just better off using us but that the input is ‘essential and critical to business survival’ and had no hesitation in recommending other businesses to use the service – in fact he said ‘don’t delay in seeking assistance!’ www.forestfuels.co.uk
Cloud Nine manufactures modular eco houses and they are in an exciting period of fast growth. They were the main built attraction at Grand Designs Live in 2009. Chris Chapman knew that the company needed an FD from the start, but wanted to ‘concentrate the right level of resource for only the required amount of time, therefore not wasting money’. One of the key issues for Cloud Nine, with staff who are based in various parts of the UK, is ‘effective communication between staff who are remote working’ and stated that ‘regular conference calls is an essential part of offer’. We ensure that communication between our Associates and you and other members of your team is exemplary. Chris was pleased to recommend our service to other companies. www.cloudnine-living.com
Simon Phelps initially developed Floodstop, a highly effective flood defence product, as part of his product design degree course at Bournemouth University. On graduating he decided to go into business to commercially exploit his invention and formed Fluvial Innovation. In 2009 Floodstop was awarded the Most Innovative Product by the Emergency Planners Society.
Simon soon realised that he needed financial and commercial support to make a success of his business and was introduced to Henry Warren of SWFD.
“Having Henry on Board has been hugely helpful in getting my business off the ground. I can tap into Henry’s 20 years of experience as Finance Director of a £500 million a year business whenever I need advice. Having tested my ideas on Henry gives me a huge confidence boost that I can successfully implement them.
He keeps me focused on making money and on taking the strategic and operational actions to do so – the business is joined up. When I need a draft distribution agreement for an overseas agent or to have special terms required by customers reviewed, I can pass them onto Henry which allows me to concentrate on what I do best.
I now realise that even for a small company there is a lot more to establishing financial and commercial control than keeping the books especially when the aim is to grow into a bigger business.”
Fluvial has just ended its first full year of trading having earned a profit and with cash in the bank.
Further details on Floodstop can be found at www.fluvial-innovations.co.uk.
Finally, a reference from a client that needed help to raise funding:
‘Very many thanks for your efforts on our behalf and for keeping faith in our ability to win through. This has been a stressful couple of weeks but you pulled out all the stops on our behalf and it is very much appreciated! When our backs were to the wall you stepped up to the plate to provide your expert help’.