SurreyFD offers the following services to its clients.
All new companies will need to answer two questions:
- Why should anyone buy your product?
- How are you going to pay for it?
Preparation of business plans which will include robust financials and will in most cases require grant equity funding. Also help with myriad other tasks facing new companies including registration for VAT, payroll and corporation taxes, setting up financial software and training of finance employees.
Growing companies require good management information. SMEs will also need to make the move from hands-on informal control by the founder to development of a management team. This may will require the formalisation of reporting structures, responsibilities, meetings, quality measures such as ISO9001. There may also be issues of governance as investors and other stakeholders rely on more formalised reporting structures.
Systems Implementation & Productivity Management
Software now inevitably stands at the core of most organisations. Used well, it can give companies a critical edge and boost productivity. But badly implemented packages can drain management resources and tie a business into costly bespoke changes. We have considerable experience in selecting and implementing systems, from a financial software suite for a billion pound division of a major multinational, through CRM systems handling 20,000 records in a mid-size SME, to Sage Instant Accounts to a growing start-up. We can also advise on changes to procedures required to get the best out of new systems and how these might fit with an organisation’s QMS requirements.
Organisations – for either external or self-inflicted reasons can lose control of their finance function, a situation which if not quickly rectified can drive even the most promising companies to the wall. Transactions fail to be posted, debts remain unpaid and invoices uncollected. The route back to stability requires a number of specific steps – work completed and shipped needs to be invoiced, invoices posted and cash inflows planned.
Funding will usually be determined by both the company’s needs and stage of development. Which determine he risk/ reward structures required by investors. Earliest funding will often be a combination of grants and money from family and friends (usually called 3Fs – fools making up the trio). Crowdfunding can now be added to the mix, once initial proof of concept has been achieved, angel funding is often the next step. From this some companies can self-fund product launches, thus avoiding excessive dilution. Angel funding may go up to £1-2m but early stage companies looking for rapid growth beyond this will need venture capital which really kicks in around £3-5m. Established companies with positive cashflows will often be able to access debt funding – overdraft facilities, invoice discounting or leasing.
“And in year 5 we expect to exit through either a trade sale or an IPO” – a mantra many of you will have heard at pitching events. While it’s rarely this straightforward, exit will be a critical target for most entrepreneurs. Planning for exit is a process best planned for well in advance – ideally years rather than months. The organisation will need to be able to show evidence of consistent growth, good governance and a strong management team.
Governance issues can become divisive especially in small owner-managed companies when these matters are personal and often involve family and friends. It is important to have shareholders agreements in place and to update them when things change. I will go through old documents in detail and guide the various parties through to a solution that is acceptable to all, and then make sure the documents reflect what has been agreed.