Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors

Case Studies

Start Up and Smaller Businesses Case Studies

Static caravan cleaning business re-energized by the Business Energizer
A recent start up in static caravan cleaning successfully won two major contracts but then found they were lacking direction. After undertaking a Business Engergizer they were refocused and decided to restructure the business, doubling the number of employees, along with raising £40,000 in external finance to facilitate the doubling of the growth in turnover in the next year.

Successful IT company start-up
A start up IT company providing PC repair and networked IT services budgeted £75,000 sales in their first year, but achieved over £150,000 through a combination of planned management of sub-contractor support to enable growth and cash flow management, following identification as key issues in a Business energizer session with Sanders Geeson undertaken in the first months of trading.

Growth of £60,000 turnover web development business by 33% in one year resulting in profitability increasing by 50%
How? This was achieved through a Business Energizer session and strategic planning day with Sanders Geeson. It was hard work but led to a realisation that by dropping low value disruptive work and focussing on bigger jobs, the work done would be more enjoyable and also more profitable whilst working less hours.

Turnaround in profitability of £700,000 turnover print maintenance business
A turnaround in profitability from breakeven over the last three years to £40,000 profit in the last year was achieved through a combination of monthly management accounts enabling prompt action on adverse results (as well as better understanding of the financial numbers), together with restructuring of the company into two distinct businesses, enabling greater clarity in understanding the performance of the main part of the business.


Established Larger Businesses Case Studies

Evaluation of e-business strategy for a web portal and raising start up finance - Biotech start up
We evaluated the strategy for the launching of a start-up biotechnology portal on the web; we subsequently assisted the very small team in sourcing finance to launch the operation. As a result, finance of over £5m was raised through a business angel and the operation subsequently launched.

Rationalisation of operations across several European countries - Craft mail order,, £8m t/o, 180 employees, across several countries in Western and Central Europe including France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Netherlands
After several years of under-performance, the holding company decided to steadily close the European part of the total craft mail order operation; it was decided to do this over a number of years, in order to minimise the cash flow impact. As part of this project, Jan was brought in to the business and was made responsible for bringing back the front end marketing and back office administration and accounting processes to the UK. This was achieved over a period of a number of years, and entailed tight control and a good understanding of the legal and accounting requirements for each of these separate legal entities in each country. Jan initially transferred the centralised European accounting and administration from Calais to the UK. As part of this first step, the European accounting system was implemented on an IBM mini based on the French "Plan Comptable General". Subsequently he was responsible for the sale of the Swiss operation, and the closure/liquidation of the other European operations, working very closely with the staff and overseas advisors for each of these overseas limited companies.

Integration of several acquisitions made over a three month period which had more than doubled the size of the company, including the installation of a group wide WAN and new accounting system, together with the restructuring of the Balance Sheet - Environmental services group, £15m turnover, 230 employees
Jan was brought in by the owner and Barclays Bank to integrate several acquisitions across this multi site business (+10 sites across England), which had continued to grow after the acquisition programme was completed, from £5m t/o to an annualised £15m t/o over a two year period. The Group had very varied interests and activities including jetting, tankering, tanker works, spill cleaning and site remediation, property and plumbing repairs and oil distribution for blue chip companies, which presented its own management problems. Jan was additionally responsible for a further acquisition of a business nine months after joining. Jan successfully established a group wide finance department, across a newly installed group wide WAN and an integrated finance system, supported by strong financial controls. The financial reporting was totally restructured and developed virtually from scratch, as little formal reporting existed.

The Group Balance Sheet was restructured by Jan following the initial acquisitions, firstly by reducing loan finance by £1.3m through introduction of CID, secondly, through the hive up of the subsidiary businesses, simplifying group financial reporting and control and thirdly by resolving all inherited Balance Sheet accounting issues.

Turnaround of business and implementation of strong financial control - Food process manufacturer, £20m t/o, 350 employees
We were a key member of the senior team which turned around the business, carefully managing the cash flow in partnership with the bankers and financiers. This also entailed the introduction of robust controls, a new accounting and IT/systems team and substantially improved financial reporting. This exercise was undertaken at the same time as dealing with simultaneous Corporation TAX and PAYE investigations, and the resolving of many accounting issues, as a result of inherited accounting problems.

Leading the MBO process - Craft mail order, £8m t/o, 180 employees
Jan assisted in the MBO process, effectively acting as FD to the buy out team, liaising with the advisers, namely VC’s, Corporate Financiers, lawyers, insurance brokers, several sets of bankers etc., head office, and handling the due diligence process. Jan effectively operated as the "honest broker" to the transaction, working very closely with all parties. Over the following three months he set up the independent reporting systems for the new company in its entirety.

