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How we are approaching COVID-19 & how to safeguard your business

How we are approaching COVID-19 & how to safeguard your business

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Hope you’re doing well and combatting any cabin fever you may be feeling working from home the past week! In this blog post I wanted to talk about how we are approaching COVID-19 at flinder & how you can safeguard your business in the months ahead.

An Important Message to our Clients

An Important Message to our Clients

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Here’s an important email that I sent out earlier today to flinder clients:

Dear all, following on from my note last Friday please see below additional business exercises to consider in these testing times. Businesses need to prepare for potential significant business disruption and adverse impact to demand (some may actually see an increase in demand depending on their sector).

How To Get to Sleep for Business Owners 😴

How To Get to Sleep for Business Owners 😴

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Many entrepreneurs struggle to get enough sleep. I’m one of them – my most creative thoughts come to me in the middle of the night. I can fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow but it’s the 4 hours later that I’m literally wide awake with so many ideas running through my head. And so with that in mind, this week’s 3 things are all about sleep….

A message from flinder on COVID-19

A message from flinder on COVID-19

written by alastair barlow [blog]

This is a note that I sent out to our clients earlier today in light of the recent developments with COVID-19.

Can Marks & Spencer’s new CFO make his mark, and spark a return to the FTSE100?

Can Marks & Spencer’s new CFO make his mark, and spark a return to the FTSE100?

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Alastair Barlow examines the history of M&S leading up to its recent deterioration and loss of CFO Humphrey Singer.

flinder wins Mid-Sized Practice of The Year at IRIS Customer Services Awards 2020

flinder wins Mid-Sized Practice of The Year at IRIS Customer Services Awards 2020

written by alastair barlow [blog]

flinder celebrated in style as they took home Mid-Sized Practice of the Year 2020 after experiencing unprecedented growth in the past 12 months.

HMV’s Top Dog could be in the kennels once again

HMV’s Top Dog could be in the kennels once again

written by alastair barlow [blog]

HMV has been in the news recently so I thought I would dig in a little deeper to see what was going on with its performance and strategy. Have a read below for my take on this once high-street super-giant!

How science & data beat intuition and how you can use it to your benefit | Moneyball

How science & data beat intuition and how you can use it to your benefit | Moneyball

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Moneyball is a 2011 American sports film based on Michael Lewis’s 2003 non-fiction book of the same name. It’s based on the true story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane’s attempts to assemble a competitive team using data!

How my customer experience at Snow & Rock can shape your business

How my customer experience at Snow & Rock can shape your business

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Value is one of the most important concepts in business but too often we let price get in the way of seeing the value.

Read this inspirational and determined letter from Jeff Bezos to his shareholders in 1997

Read this inspirational and determined letter from Jeff Bezos to his shareholders in 1997

written by alastair barlow [blog]

As we get back to work this week at the start of a new decade, many businesses (and people in general) will be thinking about objectives (or New Year’s resolutions) for the coming year. While the business side of this should have been done a long time ago, it’s better late than never.

Creative accounting: Don’t put investors off

Creative accounting: Don’t put investors off

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Finance is not a support function so don’t treat it that way: it’s an enabler to making sound decisions and getting investment, so get your act together and stop putting investors off, writes triple Accounting Excellence award-winner Alastair Barlow.

Your 2020 ultimate structured strategy approach has arrived!

Your 2020 ultimate structured strategy approach has arrived!

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Happy New Year – we hope it’s a great one! What you’re about to read will flip all your goals for the next year upside down.

Airtable: The cool, new database on the block

Airtable: The cool, new database on the block

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Have you ever used Airtable?

If not, you’re missing out as there some incredible features that have changed how we work at flinder.
Here’s the low-down 👇👇👇
The power of segmentation with the three types of data in your business

The power of segmentation with the three types of data in your business

written by alastair barlow [blog]

I had an interesting conversation with a business this week about their data…
I’ve previously talked about our 4 Pillars of Effective Data which you can read on our blog. At a high-level our model covers the following domains:
Does Pizza Express have enough dough?

