Saturday, 13 October 2012

Why we are different

Many companies described as Part-time FD  companies are in fact recruitment companies.What this means is that they are unable to add any value beyond the person they might place for their fee.

At Secantor we are a professional service firm employing a team based approach, Not only does this allow clients to benefit from our collective knowledge and wisdom but it also means that our FDs are cost effective in focussing on the high level stuff whilst ensuring the more routine financial tasks are carried out in a cost effective way either through the appropriate level of staff, or indeed, outsourcing.

Cost and the Effective Finance Function

The above link takes you to a video where I talk about the Effective Finance Function.

The Effective Finance Function starts with the FD. It is his/her responsibility to ensure that the finance function is effective and needs to build a plan to achieve this. We at Secantor are not prescriptive in how we do this. The answer might be total outsourcing a solution we are able to deploy, or might be a senior bookeeper whom we can source for clients as an employee of our clients or as a Secantor employee.

More and more these days the focus is on cost and in most cases we can revamp a finance function to get improved output (in terms of the quality, reliability and timeliness of information) and also reduce the cost by ensuring the skil mix and mix between full time and part time is right. All of this overseen by an "on demand" Finance Director to ensure that quality is first rate.

Nigel Bacon CEO Secantor Limited

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Effective Finance Function - a tool to save you money

We have developed a tool for analysing and scoring the effectiveness of your finance function.

How does this help. Most finance functions grow as an administration function to satisfy the needs of compliance, whether this be with HMRC, your bankers, or to enable information to be produced so that your accountants can produce year end accounts. Many of these finance functions are ineffective from a cost/benefit perspective. We can help you streamline them to reduce costs but also to help bring them into the heart of the business so that they generate regular and useful information to help you manage the business.

Ring Secantor on 01564 330676 and find out how.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

How can a Secantor FD make you money?

All Secantor FDs are focussed on bringing value to businesses. Here are some of the ways they do this?

Firstly, they are not full-time and therefore concentrate on as "little as you need" so that they stay on the  shoulder of the entrepreneur or owner manager for the whole of the journey. Their time can increase or decrease according to the needs of a business, at any particular point in time. Their time is therefore utilised in a very cost effective manner.

Secondly, one of the first tasks of a Secantor FD is to ensure that the finance function is set up in an effective way. Often savings can be made in streamlining financial systems and processes not only to save cost, but also to deliver timely, relevant and reliable management information. So often finance departments have grown up in an adhoc way to ensure that a business is complying with the requirements of HMRC and its bank. We often find that routine tasks can be performed in a more effective way and that existing finance staff are capable and willing to do so much more, but need mentoring to achieve this. Driving efficiencies in finance means that the function can cope with greater volumes with little additional cost. Outsourcing maybe be an option but the mission critical nature of finance often means that owner mangers perceive the risks of going this route as too great. However, having a Secantor FD to help them through this process de-risks it leaving  owner managers to focus on growing the business.

Thirdly, the Secantor FD will look at the procurement processes and look at ways to implement cost savings without reduction in quality.

Fourthly, the Secantor FD will look at the cost of capital and determine the optimum capital and funding structures available to a business. The reputation of Secantor is important in raising finance whether it be tratidional bank lending, asset based lending, or equity funding from high net worth individuals (business angels) through  private equity, to the Alternative Investment Market..

Fifthly, the Secantor FD will look at the balance sheet of an organisation and in particular the working capital elements to see if there are areas for reduction to free up cash or, reduce borrowing requirements. They will use techniques such as economic ordering quantities and optimum stockholding levels to professionalise the management of working capital. A focus on the optimum use of scarce resources is fundemental to an organisation achieving goals that were previously unattainable, due to a lack of planning and control.

The above represent some of the areas where a Secantor FD can quickly make a difference. On top of this all of our FDs will be working with the mangement teams to contribute to the opportunities that might be avaialble to increase sales and profits and cash generation.

Why a Secantor FD? It is obviously true that there are many good indiviaul FDs who are able to help businesses. However, all of our people have gone through a formal recruitment, assessment accreditation process as well as having exemplary career histories before joining Secantor. They all have a desire to pursue a portfolio career with small and medium sized businesses where they can make a difference to performance. They all share the common values of Secantor (see and work together to share knowledge, expertise and contacts/connections for the benefit of clients. The impact is demonstrated by the testimonials of our clients .

Lets talk about what we can do for you - 01564 330676.

How Secantor helps businesses obtain funding

Secantor helps businesses of all sizes up to £100m turnover being the upper of the medium sized business spectrum to obtain funding whether it be debt or equity, or the correct balance of both, to obtain the optimum cost of capital when balanced against risk.

Secantor starts by helping SME organisations to define their strategic direction and to properly articulate the strategy into a business plan to attract funding. This is not a "sterile document" but a way of looking at the future which will become embeded in the organisation and continually reviewed and refined.

The difference with Secantor is that we provide an ongoing role as part of the mangement team acting in the capacity of a finance director. This is an extremely cost effective way of obtaining professional input to a mangement team. In addition, the banks and equity funders, with whom we have great relationships, understand that we will be "staying the course" so we will be there to help the organisation to deliver operational success on the back of the strategy. We are therefore very different from consultants who might come in to do a one off piece of work and who do not necessarily have the vested interest of ensuring that long term success is delivered.

Forecasting is often a pre-requisite for a funding application. However, there is far less value in one off forecasting than there is in continual rolling forecasts, where management are able to demonstrate their expertise and give comfort to stakeholders that they are balancing the risk/reward model in an optimal way. Of course nothing ever goes to plan, and there will always be externalities that were not known about, however rolling forecasts give great comfort that management really understand the basic drivers of the business and that they properly understand and are working on the limiting factors. There is a change occuring within the banks where instead of requesting information they are focussing on the quality of their customers' finance function and ensuring that the propoer processes and systems are in place to deliver business intelligence for stakeholders.

As an organisation expands the proper integration of the finance function into the business as a source of business intelligence is essential to attracting finance and giving attracting the support of existing and future stakeholders.

Secantor specialises in converting a finance function from one that is merely compliant (or perhaps not!) to one that quickly becomes a true business partner and is valued by the rest of the organisation.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Secantor provides funding for Nu-Drive

Secantor provides funding for Nu-Drive

NuDrive is the innovative new propulsion accessory for manual wheelchairs, providing more independence and improving physical well-being. See Nu Drive in action

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Is the case for pre-packs different for quoted companies?

The recent Administration of Media Square (am AIM quoted company) and buyout by its managment throws into light whether a pre-pack process was appropriate in these circumstances.
In the case of a private company the shareholders are often the same as management and will have had opportunity to put further monies in prior to an insolvency process.
In the case of public companies this is not always the case. In the recent demise of Media Square it was announced in 2010 that new banking facilities would only be granted provided that the existing mangement team remained in place, following the AGM. Effectively, shareholders lost the opportunity to appoint management or have the opportunity to put further money into the company in the form of a rights issue. Of course there is nothing technically wrong with this but was it the right thing to do? If the bank was prepared to take a "hair cut" through a pre-pack wouldn't a better option have been to do this coupled with a rights issue and to work with shareholders?
Surely with a quoted company there should be a requirement to ask shareholders if they wish to put up more funds before placing the company into an insolvency procedure?