Case Studies

Matt Pugh: Hägen Wolf

“Before my business launched I’d decided that Julie was the right FD for me.”

I officially launched Hägen Wolf, a new law firm, on 13th January 2020. The business had been in the pipeline for years: originally known as The Property Litigation Consultancy, it started life as a legal consultancy sub-contracting with other law firms, but quickly outgrew that model. In order to unlock the business’ true potential, I decided to register it as a regulated law firm to stop sub-contracting and start building a strong, new, independent brand.

It was clear to me long before Hägen Wolf started trading that I needed to bring the right team on board. I was happy to build a team of both employees and freelance consultants: it didn’t matter, as long as they had the skills and values that were the right fit for my business.

One key person I knew was essential for my team was a financial director. I wanted that to be someone, like Julie, who had the demonstrable skills I needed. I knew Julie had been the MD, and sat on the board, of a large company. Expertise like that would be crucial for the firm to grow.

“I was impressed by Julie’s experience, knowledge and approach from the moment we met.”

Julie has certainly been chosen from a wide pool of options! I spent almost 12 months meeting dozens of entrepreneurial contacts for coffees and picking their brains to make sure I was finding the right people. I also met and informally interviewed countless candidates. When I asked for recommendations for an FD, Julie’s name was put forward by several people, including one of her valued clients, Jodie Hill, who spoke very highly of her. On the back of those glowing recommendations, I got in touch with Julie and we arranged to meet.

I was really impressed with Julie from our very first meeting. It quickly became clear that we had shared values, and she was pleasant and practical: making her exactly the type of person I wanted to work with. She immediately became part of the team.

Our working relationship is a fairly new one, but there’s been nothing but great collaboration and positive change so far. Julie continually surprises me with great insights and regularly goes the extra mile. Perhaps most importantly, she has quickly earned my trust, which is so important for an FD.

“She’s shown me how to forecast varied scenarios, so I can plan the best future for my business.”

From the outset, Julie was there to help manage the finances and put together projections. She helped me ensure my bookkeeper was on track and sorted tax registration that has saved us so much time and hassle. Julie even identified a significant VAT rebate that I’d certainly not have otherwise picked up.

I’d previously asked an accountant to look at budgets and forecasting before the business was launched. Yet I was given an Excel spreadsheet that was complicated to understand and difficult for me to update. Julie soon showed me a better way of working. I’d been using Xero for a few years, but Julie’s introduced me to some more clever software, Futrli, that’s incredible intuitive. Together, we’ll forecast varied situations, such as the effects of hiring someone new or taking a larger office, on the business’ finances and cashflow. It gives me a strong idea of strategy and next steps and helps me make key decisions.

Julie and I meet in person once a month. Yet I know in between our meetings that she’s keeping a close eye on the company’s finances. I’ve entrusted her with access to our accounting systems, which has been a great decision. It’s allowed Julie to keep me up to date with where our money’s going so she can alert me to problems before they happen.

As a new business, it’s essential to discuss strategies and approaches. Julie’s someone who I can bounce ideas off, which is invaluable. She clearly knows her stuff! Julie is also lovely and a complete pleasure to deal with. She’s always happy to go above and beyond the scope of our working agreement, which she does willingly and with a smile.

We are a modern business and every person listed on our website is part of the company, whether they’re employed or a self-employed consultant. Julie is no exception: she is a truly integral member of the Hägen Wolf team and I’m delighted to have her on board.

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Not Just an FD
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