Why this interim CFO drives a profit-centred strategy

February 23, 2017 Katy Roberts

Why work with Barbara? 30 second CV:

  • Your industry is Management Consulting, Consumer Goods, IT
  • You need expertise in Finance, Corporate Finance / M&A and C-Suite Level Roles
  • You need someone with a wealth of experience inn executive level finance roles

In an economic climate where interim management is becoming the favourite kid on the block, the demand for highly-qualified, experienced executive leadership continues to grow. In a survey conducted in 2015 by European Alliance Transition Management Group, it was found that 72% of CEO respondents supported, and were at ease with, an interim management model, with 55% of those executives already making use of interim management placements. Talmix interviewed independent consultant and executive stalwart, Barbara Spurrier, on her experience within the Interim CFO realm.  

With over 25 years’ experience in financial roles, Barbara’s love of portfolio-based work started very early-on in her career.  From completing her accountancy training with London-based Kidsons Accountancy Practice (now RSM), Barbara’s career in financial and strategic consulting has led her on to serve as chief financial officer for several PLC organisations.  “When you’re the CFO of a listed company – it’s a very different environment. You are totally in the public eye, all the time, which means that you need to be completely in line with meeting market expectations, corporate governance processes, and you become very careful of anything that would be construed as insider-trading within a closed period”, she tells us.

Throughout her career, Barbara has served as CFO for 4 AIM listed PLCs, the majority in the technology sector, as well as Financial Director and Company Secretary of a PLUS quoted PLC in the life science sector and VC backed companies.  She has successfully secured funding, undertaken M&A and MBO projects and has stepped into the CEO/COO role on an interim basis when the need arose. 

If you don’t have the ability to create change, you can’t influence

Having worked across several industries including healthcare, motorsports, chilled food manufacturing and more, Barbara’s experience has empowered her with the knowledge and ability needed to work with businesses of all sizes, and when it comes to smaller businesses, the challenges sometimes prevailed. “Working with smaller businesses is exciting. As an interim CFO or FD, you realise the power you hold in creating opportunity to lead the business down a growth path. But sometimes, the challenges present themselves in the form of the leadership team itself.  Very often, in the case of an owner-led business, the incoming CFO may not have the complete freedom required to create change – which means that you may see the opportunity – but your degree of influence is very limited”.  And it is because of these types of challenges that Barbara takes the time to build relationships with the leadership team of each organisation she works with, and to ascertain exactly the degree of influence and buy-in she has from her team, to take on a project and successfully deliver results.

The (under-estimated) value of a good CFO

To successfully navigate the path of fund-raising and financial strategy, having the right leadership, and in Barbara’s case, the right financial executive leadership, in place, is paramount.  “What surprises me so often about Financial Directors and CFOs is how often they overlook the importance of their contribution to the growth of a business as a whole. Many think that they’re simply there to perform a process. As a CFO, you should be aware of, and offer input into, ways to help the business grow. You need to have a wide understanding of what the business offers and you need to be willing to contribute through proper, timely information. A good FD or CFO – whether permanent or interim – requires the ability to look beyond the numbers and identify the story that is being told by the data it represents”, she adds. 

Taking the pressure off

As an interim CFO service-provider, Barbara prides herself in being able to get involved in a business very quickly and pick up the reigns of leadership. “The benefit of an interim CFO under the umbrella of independent consulting is that the services and value you provide takes the pressure off the existing team who are able to, and need to, focus on core business processes and function. You very quickly learn to rely on others to provide the detail you need to be able to deliver strategically”.  Through Barbara, as well as as CFProventures Ltd, a business that she has recently set up, businesses have the opportunity to work with an experienced professional over an 18-36 month period where she, and the team, will move the business forward towards key financial initiatives such as funding, IPO listing or business sale, by working with the leadership team and by becoming more integrated with their strategic business vision in order to accelerate growth.   

If Barbara is the type of financially-sound, strategy-wise consultant that you need for your organisation, then speak to Talmix today about getting started.

About the Author

Katy Roberts

Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.

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