Does Pizza Express have enough dough?

written by alastair barlow [blog]

I’m guessing most readers have either visited or at least have heard of Pizza Express. After all, they are on pretty much every high street across the country.
Lessons in real-time analytics from racing the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 simulator at Suzuka

Lessons in real-time analytics from racing the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 simulator at Suzuka

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Last week I had the joyous experience of sitting in an F1 simulator – the full on virtual reality version at Mercedes-Benz World. It was an incredible immersive experience whereby I actually felt like I was on the grid and racing the Suzuka circuit in Japan. Words just do not do justice to the experience!

How a coach and OKRs helped me run again

How a coach and OKRs helped me run again

written by alastair barlow [blog]

I used to love running – I used to run a few times a week without fail. However, I hadn’t run a race for over 3 years until last Sunday. Normally, I’m pretty competitive but this time, I was just running to complete it.
Independent Firm of the Year – Greater London | British Accountancy Awards 2019

Independent Firm of the Year – Greater London | British Accountancy Awards 2019

written by alastair barlow [blog]

flinder wins Independent Firm of the Year – Greater London at the British Accountancy Awards 2019. Sponsored by Accountancy Age Jobs
3 is the magic number! | Accounting Excellence Awards

3 is the magic number! | Accounting Excellence Awards

written by alastair barlow [blog]

We recently attended the 2019 Accounting Excellence Awards in London where we won 3 🏆🏆🏆 national awards…
Heinz cans CFO: How not to Kraft a finance strategy

Heinz cans CFO: How not to Kraft a finance strategy

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Heinz’s appointment of a 29-year-old non-accountant as CFO ultimately led to accounting errors, scandals and a plunging share price, and he was swiftly replaced. Alastair Barlow examines how modern finance leaders need to walk the fine line between control, compliance and performance management.
Patisserie Valerie: How to strip out the fat but leave the butter

Patisserie Valerie: How to strip out the fat but leave the butter

written by alastair barlow [blog]

The Patisserie Valerie story is one that Hollywood could very well have written. After listing on AIM in 2014, Patisserie Valerie held a higher than industry-average price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, exhibited strong year-on-year growth and, just a year ago, had a valuation of approximately £450m.
Why data is power: Our 4 Key Pillars of Effective Data™

Why data is power: Our 4 Key Pillars of Effective Data™

written by alastair barlow [blog]

If technology is the engine behind your business, processes, customer experience or even designs, then data is most certainly the new oil. While oil is there to make sure your engine runs smoothly, data is also a rich resource and powerful commodity the can drive your business performance.

Are all accounting firms born equal?

Are all accounting firms born equal?

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Are all accounting firms born equal? Not quite, here’s just one reason why we are different…

I recently recorded a top tip with ACCA to share with other accountants (I have flashes of altruism) – I realise that accountants and accounting firms are often viewed as the same with little differentiation.
This is how we view and transform the finance function.

This is how we view and transform the finance function.

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Every company has a talent, Apple make beautiful products, ,Google do search and Amazon delivers, well anything…
While maybe not to the same scale, flinder transforms and runs finance functions! 
But how do we do this? It’s all in our approach: The flinder Effect – let me tell you more…
First blood: What ambitious businesses can learn from Theranos

First blood: What ambitious businesses can learn from Theranos

written by alastair barlow [blog]

The much-hyped startup Theranos raised hundreds of millions in investment all based on a lie. Ultimately, the story is about how growth targets canmetastasise if not properly set and controlled. In this month’s AccountingWeb column, I dissect the case to extract a few key lessons for ambitious businesses.
6 steps to designing an awesome reporting blueprint that kicks-ass!

6 steps to designing an awesome reporting blueprint that kicks-ass!

written by alastair barlow [blog]

Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of reporting. There’s one theme I see time and time again; Finance teams produce what they think is relevant and stakeholders don’t really value what they are given. There is a huge mismatch between the two. But why?
Fyre Festival – 4 lessons of a fraudster 💸

Fyre Festival – 4 lessons of a fraudster 💸

written by alastair barlow [blog]

If you haven’t come across Fyre Festival (where have you been for the last 2 weeks?) it was an event (or a disaster) that was to be held on Pablo Escobar’s island Great Exuma in the Bahamas in April 2017. 
How the Naked Chef got Caught with His Pants Down…

How the Naked Chef got Caught with His Pants Down…

written by alastair barlow [blog]

The ‘Naked Chef’ Jamie Oliver has seen his second restaurant group go down in flames with about 1,000 jobs lost. The sad collapse offers four key lessons for interested observers.
6 Key Principles of Leading Practice Management Information

6 Key Principles of Leading Practice Management Information

written by alastair barlow [blog]

I recently gave a talk on How to be a Kick-Ass CFO at Accountex in London (Europe’s largest accounting conference). Most of my presentation circled around improving management information.

