Kirsty Greenhill: Location is no longer a barrier for your finance function
Kirsty Greenhill, virtual finance function senior manager at Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), discusses why location no longer hinders businesses’ finance function.
There is a big push to ‘shop local’ to help reduce the carbon footprint of our food and drink products from field to plate.
Conversely, when it comes to receiving professional advice, the traditional approach of preferring local advisors has changed – a move that has been accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdowns and restrictions of the past year or so that have entailed people working from home wherever possible have shown that high-quality professional services can be delivered remotely.
With shopping locally for professional advice no longer being a necessity, many businesses are seizing the opportunity to move to working with industry experts no matter where they are located.
This approach relates directly to my day job in the Virtual Finance Function at Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB) where location has never been an issue because the solutions we provide for clients are virtual by name and by nature.
Continuing the food and drink analogy, when deciding where to go for a special dinner you would be hoping for a high standard of food and service, you may be anticipating a wide choice of menu options, and you will want to feel looked after so that you can relax and enjoy the meal.
While our Virtual Finance Function does not offer you a delicious three-course meal, it does provide you with a high quality, bespoke finance service, options to choose from enabling it to be built around your business, and experts to call on to give you peace of mind that ‘everything finance’ is under control, freeing you to focus on operations.
Since the start of the pandemic, AAB has onboarded new national and international virtual finance clients in the food and drink industry to whom location is no barrier: an international craft beer bar in Shanghai, an organic cold-pressed juice bar based in London, and an alcohol-free gin manufacturer in Glasgow to name but three. And, thanks to the use of technology, there is little negative environmental impact when considering working with a professional services firm from further afield.
Our Virtual Finance Function solution is tailored from our menu of services to the needs of individual businesses but a core service is the supply of regular management accounts and reporting. Having accurate, timely management reports facilitates regular financial reviews which means that solutions can be found for cash planning, reducing costs, or enhancing sales, before issues arise.
As businesses grow and diversify, tailored reporting that clearly shows the performance of its revenue-generating areas allows margins and profitability to be reviewed at specific levels.
AAB has built various reporting structures for food and drink clients which allow comparisons to be drawn month-on-month between different sale types, for example, food sales and drink sales in a bar, or location splits across different sites.
Home delivery sales by restaurants and other food and drink outlets have increased significantly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we have adapted clients’ reports accordingly so that they can now review revenue and margins on delivery sales compared to in-house sales instantly. This is typical of the way reporting can be designed to enable business owners to see at-a-glance data that helps them plan effectively for future growth.
Whether you are looking for assistance with your year-end accounts and tax – the finance equivalent of a main course and a glass of wine – or a full three-course meal including sides – equating to management accounts, VAT reporting, payroll, budgeting and forecasting advice – working with an advisor who understands your industry will help work towards achieving your business goals.
Even if you are simply looking to cleanse your palate between courses, having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve should be all you need. Your advisor should be able to provide you with the options to choose from and, of course, give you their recommendations, no matter where you or they are based. Location no longer has to impact your menu selection.