Financial Controllership Case Study

Client Y has a high value property portfolio along with a lettings management company and a property development company. They buy large commercial property, convert it into luxury residential apartments and sell as individual units.

When a key member of their finance team left, the directors were unsure what level of staff to hire — they asked their statutory accountant for advice who then referred us in. Initially we were contracted in for a period of 3 months to review and asses the current processes, systems and staffing requirements, but after this time they decide to contract our services indefinitely. To date we have added value in the following ways:

  • Reviewed and reconciled the VAT, resulting in a historic VAT correction showing a rebate of just under £200k, this was subject to a VAT inspection and the claim was passed.
  • Implemented a more effective monthly payment process, adding in deadlines for suppliers/subcontractors meaning more accurate forecasting of monthly cash outlays. Previous to this, supplier payments were being made almost every day which was very time consuming and left cash planning near impossible.
  • Found a member of staff to be paying personal bills through the company and hence implemented thorough checks and segregation of duties to mitigate this risk, using knowledge from working with companies that had to adhere to the Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) requirements.
  • Implemented project tracking for each property and property developments, so that property profitability reports could be ran and this in turn assisted the development manager to focus on bringing the cost of the developments down.
  • Worked with the development manager to build up a costing model to enable better budget planning of future developments
  • Recruited and trained a full account teams, consisting of 2 accounts assistant and a finance manager
  • Implemented a monthly intercompany reconciliation process and review, ensuring that costs were included within the correct company and that all accounts balanced.
  • Produced quarterly management accounts, enabling the directors to have a much better understanding of their current financials
  • Assisted with tax planning at the year, yielding savings of around £80k corporation tax
  • Continually working with the client to look at how to structure property leases and ground rents to better take advantage of the VAT/Stamp duty rules and to ensure that there are adequate processes in place to be able to manage these new revenue streams.
As a disruptive new entrant into the business finance market, the CEO of this technology business needed a Financial Controller with highly specific skills and industry knowledge to help drive the business forward.

The CEO briefed us on the role, and during our consultation they named a competitor as a possible source of an ideal candidate who would bring those hard-to-source skills to the business if they joined. Within two days, we had made discreet contact with the right individual in the competitor and set up an initial interview for us to meet with them the following day. This interview gave us the opportunity to screen the candidate for their capability, competencies and culture fit. We were also able to establish that the candidate was genuinely interested in the opportunity, and not on a fishing expedition.

Following our screening, we immediately set up an interview with our client, who was so impressed with their skills and competencies that the candidate was offered a position that day. The process took only four days from the briefing to securing the client’s ideal candidate. The new financial controller has so far played a key role in developing the business from its start-up phase and has driven success from the get-go.

Take a look at our other Case Studies to see our different methods and successes.

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