The A-Z of Interim Management

The world of recruitment consultancy often tries to pigeon hole interim managers. After all, it makes you easier to recall in their eyes. The recruitment consultant might ask…

“Are you a retail accountant?”
“Do you have PE-backed experience?”
“Have you bought and sold companies?”

The list is endless! In some cases, this makes perfect sense, especially if some niche skill is needed. You may well be saying, “I sense a ‘but’ coming.” And you’d be right. You see my interim career has covered the A- Z of accounting. It’s been sufficiently varied to cover everything from providing support for an aviation company through to a zoo! This variety has in fact helped clients. After all, it’s often how you react to a problem and the experiences you draw on to help you solve it that is key.

“These are vastly different,” the agencies say.
“No!” us accountants shout. The reality is that there are 5 key variables even in businesses as diverse as these.

The 5 Variables that REALLY Matter:

1.  Knowing the Key Costs

These are the ones vital to the performance of your organisation.
So, in the world of aviation they will typically fall around – security, rent (especially if you’re ‘on airport’) or licences.
Whether you are transporting firearms or tropical fish are you licenced to do so, or do you have to use an industry approved subcontractor.
In the world of zoo’s – again licencing, animal feed, veterinary services…

2.  Cash Forecasting

Cash is king, are you fighting for survival or do you have breathing space?
The definition of breathing space depends – it’s like when you want to go to the bathroom, a minute depends which side of the bathroom door you are.

3.  The consequence of Your Actions

If you have to cut costs and you cut the wrong ones first, the bad news is you may not recover.
In a zoo, no animal feed leads to no animals, which leads to no visitors which in turn leads to no business.
Moving ‘off airport’ will save you rental costs, but you can no longer use red diesel.
Security may also have to change; and you can no longer go straight from your handling warehouse to the aeroplane.

4.  Managerial Courage

Do you have the guts to put a key customer on stop because they’ve not paid when the causes of this action may impact the whole supply chain?

5.  Accurate v Speedy Information

How accurate are the KPIs which you run your business?
Can they deal with ‘what if’ scenarios?
Can your management accounts be published within 5 days of the month end or do they take weeks?
The finance function was suffering from a lack of leadership as many key staff had exited the business. In addition, the accounts needed to be completed quickly against a further background of EU realignment.