Case Study 3 – Succession Issues

A company had been established for over 10 years and had grown to a turnover in excess of £5m. The accounts team was led by an experienced accountant who had informed the company that they were planning to retire on a specific date.

We were asked to review the existing structure, processes and staffing and to advise how best to deal with succession.

At an initial meeting with the senior management team we discussed the company’s current business conditions and strategy for the future. This gave an understanding of specific skills that would be needed in the business.

The next phase was to interview each member of the finance team to gain their perspective on the business and the finance function, and a meeting with the IT Manager to understand their systems.

We reviewed the processes for producing management information and forecasts, then looked in detail at how individual processes such as debt collection, invoicing and cost management were conducted.

We then re-convened with the senior management team and explained our observations and recommendations. We considered two fundamental options:

1) to recruit a Finance Director who would join the senior management team and also oversee day-to-day accounting operations

2) to recruit a new Financial Controller who would manage the accounting function, while a part time FD would be used as and when needed on a totally flexible basis for high level tasks

The company decided to choose option 2, not only because it saved around £30,000 per annum, but also to avoid changing the main dynamics of the senior management team. We helped to produce a job specification, assisted with the interview process and are available to the company as and when they want to use higher-level services.