looking at the bigger picture

18 August 2022

Cash flow tight? Business struggling? Director fatigue?

It’s never too early to seek advice.

Having worked in the accountancy and tax profession for nearly 30 years, it still surprises me that businesses all too often wait and seek advice at the last minute and I often find myself thinking “if only they had come to us earlier”. The reason for waiting is understandable – perceived lack of time and the need to be in the business.

One of the most valuable things a Director of a business can do at any time in the business life cycle is make time; time to step back and look at the business as a whole, time to plan, time to consider options, time to seek advice (early).

Time’s a precious commodity and one which we never seem to have enough of. Whether a business is growing, consolidating, or finds itself struggling, there’s never any spare time. We become so focused in the day to day juggling multiple things, that we don’t give ourselves time to step back and consider the bigger picture. Making time can help a business grow or develop, and when times are hard, enables you to see what may lie ahead and plan.

With insolvency figures for Q2 of 2022 at their highest since 2009, it’s important that Directors and owner managers take time to look at their business, and should things be feeling or looking difficult, seek advice at the earliest opportunity. This will ensure they have the support and advice on hand to manage the business and understand the options available to them for the situation they find themselves in.

Sometimes strategic support can identify key area(s) to focus on, or support on cash flow or debtor/creditor management. Other times it could be the rearranging of finance or indeed looking at the options available in terms of exit, restructuring or insolvency. They key is getting advice early so that more options are available and considered.

As we came out of Covid, people thought businesses would bounce back and things would get back to “normal”. However, this hasn’t been the case as is evident with staff shortages, supply chain issues, rising costs of energy, fuel and materials, as well as having to consider repaying Covid debt and HMRC arrears. On top of this, we now have rising interest rates and political uncertainty to deal with. Previously where Directors may have felt optimistic about the future, understandably they’re now feeling fatigued by the situation they find themselves in. Consequently driving the insolvency figures.

Looking at the bigger picture

If you don’t currently give yourself time to take stock and look at the wider picture, my recommendation would be that you try to follow these few steps. It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be done away from the day-to-day.

Write down…

  1. How you feel – is it invigorated, optimistic, motivated, fatigues, weary, anxious?
  2. What keeps you awake at night – cash flow, staff engagement, supply issues etc.
  3. The most business critical of these pain points
  4. Any plans you may have in place to help deal with these

Once you’ve done this, or indeed if you need help to do this, share your plans and observations with your advisor. Whatever the position you find yourself in, taking time and seeking help will take some of the weight off your shoulders.

At Fortus we have a team of people waiting and willing to help you. This may be in providing strategic support, helping to refinance, exit planning and insolvency, general day-to-day advice or just giving you a reason to take some time out to look at the bigger picture. get in touch.