Stephen Clague

Associate

A Big 4 trained chartered accountant and seasoned business executive and board director, Stephen has extensive experience in both growth and business turnaround within the private sector including family owned and VC/Family office/HNWI funded, SMEs and AIM listed, $bn multinationals as well as ‘Not For Profit’.

In his 25+ years as a FD/CFO Stephen has built significant expertise in B2B and B2C services, land and property, retail, recruitment and ICT sectors.

Strategic Planning, Budgeting, Forecasting and KPI’s

  • Led the corporate budget process, challenged budget holders and business unit management, in the pursuit of rational and realistic values including non-financial indicators.
  • Managed the quarterly forecasting process; cash forecasts often daily when needed.
  • Created business models and plans for raising finance for short term working capital support, M&A or capital investment.

Cash Management and Fund Raising

  • Improved working capital and cash management, such as stockturn up by 50% and DSO cut by 30%.
  • Successfully negotiated (and adhered to) payment plan with HMRC for PAYE & VAT of £1.8m.
  • Successfully raised finance through funding by HNWI and family offices, asset backed finance, factoring and invoice discount financing, property sale and lease back and bank finance (loans and overdraft). Also successfully renegotiated extension of £26m loan with RBS’ GRG.

Business Improvement

  • Led / managed projects of IT system selection and implementation (financial and operational) delivering rapid payback and/or operational practice transformation.
  • Instilled mindset challenging the status quo and of continuous improvement, enabling productivity enhancement of 40%.
  • Challenged procurement processes resulting in material savings and more streamlined systems.

People

  • Effective leadership of teams, finance and multi-disciplinary.
  • Mentored, coached and supported.
  • Restructured and rationalised with effective management of change.

Financial Management

  • Produced annual statutory accounts under both UK GAAP and IFRS.
  • Prepared and completed annual corporation tax computations and returns.
  • Tax planning and mitigation.
  • Managed VAT investigations.
  • Managed the Corporate Governance and risk analysis processes.
  • Managed the company secretarial and payroll functions.

Non-Financial

  • Property
    • Acquisition / disposal / major projects / ongoing investment in existing assets
  • Legal
    • Led on a variety of projects including a £20m Recruitment Master Vendor Agreement; £50m Joint Venture; Share restructuring; Trade sale of privately held SME.

Financial Director – April 2019 – present

  • Continued to provide, part time, FD and related services to a London based legal recruitment firm.
  • Since mid-August, supported a social enterprise in domiciliary care and supported living in Cornwall which had an urgent need to understand how it has performed financially, its state of health and what action may be taken to improve on both. This I have addressed and continue to provide financial and commercial expertise.

 

Finance Director & Company Secretary May 2016 – March 2019

  • Within first month provided the board with relevant management information on business performance.
  • Effectively managed and developed a stable team (staff turnover<10%) providing a cost-efficient service to internal clients and external parties including local authorities, CCG and private clients.
  • Secured a £8m (63%) reduction in the funding required to cover the deficit of a defined benefit pension scheme by successfully persuading the local authority to act as guarantor of any unfunded deficit.
  • Effective use of cash resources allowing substantial growth in investment in the fabric of homes and IT, including a range of capital projects.
  • Rapidly built effective working relationship with banks and secured short and medium term debt facilities with both.
  • Developed strong working relationships internally and became more emotionally aware and understanding, particularly with non-finance staff whose focus was more on the delivery of care, and less on finance.
  • Developed excellent working relationships with professional advisers including auditors and lawyers.

 

CFO & COO Mar 2015 – May 2016

  • An established and growing IT SME which provides video over IP solutions including services through commercial SLAs for many blue chip private and public sector customers.
  • Responsible for leading a small team in finance and operations, essentially all matters not technical and sales.

 

Finance Director – Feb 2010 – April 2015 

  • Startup providing financial recruitment services and the provision of interim, part-time FD services and project consultancy including forensic investigation for a quoted Plc.