About Universal Tyres and Spares Ltd
Universal Tyres and Spares is an independent family owned business based in Hayes, Middlesex. Established over 60 years, Universal Tyres and Spares fits all the major well-known brands of tyres for cars, motorcycles, vans, 4×4’s and light trucks. They carry a huge range of tyres competitively priced to suit all makes and models.
They supply wholesale and retail clients across London and the South East. They also provide full MOT and servicing direct in the fitting centre.
We were introduced to the client by their commercial bank manager who accompanied us to an initial meeting with 2 of the directors. It quickly became clear that the business was successful and growing, however financial management and control was taking up more and more the directors’ time. They had concerns about how cash was managed, the robustness of the systems, compliance and management reporting. In fact they had lost confidence in the management of the accounts function. It was clear from the outset that they would have to hire a financial controller or finance manager.
However, before making any specific recommendations, we carried out a review of the bookkeeping and accounts and process. The key findings were:
The day-to-day bookkeeping and processing was managed by 2 part-timers using a manual cash book. The external accountants used those figures to prepare management and year-end accounts. They also carry out the annual audit.
Current Systems and procedures
A new industry-based ERP system called Tyresoft had just been installed. This system has a full accounts package and reporting which includes stock management and valuation. This system was not fully integrated into the business.
Issues and challenges
There was no clear ownership within the accounts function. The company used a manual cashbook with no plan to automate and increase efficiency,
The external accountants, who provide monthly management accounts, were producing the accounts from the figures provided to them. However, they did not have full visibility of what is going on in the business on the ground.
The directors often have to get involved with cash management.
The management and control of the business accounts and reporting was quite fragmented with no one was in overall charge. It was not fulfilling the expected requirement of a fully functioning finance department. This had the potential to thwart future growth.
Our brief was to find a solution which would address the immediate issues, rebuild confidence of the directors and would provide a solution which would support the company’s future growth.
We recommended employing a hands-on finance manager, to work alongside and support the management team. They would take control of the day-to-day accounting, finance and reporting. The new finance manager would report to the directors and oversee the following key areas:
- Bookkeeping and processing
- Statutory and compliance
- Managing and control costs
- Producing management and year-end accounts and reporting
- Budgeting and projections
- Working capital and cash management
- Implement the ERP software
- Ownership, leadership and vision.
- Shared values
As our client had never recruited at this level before, they had to rely on us to identify the appropriate combination of experience, qualifications and personality of candidates.
This we were able to deliver on by following a robust process. This was achieved by taking time to meet the directors, understand the business enabling us to identify the key success factors. As a result when we interviewed the applicants initially, we were able to get buy-in to the role by suitable candidates, however quickly exclude those who did not meet the criteria.
We then presented a recommended short-list of four candidates, one of whom, was qualified by experience, lived locally, and had diverse and extensive accounting experience. They were offered and accepted the role.
The brief had to be delivered without any substantial increase in accounts team costs which was achieved.