From Start-up to maturity: An Interview with Alan Woods
In December 2012, ACCA conducted an extended interview with Alan Woods FCCA, Director at Woods Squared Ltd. The interview was based on two case studies of UK start-ups in need of finance and professional advice, but quickly branched out into a broader discussion about the role of the adviser, the building of the finance function in SMEs and how accountants add value to a business.
Restaurants were very hard-hit in the UK’s recent double-dip recession; starting a new restaurant with almost no track record in business is an incredibly difficult feat. In this section, Alan recalls how a healthy fast-food business with substantial growth aspirations did just that – and how an accountant’s advice, mentoring and connections made a difference.
In this section, Alan tells the story of a business school teacher with a passion for introducing young people to football, his advice needs and some of the inner workings of a Government-guaranteed bank loan.
In this section, Alan explains the need for in-house finance capabilities in SMEs, what practitioners can do to nurture these, and why external accountants should see in-house finance teams as partners rather than competitors.
In this section, Alan discusses the thorny issue of providing value added services to SME clients. SMEs are rarely happy to be ‘sold to’ in the best of times – yet helping clients grow their businesses depends on advice that goes beyond tax, reporting and general compliance. How can practitioners ensure their clients have access to the right advice while retaining their trust?
In this section, Alan suggests some ways in which external advisers and in-house finance teams can convince SME owner-managers that they are adding value to the business and that building financial capabilities is a good investment.