Financial Controller, Finance Director Designate

LW Cole Distributors Limited
Birmingham, West Midlands (GB)
Up to £85,000 per annum, generous bonus and car allowance
01 Jul 2019
15 Jul 2019
Board, CFO, Director, Senior Management
Contract Type

LW Coles (Distributors) Ltd, colloquially known as ‘Coles’, is one of the UK’s largest and well-established distributors of domestic appliances to the building and construction sector. It is a B2B wholesaler/specialist distributor providing a specialist ‘turnkey’ service to property developers. The business is family owned and managed and has turnover of +£22m per annum, it delivers significant operating profit (+£1.4m per annum) which translates to strong cash flow. Based near Birmingham, the business is enjoying a sustained period of growth in both sales and profits (CAGR 20% over 5 years). It is well invested, stable and enjoys an outstanding reputation.

As the business enters a 4th generation of family leadership we are seeking to hire a high calibre, collegiate, ambitious and commercially orientated finance leader to support them develop and execute the business's strategy.

The business is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renniks Ltd, the role holder will work across the Group with their principle activity being centred on Coles which is the only trading subsidiary.

The incumbent is due to retire, and is currently working on a part time basis. The business is keen to arrange an orderly transition of the existing role holder’s responsibilities and insight in order to ensure the business's existing trading momentum and compliance is assured. The business is also ambitious and is seeking to strengthen its senior management team.

The role will report the Managing Director and lead the Finance function, the role holder will assume responsibility for the Purchasing Function that manages the goods for sale supplier interface.

It is the Board’s expectation that the role holder will periodically oversee the business in the MDs absence, as well as becoming a key confidant and advisor to both the MD and the businesses Owner.

It is anticipated that the role holder will be appointed as a statutory director of the business within the next 2 years and that they will form part of Board of Directors alongside the Company Owner (who is not generally operationally involved in the business) Managing Director and Non-Executive Director (s).

Job purpose:

  • Lead the Finance function including accounts payable & accounts receivable.
  • Lead the Procurement function, together with the Managing Director interface with key suppliers of goods for resale. Own key terms of business with suppliers.
  • Produce monthly management accounts and prepare annual statutory accounts.
  • Own all key statutory and fiduciary governance processes. Support the Managing Director in the business’s external relationship with its auditors, insurers and banks.
  • Maintain, develop and own the businesses risk register.
  • Lead commercial decision support across the Group, specifically in relation to assessing investment opportunities.
  • Support the Managing Director in iterative and annual business planning.
  • Create and provide monthly management information & KPIs including key financial information (management accounts, sales, profit and cash flow forecasts). Advise and lead the Boards insight as to the financial and operational performance of the business.

Main responsibilities:

  1. Leadership and development of the finance & purchasing functions.
  2. Development of all financial reporting, regulatory, to meet requirements of external partners such as banks and to drive & manage ongoing operational performance.
  3. Preparation and presentation to the Board of financial and operational reporting.
  4. Cash management. Including budgeting, (opex) fixed and variable overhead management, (capex) capital expenditure planning, ledger management and inventory management.
  5. Recommendations to the board on ongoing working capital requirements.
  6. With the MD management of all external financial advisors and partners including auditors, banks, and insurers.
  7. Periodic management of strategic suppliers and customers.
  8. Translating sales forecasts into operational resource plans that optimise the businesses variable overheads whilst ensuring exacting service levels are maintained.
  9. Ownership of the business's risk register, ensuring that Board are fully informed of all key risks and opportunities and that timely actions are both owned & implemented.
  10. Ensuring that business is compliant at all times with regulatory requirements, specifically in relation to all financial requirements.
  11. Lead financial modelling and commercial appraisal for the business across a diverse range of activities.

Support the Sales Team in ensuring bids and key projects meet defined financial requirements.

Facts & Figures

The business was established in 1934

The business values simplicity, open and honest relationships with all of its stakeholders and strives to deliver excellent, reliable & expert service to its customers.

The business has enjoyed substantial growth in sales and profits over the last 5 years driven by outstanding operational performance and high-quality core markets. Its prospects remain highly favourable driven by UK population growth and an under supplied UK housing market.

The business's turnover is forecast to exceed a stretch budget of £21m in the current financial year.

The business is geared to continue to grow turnover over the next 5 years.

The business applies strong cost controls and is adept at controlling fixed overheads, variable costs can be flexed to meet increased demand.

Operating profit targets of c £1.3m will be exceeded in the current financial year. The business converts operating profit to cash efficiently and effectively, ensuring that appropriate investment is made and that dividends consistently meet shareholder expectations.

The businesses is a wholly owned subsidiary of its (non-trading) parent company, which acts as its Landlord.

The parent company and Coles are family owned, no shares are held, or planned to be held, outside the family.

The business operates from a single site near Sutton Coldfield, from premises owned by the parent company, and it is the anchor tenant. The facility is also used by a long-term local tenant.

Headcount in the Finance & Procurement functions is 7.

The businesses headcount is 66. Staff are generally based in Sutton Coldfield. The business also employs field-based Installation Engineers (‘Fitters’) and a small field based national sales team.

Back office IT systems are currently being upgraded and modernised. The project is significantly advanced but the role holder will need to assure continuity of all key financial processes through transition.

Xero will be the new financial platform for the business.

Impact & Influence

The Managing Director and business's owner regard the hire of a Group Financial Controller to be of critical importance.

The role holder will be:

  • Commercially savvy, able to critically appraise a host of data sets and insights and make coherent well presented & informed decisions that drive profitable growth.
  • Be highly aware of all key governance requirements. Hold the business to account, and be prepared to be held to account, on all aspects of compliance and governance.
  • Structured and adept at ‘managing by fact’. Building on existing capabilities to ensure the business runs efficiently and effectively. Balancing the need to deliver consistently brilliant service with strong cost and cash controls.
  • Able to multi task; a master ‘plate spinner & doer’ who remains structured, focused, calm and good humoured. Is certainly not afraid to get their ‘hands dirty’.
  • Highly IT literate and able to build new capability into the business, this is a not a role where the incumbent will join and simply utilise existing systems and processes. In this sense they must know ‘what good looks like’ and be able to deliver it.
  • Able to demonstrate an ability to work flexibly across all aspects of an SME.
  • Naturally curious; keen to understand all aspects of the business, its markets and customers.
  • Possess both high IQ & EQ and be able to influence adeptly at all levels both internally and externally.
  • We are seeking a combination of an ‘experienced operator’ and an ‘upwardly mobile’ finance professional who meets the ambitions of the owners and Managing Director.
  • A collegiate and personable individual, who seeks to get involved and gets stuff done.
  • Humble, grounded & ambitious. Able to rapidly assimilate a view on the many things the business currently does brilliantly, whilst identifying were it can improve and if needs be challenge the ‘status quo’.

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