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SME Freelance Finance - Richard Burns

SME Freelance Finance

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any long term commitment to The Freelance FD?
No - you have no long term contractual obligation to continue using our services. If you want to stop working with us for whatever reason, just say so. The notice period in the Service Agreement is 7 days, no penalties, no regrets … but hopefully you will still keep in touch! 

Are there any hidden costs?
No – once we agree on the time you need us, apart from out of pocket expenses, you will know exactly what your costs are. Unlike with a regular employee, there is no recruitment fee; no Employer's NIC; no benefits such as car, pension or insurance; no bonus to pay and no employment obligations.

My accounting firm gives me advice – isn't this enough?
Accounting firms are able to help with many aspects of advice to businesses and do this very well. However, they are not set up to deliver what a Finance Director does. Firstly, the number of clients they have means that the Partner-level staff cannot devote enough time to stay close to each client. The Freelance FD has a limited number of clients meaning we have day-to-day contact and see the issues in real time, so can react to them immediately.

Secondly, the accounting profession has been becoming increasingly concerned about the issue of independence over recent years. Consequently, auditors are restricted in the type and volume of non-audit services they can provide to clients for fear of compromising their independence. For them to work with you as a proxy FD would involve them in the management decisions of your business, resulting in them auditing their own work to some extent and could preclude them from acting as your auditor.

Will you be trying to grow your role into a full-time Finance Director?
No - our business model is built on flexibility and working with a small portfolio of businesses. We are not structured to allow us to spend too much time with one client. If you get to the stage where you need a full-time FD we will help you find one. It may mean we lose business in the short term, but it would be a measure of success so hopefully you would recommend us to others!

Do you want to take over our Finance function?
No – we only provide the high level FD input that you need; when you need it. We will work with whoever is currently doing your Finance work, help develop them and use their resource as much as possible for all the routine accounting, operations and reporting activity that needs to go on as usual.

What about confidentiality?
We operate to the highest standards of professional ethics, just as you would expect from a professionally-qualified permanent Finance Director. We will enter into a Non-Disclosure Agreement at the start of an assignment that protects your confidential and proprietary information. In addition, we undertake not to take assignments from direct competitors and will consult with you if we feel there is any doubt about this.

Will I get pushed into something I don't want to do?
From the first meeting onwards, this is all about you - your business and your ambitions. You retain control of the decisions. We do not assume that everyone wants the same thing and don't have some agenda to push all businesses into rapid growth if that is not what they want. If your target is long-term stability, that is what we will help you plan for and achieve in the most profitable and predictable manner.

What about continuity?
When you work with The Freelance FD, the individual you meet is the one you will be working with. The personal relationship and chemistry between the FD and the other senior executives is a vital aspect of the success of your business – we have to feel comfortable with each other and that relationship generally grows over time. If an unforeseen event means that your FD is not available for whatever reason, we have a network of suitably-qualified Finance professionals and would make an alternative person, acceptable to you, available at no extra cost.