Platform for Growth

Is your business growth faltering, are you struggling to maintain stable growth?

The Platform for Growth is a powerful development programme that enables and supports your business growth plans.

The platform is designed for entrepreneurs to help your company’s performance. It is also a methodology for working and empowering your organization to make changes.

The Platform for Growth covers those areas of the business essential for business success:

The core model covers the key financial areas a business requires in order to survive.
The business evaluation examines the strategy of the business.
Combined methodology that highly successful businesses use.
Key products and tools to support the programme and implementation.
IP knowledge and understanding of the business.

At a personal level you will have clearer goals of what you want to achieve and of the opportunities and risks facing the business.
If you would like to know more about the programme, or how it might help your business please contact philip@ascentfd.co.uk or alastair@ascentfd.co.uk

Working Smarter for Growth

On Thursday 27 March we co-hosted an SME event in Guildford: ‘Working Smarter for Growth’

Facilitated by Lance Walker of Ministry of Innovation and Alastair Manson of Ascent FD,  the group spent the first part of the meeting finding out about each other’s businesses before exploring the key challenges of 2014. We then moved on to the presentations:

>  How Barclays Help SME’s Grow – Ben Earls of Barclays

>  SME’s Tendering for Public Sector Contracts – Jason Duncombe of Surrey CC procurement

>  Preparing for Growth – Alastair Manson of Ascent FD

>  Growing Sales – Lance Walker of Ministry of Innovation

>  GrowthAcceleerator – Roya Croudace of GrowthAccelerator

Over the course of 3 hours we had a wide-ranging discussion with everyone getting the chance to share experiences and ask questions not only of the presenters but also their fellow attendees.

It was a thoroughly engaging evening. We will be hosting more events in the future – please watch this space for announcements, and feel free to contact us should you have any questions in the meantime.

You can download the Ascent FD presentation here:

AscentFD Preparing for Growth 27032014


New joiners

We are pleased to announce that we are welcoming another 2 Finance Directors to join our team. Robin Halliday is an experienced FD in both public and private companies. Catie Harley uses her vast corporate experience to help drive SME’s forward. Click here for more detail.

Upcoming Event – Working Smarter for Growth

Ascent FD is pleased to be teaming up with Barclays Bank, Surrey County Council and the Ministry for Growth to run the upcoming event, ‘Working Smarter for Growth’.

The event is at the Barclays Corporate office in Guildford, on Thursday 27 March.

Our keynote speaker is Ross Duguid from Surrey County Council (‘SCC’) Procurement, who will provide tips on what SMEs need to do when tendering for SCC contracts.

We will also be presenting fresh ideas on how to prepare your company for growth and how to generate double-digit sales growth.

To register your place, please visit: http://ws4gmarchguildford.eventbrite.co.uk

We’re looking forward to seeing you there….


Auto enrolment pitfalls and practicalities

The majority of companies who have not yet already been captured under the umbrella of pension auto enrolment will do so in 2014. Even companies whose staging dates may be later this year or during 2015 may also be subsidiaries of larger groups and this is when implementation of auto enrolment could prove a significant disruption to the business.

The parent company may decide that as its staging date is earlier than its subsidiaries, all the group companies will need to auto enrol earlier than expected and this presents a number of logistical issues to the HR and finance departments of each business. A review of all employee payroll and financial IT systems, frequency of employee payments, payment dates, administrative procedures and transactional reporting is essential. As a consequence there may need to be changes to standardise systems and record keeping, as well as setting up a pension scheme with a third party plus the communication of the implementation. Adopting a scheme that will suit all employees, covering their age and attitude to risk with a degree of flexibility, is also something many smaller businesses under estimate.

The time scale for implementation in the above scenario is likely to be lengthy and it should be treated as a project sponsored by the owners and/or directors of the business.

Is your company ready?

New client targets international expansion

Ascent FD has recently taken on instruction from a client that is looking to expand its operations into East Africa, an area that is offering great opportunities for international growth.

Our client is capitalising on this by offering local services to multinationals looking to expand in the area. Ascent FD’s brief is to provide guidance on corporate governance and risk, as well as setting up the financial systems and infrastructure required by a rapid growth, multi-location business.

Our involvement will grow over time, as the business will likely require further assistance on raising funding and all aspects of financial direction and management.

To find out how we can assist your business’s growth, contact Alastair on 07775 658 835.

Where is your business going?

You know where the business has been, and maybe where it is now, but do you know where it is going ?

For many SME’s the only way owner managers and directors become formally aware of the state of the company is when the annual accounts are produced, and also periodic management accounts give some guidance but it is all historic information. Forecasting is a technique not often carried out except on an annual basis to produce a budget.

Unfortunately, with the failure of the banking system and the subsequent recession it meant that cash flow forecasting and funding in general became critical path issues, and continue to be so for all businesses.  In some instances the attention of senior management is diverted away from the commercial and operational activities that drive sales and margin with finance staff becoming more transactionally focused. In some instances this can lead to a resource gap with companies not having the time or staff with the skill set to assist in re-evaluating strategy, updating business plans or implementing restructuring of the business for the future.

A part-time or interim finance resource could be the solution in the short-term to benchmark the business and assist senior management in re-focusing forward looking strategy.

For more information on how Ascent FD could assist your business please contact Alastair on 07775 658 835