We won a marketing award! Here’s how we did it.

We won a marketing award! Here’s how we did it.

written by alastair barlow [blog]

At this year’s Accountex our efforts paid off when we won ‘Best Personal Brand‘ at the British Accounting Marketing Awards! In this newsletter we want to give you some insight into how we achieved this fantastic award to help you increase your own awareness.

[…]

Here’s the top lessons from Accountex

Here’s the top lessons from Accountex

written by alastair barlow [blog]

The past couple of days I’ve attended Accountex in London and I’m exhausted from it! If you read my previous newsletter on management lessons from my fitbit I absolutely smashed my steps over the 2 days and my calories target – I actually burned 4,000 calories on day 1 from walking around. It really is on a huge scale!
[…]

Here’s my Accountex talk on How to be a Kick-Ass CFO!

Here’s my Accountex talk on How to be a Kick-Ass CFO!

written by alastair barlow [blog]

At this year’s Accountex in London, I gave a talk on ‘How to be a kick-ass CFO and leave work early at month end’. The session centred around delivering much better management information (based on our 6 key principles methodology) and a worked example.
[…]

management lessons from my fitbit

management lessons from my fitbit

written by alastair barlow [blog]

I’ve had a personal trainer for about 18 months now – he’s awesome. We’ve worked hard together (more so me!) to shift some of the fat I put on post ankle surgery (invasive micro-fracture surgery on my ankle where my cartilage had pretty much disintegrated). It turns out running is not that great for you after all!
[…]

4 lessons in leadership and team work from Coach Carter

4 lessons in leadership and team work from Coach Carter

written by alastair barlow [blog]

I recently watched the movie Coach Carter for the first time – if you haven’t seen it before it’s a biographical sports film drama based on the true story of a basketball coach (Coach Ken Carter) played in the movie by Samuel L Jackson.
[…]

How skiing as a team helps us reach our objectives

How skiing as a team helps us reach our objectives

written by alastair barlow [blog]

If you follow us on social media you’ve probably seen we recently came back from our annual flinder Takes The Piste! ski trip. It was pretty epic, as you can see from some of the pictures and videos.

Traditionalists may wonder why we take our team skiing.

Well, we do this for many reasons and believe there are many benefits to our approach to culture; some include:

  • Working as a team and bonding out of the office environment;
  • Breaking down barriers and strengthening relationships;
  • Seeing how people react under pressure;
  • Thanking the team in our own way whilst having an amazing time; and
  • Personal development – some have never skied before

You really can learn a lot about a person when you observe them for 5 days solid!

What does this have to do with reaching objectives?

Well, last month, I shared our approach to strategy-setting which is based on the OKR (Objectives & Key Results) methodology. If you missed it, you can read it here.

One of the points I mentioned was around ‘making sure everything in the business aligns’. Well, there are few areas more important than aligning the team with the strategy.

So, now for the other reason we go skiing together – to present, share and discuss our strategy with the team. One of the words I probably overused last week was ‘transparent’ (another was ‘data’ but that’s a story for another time). At flinder, we truly believe in transparency around what we are trying to achieve and how we intend to do that; we want everyone in the team to know, live and breathe our objectives and ultimately know what their role is in working towards them.

At the beginning of the week we spend a lot of time with the team walking them through it top down; from our mission to our 10 year vision to our 3 year objectives and to our near term 12 month objectives. We then distil these objectives down further by each of the functions in our business and map out what we see the key results as and some of the projects to get there. I did mean to say ‘some’ of the projects as some we purposely leave blank for the team’s input on. As well as being transparent, we also want to engage the team and enable them to feel more invested in working towards projects they have co-developed and believe in.

