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Growing Those Margins

Growing Those Margins


By Neil Morling, Chief Financial Officer at Olswang

Whenever I step into a new business no matter what the inherent challenges are I always refer back to four key principles:

  • Grow margins
  • Drive organic growth
  • Improve cash performance
  • ….while building a sustainable business

I have to admit most of my thinking has been shaped through need rather than desire often having had to deal with the repercussions of a material external forces. For example:

  • The c2003 – 2004 crisis within the US automotive sector (Ford and GM) which fed through to Europe
  • The recession of 2008 – 2010 (…and beyond) in particular the impact on the property sector in the UK and Middle East
  • The banking crisis allied to the above
  • A tragic event that eventually led to the failure of a FTSE 100 entity.

Setting aside one of the most obvious routes to margin improvement, organic growth, I have developed a series of ideas that have demonstrably helped to drive a marked uplift to the bottom line.

While CFO's are normally not industry experts they can and should be able to spot both warning signs and opportunities. Our task is to enable the right person to make the right decision at the right time, as close to market as possible.

So what is this sorcery I speak of:

  • Management Information has to be structured both to provide real insight and accountability

The traditional P&L does not do this

  • Align MI to the organisations "business cycle"
  • Develop an MI strategy around e pyramid of needs, this should cover from day job data through to informing Board debate

At the forthcoming CFO Event I will be exploring the above in more detail.


Enjoyed this article? Why not meet the author at our CFO Event

Neil Morling, Chief Financial Officer at Olswang

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