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CASE STUDIES

FINANCE

Printing Company

£5m turnover, South West. Following a change of Board and shareholders, we were engaged by the client to produce a budget consisting of profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow. The new team fully understood how important it was to accurately plot the financial journey. We are now working with them on a retainer basis providing a full suite of monthly management accounts, KPI’s and financial projections which is presented to the Board giving them real-time insight into how the business is performing.

Recruitment Company

£1m turnover, Home Counties. Initially brought in to work as a part-time finance director, it was clear that the quality of the financial information in the business was poor and decisions could not be taken with any confidence. There was too much over reliance on using the year-end accountants to produce accounts. We were able to start adding real value quickly to areas such as management accounts and forecasting as well as taking care of the client’s VAT returns. The client now has a complete picture of their short, medium and long term financial strategy.

IT Support Company

£1.5m turnover, South East. With ever improving technology and cloud based software such as Xero, geographic location is no longer an issue when it comes to choosing the right accountants and advisors to work with. Working with this Kent based business and its annuity-based model, we are helping the business owners to understand the difference between profit and cash flow. Our experienced team works alongside the client to help them understand the relevance of deferred income and expenditure, which is not something that the in-house accounts team are always 100% comfortable with.

National Distributor of Steel Products

£21m turnover, North West. We were engaged to work with the team’s finance department on a year-end balance sheet and cash flow planning. This required a deep understanding of the business in order to produce a comprehensive suite of financial projections which could be shared with their bank. This has culminated in a stronger bank relationship and additional funds being made available to the client from the bank. The client now works with us on a retainer basis to assist with ongoing management reporting, budgeting and forecasting.

Bakery

£6m turnover, South West. Working on a retainer basis with this fast-growing business to assist in the longer term financial planning for the company, the WCL team worked closely with the in-house accounts team to produce a concrete set of management accounts and finance options as the company looked to through a period of significant growth culminating in the business being sold to a global organisation.

Food Manufacturing

Again under the Growth Accelerator scheme, WCL is working with a local food manufacturer to assist them with their growth plans of the next 3 – 5 years.

Field Marketing Company

£5m turnover, South West. Partnering with this organisation as a bridge between the accounts department and the Board, we are working with the team to improve its financial reporting and planning. The Board’s knowledge of working capital and business planning has significantly increased allowing for better decision making and financial understanding.

IT Services Company

£3m turnover, South West. Working on a retainer to help this client have a greater understanding of its finances, not just its profit and loss, allowed the company to move into a stronger financial position. We improved the level of management information available to the Board and the bank at regular intervals as there were often drains on working capital. When this client was actively looking to be acquired, we worked with them to handle all the financial due diligence and forecasting. A successful acquisition took place, with the long-term future looking very rosy for all parties.

EMPLOYMENT / COMPANY SECRETARY

Business Relocation

A local business wanted to move location. The new premises were only 7 miles away but it was to the opposite side of a city. A lot of the staff lived close to the current premises and so such a move would cause a lot of staff travel difficulties. As the location of the work place is a term of an employee’s contract the change in location needed to be agreed by the staff otherwise a potential breach of contract would arise. We therefore advised the business on how to manage and implement the change in contract terms, so that their exposure to liability for breach of contract claims could be lessened. The business was able give the staff sufficient notice of the intention to relocate thus giving them a chance to deal with any grievance or objection to the move. Thankfully the majority of the staff were happy to move and the business is now happily settled into its new premises.

Use of contractors

Business is great, the volume of work has reached a critical mass and this means you need to outsource elements to contractors. You engage with contractors you have known for years but do not put in place a contract. However, the client is so happy with the work that they decide to cut you out of the loop and contract directly with your “trusted contractor”. You have just lost your best client. Whilst businesses may automatically think of non-compete clauses for employees they do not necessarily think to put in place a contract for their consultants/sub-contractors. The contracts are equally important in providing protection for your business. The contract controls the relationship you have with your contractor. It importantly allows you to protect your client base by including non-compete clauses and confidentiality clauses. Should the contractor then breach these clauses you have recourse against them. You can therefore prevent them from contacting your clients and also pursue them for losses incurred as a result of the breach.

Terms and Conditions

A business had created its own set of terms and conditions for contracting with customers without having received legal advice. It unfortunately encountered a dispute about those terms and conditions. It was alleged the business had failed to bring to the customer’s attention the terms themselves, so the customer argued that they were not bound by them in the first place. Further the limitation of liability clause was so widely drafted it did not protect the client as they had hoped and so even if the terms did apply the protection was minimal. Thankfully the dispute was settled in relatively early stages of the litigation process but it brings to light how important terms and conditions are.

Firstly, they must be brought to the customer’s attention at the earliest opportunity and if possible the customer needs to acknowledge that they have been received. Secondly, the terms and conditions need to clearly set out important contractual requirements such as the limitation of your liability and payment terms; for example what happens when payment is late. They also have to be carefully considered and drafted according to the type of customer. Terms for a business customers tend to be very different to those of the general consumer. The terms also have to ensure that they do not unfairly penalise the customer as they could well be considered unenforceable.