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Everyone loves Existing Eddie

Existing Eddie loves life and life loves Eddie. Everywhere he goes people stop and smile as he passes by. He’s always got time to say hello and always has a kind word for everyone.

One day Eddie was in the garage having his sports car serviced when Grumpy Gavin the mechanic came up and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hello Gavin,” said Eddie.

“Hi Eddie,” said Grumpy Gavin, “can I have a quick word with you in my office?”

“Sure,” replied Eddie.

They walked into the back office and sat down at Gavin’s desk, which was covered in hundreds of pieces of paper all piled high so that Eddie could barely see Gavin’s head poking over the top.

“How can I help mate?” asked Eddie.

“Well,” said Gavin, “we’ve known each other for a long time and I really need your advice,” said Gavin, sheepishly.

“You see, the thing is Eddie, I want to know how you do it.”

“Do what?” asked Eddie.

“You know,” said Gavin.

“Er, no Gav,” said Eddie.

“Well, er, I WANT TO BE MORE LIKE YOU!,” blurted Gavin all of sudden, before looking down at his hands and fidgeting.

“I want you to tell me how I can be more like you,” he repeated, more quietly.

“How do you mean?” said Existing Eddie leaning back in his chair.

“Well you own and run a medium sized business in Hertfordshire, like me, and you’ve done so for many years. Yet each year your business grows and you get busier but you never seem to get down about it. Why?”

“Ah, I see!” he said sitting forward and smiling

“It’s easy Gavin. I just don’t like surprises, that’s all!”

“But how do you avoid surprises?” asked Gavin.

Eddie helped himself to tea and told Gavin all about how he likes to do things properly and avoid any nasty shocks. How he doesn’t like to be surprised by his company’s performance. He doesn’t like to be surprised by tax bills (personal or business) and he doesn’t like to be surprised by his accountant’s bill.

“So you see Gavin, I never feel stressed or unhappy because I always look ahead,” he said finishing his tea and pouring himself a second cup.

“Please show me how,” asked Gavin.

“All you need is an accountant that gets it.,” said Eddie, “It’s like this…”

Eddie proceeded to tell Gavin all about he was just like Gavin before he met O’Byrne and Kennedy. How they told him about their belief in taking a forward looking view of finance.

“Accountants are often like historians you see Gavin; only looking back at what happened last year or last month. But as you can only make decisions about the future you need a finance function that looks forward and supports the decision making process.

“My internal accounts manager has limited forecasting skills for example, so O’Byrne and Kennedy provide a budgeting and forecasting service. This is a detailed monthly financial forecast of profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow rolling 12 months in advance.

“We meet quarterly to review my performance against the forecast and vary the future forecast in the light of more up to date information. So I’m never surprised by my financial performance.”

“Ah,” said Gavin, his eyes lighting up.

“But that’s not all,” said Eddie

“Once we have detailed financial forecasts we can also forecast my company and personal tax. A year in advance O’Byrne and Kennedy prepare the tax calculations. They then use a Tax Saving Checklist to ensure that they consider all options and present alternative calculations for the options being considered. The tax forecasts are then documented and reflected back into the forecasts where necessary. So I’m never surprised by a tax bill either.”

“Brilliant!” said Gavin, breaking into a smile for the first time that month.

“And,” said Eddie, “I agree all my fees with O’Byrne and Kennedy annually so I get a fixed price agreement including ad hoc support so I can call them whenever I want to knowing that I won’t get a surprise bill. So I’m never even surprised by their bills.”

“And I’m always getting those!” said Gavin, slapping his forehead in a eureka moment.

“What else do they do?”

“They help me run a better business, and they are serious about making it better and more valuable. They facilitate an annual strategic review to show me where my business is now and where it could be in a few years’ time. They’ve built a spreadsheet model of my business to enable us to quickly assess what business lever has what effect on the performance and valuation, you see? “

Gavin’s face looked a little blank at this, so Eddie carried on:

“For example, what would a 5% change in price would do for my cash flow and business value or what impact a change in product mix could have on my margin, do you get it?

“We then use this meeting to set objectives for the medium and longer term. This gives me the focus I need to run a better business, and we review progress with these plans when we meet quarterly.”

“How did you learn all this?” asked Gavin

“With O’Byrne and Kennedy of course!” said Eddie, handing over a business card.

“They taught me. I never went to Managing Director School you know? I taught myself most of what I know by running my business, so my experiences are limited to my own business and my own industry.”

“Just like me!” said Gavin; smiling even wider and putting the card down on his desk and switching on his old PC.

“Exactly Gavin, O’Byrne and Kennedy act for many business owners across a range of industries. They can offer a whole range of ideas and approaches while I’m pursuing my objectives or solving my problems. I’m even a “graduate” of the OBK MBA Programme. You should go on it yourself.”

“Don’t worry,” said Gavin, typing away furiously on his keyboard, “I’m already booked!”