Julie and I met a few years ago, initially to see how we could refer business to one another. However, when she told me more about Not Just an FD, I saw a way that she could help me.
It’s safe to say my strengths don’t lie in numbers. I’m a solicitor, and I’d started a new employment law firm, so it was necessary to apply for a grant to grow my business and help with marketing, a website, and equipment purchases. I also wanted to apply for a BEF start-up loan.
My business plan needed a forecast, and that’s where Julie stepped in. I never knew it was an option to have a part-time FD: it makes having an experienced financial director on your team an affordable option. As soon as I met her, I knew I wanted that FD to be Julie.
I was impressed by her professional yet personal approach. She put me at ease from the moment we spoke on the phone, so we developed a strong working relationship from the outset. Julie’s more than just an accountant: she’s managed a business, so she gets how to run a company and make it successful.
There was a fair amount of to-and-fro to meet the lenders’ requirements for my grant application, but Julie was incredibly helpful. After she guided me through the initial funding process, providing forecasts the lenders were happy with, I retained her services. We meet on a monthly basis to cover a range of reports and management statutory accounts, comparing company performance to forecast and discussing ongoing financial strategy, such as staff hire. Essentially, Julie’s teaching me accounting!
Together, we cover all the forecasting for my business plan. Julie does my monthly balance sheet, all reporting, and profit and loss accounts. She makes me focus on my figures on a monthly basis and keeps me on track. Julie tracks KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for my business and gives me targets to meet every month, to which she holds me accountable. She even answers my calls, texts, and emails when she’s not in the office. She truly goes above and beyond.
I place complete trust in Julie. In fact, I’ve given her full access to my business bank account to make payments and monitor transactions. She even acts as bank signatory. It’s invaluable having an outsourced FD that can do this, and testament to the strong relationship I have with Julie that I don’t hesitate for a moment to entrust her with total financial control.
Working with Julie has given me the confidence to make not only my own financial decisions, but also to challenge others on financial concerns. I’d never have questioned such things before working with Julie, as I wouldn’t have had certainty in my figures. Now she’s there as my sounding board, it gives me the assurance I need to tackle any issues.
For year two of my business, I applied for another BEF start-up loan (I wanted another bite of the cherry!). It was invaluable having Julie by my side. Not only did she know the process but, crucially, she knew exactly how to apply it to suit my business’ needs perfectly.
Whatever life throws at my business, I know I can call on Julie for support. Recently, she’s been instrumental in crisis strategy planning as we’ve tackled the impact of the coronavirus. At Thrive Law, we’re guiding businesses through the legal, HR and wellbeing implications of the crisis and Julie’s been there to guide our broader approach as well as tackling the direct effects on our firm. We’ve worked together to get information and advice out to the wider audience. The very first task Julie did was to re-run our forecast with different scenarios. This was crucial, as it allowed us to see what the effect of the pandemic might be on the business and to calculate which were the best options to combat that.
It’s true that, whatever the situation, I can rely on Julie’s incredibly consistent and hugely supportive approach. She’s an asset to Thrive Law, and I look forward to working with her every month.