Review of manufacturing management accounting systems and implementation of agreed actions - Joinery manufacturer, £25m turnover, 400 employees
Following an MBO, the business required a full review of its manufacturing management accounting systems and controls. We prepared a report for the Board identifying priority areas for further action and improvement, addressing weaknesses in financial control as well as problems and gaps in financial information reporting. We then lead the project to implement the changes required, and on completion of the project, successfully handed over to the new Financial Controller.

Centralisation of finance department into one UK location - Property repair, major construction plc group, £40m t/o, 600 employees, +10 sites across the UK
Jan had responsibility for the relocation of the finance department for the own labour half of the business, from Scotland to South Yorkshire, and completion of the relocation of another finance department in Lancashire, to form one finance department with over 20 employees in one central location in the UK.

Systems review role - Building and facilities management services group, £15m turnover.
We were asked to assess the adequacy of the old systems in this business, and lead the implementation project for the "quick win" changes which had been identified.

Turnaround of business and new systems network implementation project - Export services group, £10m t/o & 210 employees across 4 sites in the North and Midlands of England
Jan was appointed to replace an under-performing FD at this national export packing and freight forwarding business. Shortly after a major acquisition which doubled the size of the business, the Company slipped into losses, but could not identify the source of the loss, due to inadequate management information. Jan on joining the business, identified the source of the losses which subsequently led to a return to sustained significant profits; he also implemented uniform divisional financial reporting and strengthened controls across the five divisions.

Jan led the IT/systems upgrade project, which entailed leading the introduction of a Wide Area Network across the group and the implementation of new accounting and operation systems, substantially enhancing the productivity of the whole business.

Turnaround of business - Textile lamination, £10m t/o, 110 employees, 2 sites, focused on the automotive sector
In conjunction with an interim MD, Jan reviewed the future of the operation and subsequently brought the performance to breakeven from significant losses, thus ensuring its’ future. Jan was brought in by the Holding Company as an internal consultant in a troubleshooting capacity, following the enforced departure of all the previous management, including the local MD and Company Accountant.

As part of this turn-around, a poorly performing politically sensitive MOD contract for the supply of ballistic containers was resolved and the positive morale of the employees restored. A major fraud was uncovered and lost capital assets were recovered by Jan from a third party business.

Jan also established the company as a separate legal entity and independent financial reporting unit within the Group, following the disposal of the immediate holding company. Further this entailed the implementation of a new finance package.

Strategic review of the future of the business including resolution of near £10m of Balance Sheet accounting issues - Property repair, major construction plc group, £40m t/o, 600 employees, +10 sites across the UK
Over a period of years, a number of serious accounting errors and issues, arising from a breakdown of financial control, led to a near cumulative £10m mis-statement in the results of the business. The business, working as a services operation on behalf of insurance companies, housing associations and local authorities, had grown very rapidly over 3 years, through an amalgamation of internal Group businesses and external acquisitions. Many of these businesses had accounting issues inherent in their Balance Sheets and brought poor financial controls with them, and also many financial control issues arose from the process of integration of these businesses. This led to a complete breakdown of financial control across the original three finance departments; these problems were only identified after Jan joined the business. Jan ascertained that the Company was losing several millions of pounds a year, not in fact achieving breakeven. Whilst working with the Board of the Group, the local Board reviewed the future strategic direction of the business, and it was decided to remove the administration layer of the Company, through integration with another Company in the Group. Jan assisted in the rationalisation programme and subsequent integration process into the new Group operation, and lastly led the project to resolve all the outstanding accounting issues.

Turnaround of business and installation of company wide mail order system - Craft mail order, £8m t/o, 180 employees
As part of senior management team, Jan reviewed the strategy of the operation which led to the implementation of a recovery action plan. This in turn led to the turning round of the results from loss to sustained significant profits over a number of years. This was achieved through focusing on customers, costs and key KPIs.

Jan led a project for the installation of a new packaged mail order Acxiom system from the US, replacing the existing inefficient and costly bespoke system. The project included the specification of a consumer credit ledger for integration and marketing within the UK version of the Acxiom package. The credit ledger had 6,000 accounts, and the system processed over 250,000 orders per annum, mostly through cash and credit card settlement, although 10% was on credit and 10% on trade account. The Acxiom system included a debtors ledger and warehousing/despatch and marketing modules. Jan subsequently became the Chairman of the Acxiom User Group in the UK, as a representative of one of the leading UK users of this software.

Transfer of Company accounts department from South Yorkshire to Head Office in Humberside - Application chemicals, major speciality chemicals plc group, £10m t/o, 100 employees
Due to a disappointing performance of the Company it was decided by the Group to merge the back office functions into those at head office. Jan led the project to move personnel and the responsibilities of those whom had been made redundant, from Doncaster to Goole. This also necessitated the implementation of new accounting ledgers and transferring data from a PC based system to one run on an IBM mini computer.