Business Experience Post Graduation:
The Strategic Planning Service for full Research, Analysis & Advice to raise venture capital & debt finance with help in management audit & financial projections
Initially, I sought work which would make use of my newly acquired qualifications, so I accepted a position as a Financial Controller for an American Plastics Manufacturer which also had both a Scottish branch and a Dutch branch. Soon, I was involved in arranging expansion plans and the obtaining of significant development grants as well as carrying out my normal duties of cost and management accountancy.
Following that employment, I was employed as the Partnership Secretary of one of the largest multi-discipline Firms of Architects and Engineers in the United Kingdom. In this role, I was responsible for resolving a number of major foreign taxation issues for the Firm and latterly, I authored a Full Management Investigation and Development Plan, which, after its implementation, I was told, led to the Firm achieving a Queen's Award for Exports.
My next role was with an engineering group which was carrying out specialist projects on behalf of the major oil companies operating in the North Sea. For example, we implemented a "hot valve change-over" on a gas compression and manifold platform offshore Aberdeen. To explain this operation, a "hot valve change-over" means that the gas being supplied into that platform from a number of other rigs in the North Sea, continued to both flow into the platform and had also to continue to be pumped from the platform to the land station at Aberdeen. This, therefore, required additional piping being installed to re-route that gas flow without halting it, to permit our engineers to replace existing important valve systems. Given that a few years later, the platform, "Piper Alpha", experienced a devastating and tragic failure, I often reflect that during our particular operation, I had been asked to review a number of the re-routing drawings and had found an error regarding a valve being wrongly classified as automatic when it was actually manually controlled and, therefore, had I failed to notice that error, what might the result have actually been? The scale of the gas circulating within the platform we worked upon was considerably larger than that which caused the Piper Alpha disaster.
Shortly after that particular experience, I came to the conclusion that my main interest lay more in providing independent consulting services to industry directly. Having made the decision, I set out to establish myself in that role.
Please note: I have included my earlier work experiences since I believe they indicate my willingness to get involved at the coalface”. This has given me an advantage over “arms-length” consultants. In my earliest accounting work within the Owens Corning Group, I was advised to get down onto the shop-floor and to try some of the work for which I would be accounting. This advice was accompanied by the dictum that “every job represents a family”. I have borne that dictum in mind throughout my career since it is a good motivator for “getting things right”. I believe that I have helped to save many hundreds of jobs and also have helped to create, again, many hundreds of jobs over my working life as a result of such advice from my earlier “guides and mentors” in my chosen field.
So it was that I commenced independent consulting operations in 1983, which led to the formation of Business Development By Design in 1991 to provide profits improvements studies and raising institutional venture capital for clients using a dedicated and comprehensive business planning system which incorporates an extensive management audit, and preparation for an investors due diligence process.
This system, including copyrighted financial modelling, is of specific relevance to business development situations where informed negotiations with potential investors are crucial. This led to an invitation by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to submit advice for a UK Government White Paper directed towards achieving venture capital funding for high-tech companies which, I was informed later, resulted in a number of bio-medical developments in the Cambridge area.
For the above-mentioned consultation by the DTI, I put together a working party consisting of two engineers and two solicitors as well as myself, and for which, I tendered a written submission of advice. The first engineer had been responsible for advising on the development of the Gas Industry in Greece whilst the second was a highly experienced Consulting Engineer with considerable experience in assisting companies throughout England. One of the solicitors, ultimately the senior partner in his own Solicitors partnership, had previously been a highly experienced solicitor working for the UK Government and who had successfully represented the UK Government on many occasions in Court, whilst the second solicitor was the Business Development Partner of a major highly reputable legal practice in London. Both solicitors, personal friends, had also been independently associated with a few of my own clients and had been pleased to associate with me on the basis that they had concurred with the advices that I had provided to my clients in situations in which they had also been consulted by these same clients in matters unrelated to my own associations with those clients.
I also planned the successful turn-around of a steel-rolling operation for a French engineering group serving north-sea oil operations including a full critical path analysis and the supervision within the factory of a highly detailed work study and the appointment of a new Managing Director, leading to a full turnaround into profits within nine months and at a full three-shifts employment level after a four-year period of losses.
In my next assignment, and after providing safety solutions as requested for deep mining operations and railway systems to the relevant Ministries of the Chinese (PRoC) Government, I was invited to hold a Directorship with a Micro-electronics Company in China established by their Electronics Ministry. I held that position for two years, during which time, I made a number of visits to China to give general business advice in a variety of industrial premises as the need arose.
In general, over many years I have assisted with the development of SME's throughout the UK and abroad, guiding a number towards institutional funding support and growth. I have also acted on behalf of principals, to sell and to purchase companies and manufacturing facilities as going concerns.
As well as these noted activities, I also successfully undertook the role of independent expert to resolve major contract impasses between a large international consortium and a middle-eastern government.
A further assignment involved aiding in the merger of two Firms of Solicitors based in Edinburgh, the centre for Scots Law in Scotland, with one Firm being an original long-established law practice. I was asked to help by planning the first period of the combined Practice; drafting the initial Partnership Agreement and afterwards, by providing a Practice Management Service for the first year of the combined operations to establish the new Firm.
Finally, the specialist financial modelling referred to above, was first developed by me for an expansion assignment in the USA whereby I was reporting to the Client's Vice President of Finance, Dr Bob Howells, who was then also the appointed Professor of Graduate Business at Harvard University, and was himself, a specialist in financial planning.
These Models, now significantly expanded to their maximum capability, have been further refined to fully integrate Ratio Analysis provided by Dun & Bradstreet or to, alternatively, permit a tracking operation to match your own company's performance against any Sectorial Choice vis-à-vis a target company whose performance you might wish to emulate.
To summarise, as described beforehand, I have worked in a number of line management positions during my career. These have included:
Cost Accountant Major American Group
Credit and Sales Manager Major American Multinational
Financial Accountant Gas Tanker Ship-owners, UK
Financial Accountant Investment Trust Managers, UK
Financial Controller Plastics Manufacture, USA and UK
Partnership Secretary Architect/Engineering Firm, UK
Senior Building Estimator International Group, UK
Financial Director Major French Construction Group
I have also worked in a variety of consulting situations for Clients in the following industries:
Import/Export - Far East
Property Development - Far East
I have travelled extensively and have both visited on business and also performed work for clients in the USA, Canada, China (Mainland PROC), Taiwan, Hong Kong, France, Holland, Sweden, Spain and Nigeria.
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