Agile, cost-effective “virtual” Finance Director firm launches in Lancashire


Companies that require the support of a Finance Director, but can do without the steep overheads of hiring a full-time FD, can now take advantage of a new, agile model of finance leadership.

As a Lancashire-based business created in the height of lockdown, Virtual Finance Director Service (VFDS) aims to provide targeted finance leadership, delivering a lifeline for businesses facing today’s challenging business landscape.

VFDS is a strategic, forward-thinking partner, which delivers personalised solutions to support businesses of all sizes – from start-ups and SMEs to large corporations.

VFDS works closely with owner-directors, senior management teams and C-suite leaders across wide-ranging organisations, providing the insight and guidance of an in-house Finance Director or CFO, but delivering this service via a cost-effective model, with an approach that is tailored to the needs of the individual business.

Now accepting new clients, VFDS currently supports businesses across sectors both in the north west and further afield, with core service areas including cashflow planning, assessment and realignment of business models for responsiveness in the current unpredictable climate, month-end reporting and presentations to board, full report analysis and recommendations, process mapping and more.

It is also launching an all-new mentoring service, ideal for companies with a Financial Controller already in place who would benefit from mentoring, training and development. VFDS serves as an expert who will review reports before they are submitted to the board, and help is always just a call away.

Through VFDS, businesses can also access financial specialists so that whatever area of financial guidance is required, from financial modelling to R&D tax credits VFDS is a one-stop shop.

Founder and director of VFDS Paul Collis comments:

“Traditionally, the Finance Director or CFO role is associated with immense businesses, but it’s my belief that you’re never too small to have a finance leader on a part-time basis, whether they work with you one day per month or one week per month.

“Many companies, particularly those which are young and emerging, don’t need a full-time finance team, so through VFDS they have the benefit of making huge savings. We offer greater flexibility, will all the services of a traditional FD, and clients get a lot of value from that.”

Bespoke finance leadership is in high demand – particularly in the era of Covid-19. Paul and his team enable businesses to remain agile, as one of the strengths of VFDS is the ability to have all scenarios on their radar, while remaining an asset and a resource which is on hand whenever needed. VFDS provides flexibility, and proves that you don’t have to be a top-tier multinational to benefit from a forward-looking finance leader.

“While the typical accountant may look backwards, VFDS works to assess where the company is now,”

adds Paul.
“We work side by side with the business to plot points which will help it to progress towards its objectives. Whether the business is a start-up, an SME looking to expand or a medium-sized business looking to augment their current finance team, we provide that flexible short-term or ongoing solution on a case by case basis.

“In the wake of Covid-19, businesses are in survival mode, and they all have to look at their cash reserves. Many companies are having to assess their cashflow and make tough decisions quickly. They may be getting government loans and grants and trying to figure out whether to put it in reserves, use it to invest and expand, or use it to keep afloat. Cashflow can be impacted quickly, and be subject to significant fluctuations from week to week, such as when a region or area goes into lockdown and businesses are affected.”

About Paul Collis FCCA

Paul believes that great client relationships form the backbone of Virtual FD’s service, so gaining a thorough understanding of the business, its requirements, and its key players is his first port of call. Clients who have not worked with a Finance Director in the past, or their FD has provided incomplete service, may not be aware of all they could and should be getting out of their FD. Paul endeavours to fill in any service gaps and provide the utmost benefit to the company from Day One.

Having worked in executive industry finance roles for the past 20 years, Paul has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in diverse areas including technical accounting, strategic growth and operations.

Paul is a “Big 4” trained and qualified chartered certified accountant, with significant international experience across multiple industries. Early in his career, he trained and qualified (ACCA) in audit and advisory services with PwC before transitioning into industry roles with FTSE 250 property groups Savills plc and DTZ. From 2010 to 2016, he lived and worked in the Caribbean: firstly in the retail sector, then as a freelance FC/FD supporting owner-managed businesses across numerous industries. In Sept 2016, Paul relocated back to the UK, and has since filled high-profile interim FD/FC roles in the property, transport, and manufacturing sectors, in London and the north west of England.

VFDS is the example which represents a new, post-Covid way of working, where remote working doesn’t mean isolation or stagnation, but a transition to agile models and taking a connected and collaborative approach, which supports the local business community. It is open-minded and responsive – and its services are bespoke, streamlined and cost-effective.

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