The following five project descriptions illustrate just how important the interplay between finance and business is. If you want to know more, I will be happy to put you in touch with former clients.
Untangling the numbers to clear the path for a takeover
An M&A process had been put on hold because the target company’s figures were in disarray: there was no fixed order process, invoices were not logged and reconciled with accounts centrally, and payment dates were missed. Cash flow planning was no longer possible – meaning that the sale of the company could not proceed. My job was to go in and clean things up: not just to define interfaces but to implement them rapidly, to bring clarity for both companies, and so enable the transaction to go ahead.
Bringing an empty corporate finance shell to life
A business unit had been spun off – but key central functions such as corporate finance had remained with the former parent company. The private equity company wanted projected figures for the coming financial year, plus a well-functioning reporting system, updated daily, from day one. My job: Firstly, to analyse individual requirements, competences and systems in the national subsidiaries. Secondly, to provide robust reporting rules and processes and introduce new and existing staff to the completely new approach adopted. And thirdly, to provide project management and spar with the new company management team and HR development managers.
Bigger, further, more international –
and a finance set-up struggling to keep pace
A mid-sized industrial services provider had undergone significant international expansion, entering 15 foreign markets in 24 months. The sales team were driving the project, but the Finance department was struggling to keep pace. When a lack of transparency in the company’s figures caused its lending bank to sound the alarm, and the foreign branches complained that their German finance colleagues did not understand their needs, the company took note. As a sparring partner for management, my job was to get to grips with acute risks, such as the issue with the company’s bankers, to bring key international partners to the table, to propose processes that would bring structure and calm, and to develop training standards for the company’s departments.
Building an international shared service centre
A multinational SME was bundling a number of selected business units into a shared service centre. One of the functions concerned was finance, which they wanted to unify in a stable, low-cost location. Business operations had to run smoothly as ever despite the radical changes to process interfaces. My job was to develop the concept, take account of local legal requirements, work with the ERP system provider, and support the transition internationally as a full-time project manager.
Corporate ERP consultant stymied by lack of finance expertise
This corporate group had developed new digital processes over a period of many years. Standalone solutions meant huge costs, and an ERP consultant had been brought in to help. But his lack of finance expertise meant that he repeatedly ran into difficulties: there were erroneous account entries, specific national regulations were disregarded, and coordination between individual finance managers was lacking. My job: to present the financial processes requirements transparently, explain the various international standards, and ensure coordination of the project with the finance department and all the key individuals.