As businesses grow, it’s important to have the right team of financial management on board. Different issues affect larger businesses than small business and migrating through the growth of a business can also be a challenge for the finance team.

Typically, as a business grows we hold on as far as possible to the current financial team until there is some sort of breaking point, primarily due to the need to keep overhead down. Let’s face it, hiring increasingly senior people in the UAE is an expensive exercise.

We tend to expect too much out of the team relative to their skill base. If the business started off small, for example, but grew quickly, the skills required of this team at the start are well short of what is required of them now, but the speed of growth has kept the owner/management team focused on the growth of the top line and negated the back office support. The accounting team will spend increasingly long hours in the office under a deluge of increasing paperwork for new customers, new vendors, increased pressure on cash flow etc. Their efficiency levels drop due to lack of skills, their motivation levels reduce and mistakes occur.

A bust generally occurs which can be a critical matter for the business, for example:

• Incoming cash slows due to a lack of focus on collecting receivables,
• An important supplier has a payment missed causing withholding of services,
• The banking facility becomes inadequate and trade finance requirements can’t be met,
• End of month reports seem to be taking a lot longer than usual to hit your desk,
• Key staff may resign due to the working conditions and the business gets set back even further while a replacement is found, taking management team focus away from the business itself.

In the worst instance, the growing business fails or suffers critical distress, which can take substantial time to recover from.

So how does a cost conscious, growing business avoid this trap?

Supplementing the finance team skills through part time or interim CFO’s, Financial Managers or Advisors is a good start. Immediately, the current finance team has access to a highly experienced manager that can aid in their supervision and direction. The leader of the current team also gets an opportunity to be supported and mentored hence growing his or her skills. The part time manager also provides a higher level of skills dealing with investors, banks, customers and suppliers but at the fraction of the costs of having to hire this person full time and which better fits the current requirement of the business for this type of expertise.

Benefits also arise whereby the interim manager is able to review the adequacy of the financial team, suggest changes and a timeline for these changes so that the business can plan for the increased cost over time rather than panic hire with no clear direction and real feel for the costs. Having designed and implemented teams in past, he can also assist in hiring the additional resources through the timeline or makes changes where a change on the business dictates it.

Additional benefits arise to the business whereby the part time CFO or Finance Manager becomes an additional source of experience in the business that owners/managers can turn to. There will be a greater understanding of the business due to the work with the financial team/management group and hence the advice can be achieved without a need for significant time to be spent understanding the business from scratch.

How much time you need a week or month from the part time skill base is structured to fit the business activity and what it can afford. There is basically no down time as you only engage the time you need and hence greater cost effectiveness.

At TLB Business Advisory Services, we have an extensive background in advising growing businesses from small start-ups to complex companies turning over tens of millions of dollars, in a broad cross section of industries and just as important, extensive experience in the UAE and MENA region.

To find out more on how our Business Support and Review Services can be tailored to deliver benefits to your business via part time staff, contact us at or 04 3609477.

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