[Case Study - Part 2] I went from builder to businessman07th August 2019
In my last article, I told you how one of our clients, Byford & Hammond Ltd, put in place some small financial changes that led to bigger profits.
The CEO, Trevor Hammond, had approached me when he realised that their expenses were outstripping their earnings, even though they were generating a very respectable £1m a year.
He wanted to keep his accounting function in-house, so we reviewed the way his accounting team were operating, and showed them how to improve their financial systems.
Changing the way his team worked, though, was the easy bit……
What came first – that was tough.
You see, Trevor is a builder by trade.
Handling large construction projects, buying materials and making building sites work – that’s his comfort zone.
Company finances? Not so much…..
It’s hardly an unusual situation. Most CEOs don’t have a financial background.
Just like Trevor, you, too, may have started your company because you had a skill or business idea you could capitalise on. But you might know relatively little about cash flow projections, monthly management accounts or VAT.
At the beginning it doesn’t matter much, but as your company scales, it can become a problem. Still, as a business owner, this was really difficult for Trevor to face.
He had grown his company from scratch, sometimes literally with his own two hands.
He felt responsible for everything that went on (“If the financial systems don’t work, ultimately that’s on me,” he told me).
Admitting that there might be deep issues was very uncomfortable.
“I experienced a lot of fear and anxiety before making the call,” he told me. “I was too close to the business, involved in the daily tasks and drowning in operational issues… It was really hard to ask someone to come in and tell me what I was doing wrong.”
And because he was so emotionally invested, he was reluctant to admit that some members of staff lacked the skills needed to grow the company.
He needed to take a step back and see whether there were any structural changes he needed to make in his team…. To examine their financial processes very closely…. And to make some serious changes.
But this was something he couldn’t do alone.
It took an outsider both to see the issues, because Trevor just didn’t have the necessary accounting expertise….
….and to give him the impetus to deal with them.
“Sometimes you’re blinded by the stuff that’s obvious,” Trevor confessed. “Garry made me aware of things I already knew but didn’t want to deal with it.
“He also asked questions I couldn’t answer, exposing cracks that made it clear we needed a system.”
What Trevor doesn’t realise is that I admire him greatly for taking a very brave, responsible decision.
What he felt before he called me was normal and natural.
Bringing in a third party to analyse your finances can feel daunting, for all the reasons I just described.
That’s why too many CEOs ignore the problem.
You turn your attention to tasks that are in your comfort zone….
…Making your business stagnate because you don’t have the right financial systems in place to support growth.
But if you want to grow to £3 million or £5 million and beyond, sometimes it takes external expertise.
You need a financial professional to give you a clear view of your finances and financial systems….
And to give you the confidence to take difficult decisions….
…So that you can feel certain about your numbers, about what’s happening in your office and in the future of your company.
When some Insight team members caught up with Trevor recently, he told them that he “went from builder to businessman, all because Garry showed me the bigger picture”.
So if you, too, have an in-house finance team, but are worried that things are not working the way they should….
...We can help.
As a team with vast experience managing the finances of companies just like yours, we’ll spot the issues right away. And we can guide you through the steps you need to take to fix them, making it easy for you – even if numbers make you really uncomfortable!
Then take the same brave step as Trevor, and get in touch with me today. I’ll get right back to you.
P.S It takes courage to address growth challenges in your company. When you finally make sense of finances, though, you’ll be relieved you didn’t put it off. Hit ‘reply’ now and let’s get started.