We also make sure the team has full access to this and everyone can see, not just what the business-wide objectives are but, what each function’s objectives are. This also includes project and initiatives to meet those objectives. This is fully open for everyone in the business to see at any point in time. This includes financial, service and people objectives, among others.

I’ve seen many businesses where teams can’t answer what the business objectives are and don’t know how their role contributes to this. I find this lacks trust, alignment and stalls momentum. Above all though, they aren’t engaged and feel like they have less purpose.

In the famous quote with JFK and the Janitor: President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.

“I’m helping put a man on the moon!”

The janitor got it. He understood the vision, and his part in it, and he had purpose.

My question to you is – does your entire team know, understand and embrace your mission, vision, 12 month objectives, functional objectives, projects to get there and individual objectives?

If not, it may be something worth thinking about…

3 key benefits of using mid-market software to grow your SME

3 key benefits of using mid-market software to grow your SME

guest written by darren cran [blog]

Getting a business off the ground often means skimping on avoidable expenses, but there comes a time when it makes sense to invest in a few important upgrades.
[…]

how business finance and cashflow management go hand in hand in the digital era

how business finance and cashflow management go hand in hand in the digital era

guest written by conrad ford [blog]

A business’s capital is affected by many moving parts, so it’s hard to always keep track of your cashflow, especially if you’re a non finance person.
[…]

flinder client & staff ski trip 2018

flinder client & staff ski trip 2018

hosted by alastair barlow & luke streeter

culture is important to us and so is having shared values with our clients. here’s a sneak peak at the culture within flinder at our client & staff ski trip to morzine, france. hopefully, you can join us next year! […]

how alternative business finance can drive business growth

how alternative business finance can drive business growth

guest written by conrad ford [blog]

There are many obstacles businesses need to conquer to succeed. From setup and survival, to stability and expansion — one of the biggest challenges at every stage is cashflow.
[…]

our different kind of strategy session

our different kind of strategy session

written by chris agnew & maryna irzhanenko [blog]

Think of a company strategy day and you think of sitting in a dingy conference room somewhere, listening to someone’s monotonous tone read slide after slide from a dated PowerPoint presentation.
[…]

an introduction to business finance

an introduction to business finance

guest written bconrad ford [blog]

The business finance market has changed a lot in the last few years. It’s well known that after the financial crisis, high street banks reduced their lending to small and medium sized businesses, and alternative providers emerged to fill this lending gap.
[…]

11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 3

11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 3

written by alastair barlow [blog]

this is the follow on article from 11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 1 & part 2 where I describe these sections in detail; business strategy, finances and risks.
[…]

debt v equity funding

debt v equity funding

written by luke streeter [blog]

what are the key differences between debt funding and equity funding and which is right for you and your business? and on what terms should you be taking either?
[…]

11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 2

11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 2

written by alastair barlow [blog]

this is the follow on article from 11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 1 where I describe these sections in detail; branding, customer & marketing, operations & management.
[…]

11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 1

11 sections to the perfect business plan – part 1

written by alastair barlow [blog]

business plans can be daunting for those that have never done them before; a host of new terms, concepts and financial modelling.
[…]

the official flinder podcast (episode 1) – Ignacio Bachiller | fever ceo

the official flinder podcast (episode 1) – Ignacio Bachiller | fever ceo

hosted by alastair barlow & luke streeter [podcast] […]

flinder client & staff ski trip 2017

flinder client & staff ski trip 2017

hosted by alastair barlow & luke streeter

culture is important to us and so is having shared values with our clients. here’s a sneak peak at our first annual client & staff ski trip. hopefully, you can join us next year! […]

the official flinder podcast (episode 0) – an introduction | leaving a corporate and starting your own business

the official flinder podcast (episode 0) – an introduction | leaving a corporate and starting your own business

hosted by alastair barlow & luke streeter [podcast] […]

4 key metrics to monitor your SaaS or subscription business

4 key metrics to monitor your SaaS or subscription business

written by alastair barlow [blog]

this article is not for the faint hearted – it gets a little technical and involves detailed calculations on the metrics I see as most important when running a subscription or SaaS based business.
[…]

why every business should consider a subscription model

why every business should consider a subscription model

written by alastair barlow [blog]

with the right insight and metrics, subscriptions offer a great way to build a reliable business or a reasonably predictable revenue stream.
[…]

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