Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

FD, Private-Equity-Backed Business: Sarah Hunt Explains What You Need to Work in a Demanding Strategic and Operational Role in a Fast-Growing Organisation

Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

FD, Private-Equity-Backed Business: Sarah Hunt Explains What You Need to Work in a Demanding Strategic and Operational Role in a Fast-Growing Organisation

Article excerpt

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The role of finance director in a private-equity-backed business is appealing if you seek breadth and depth in your job and a real say in what the business is doing.

The salary level and benefits package will not be insignificant, but these will not be the main attraction. That should be the chance to share in the equity, via shares or options, coupled with a desire to have responsibility across the whole organisation.

The defining feature of a backed business is that it is deliberately being managed to achieve a suitable exit. That gives the finance director a stake in the business and puts them right in the thick of the action. They will be expected to be the right-hand man or woman of the chief executive. This means that previous experience in a leveraged company may be preferred.

An organisation that has recently taken an external investment, possibly for the first time, and aims to grow rapidly through acquisition and expansion will often need considerable realignment or restructuring. In this case, the FD will be expected to lead the development of a new framework across all support functions, controls and IT. This will involve a lot of drilling down into the financial and management information currently being produced. When the business is ready for exit, this will have to stand up to due-diligence examination. Cash will be king and the banking covenants and business plan objectives will need to be managed well. This means that a broad range of skills and strong commercial sense will be essential, so the role may be suitable for an experienced ACMA with the right attitude. …

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