Bonhill Group PLC (Bonhill) is a leading B2B media company providing Business Insight, Events and Data and Analytics propositions to international Technology, Financial Services and Diversity Business Communities. It is located in Clerkenwell in central London, one of the world’s great financial and technology centres, together with offices in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Remit

Bonhill is focused on building a market leading brand within its chosen business communities, expanding beyond the UK and into large, or fast growing, international territories, and developing a high value core proposition. To enable them to deliver on their wider business objectives, Bonhill was looking for a talented interim Finance Director to further build on and strengthen its finance function.

The successful Candidate was David Griffith, an experienced interim Finance Director, with significant expertise from across a variety of industries. Having worked extensively for high net worth individuals, private equity and plc (AIM), David brought a depth of experience which perfectly suited the opportunity with Bonhill.

Challenges

David was required to work closely with the CFO and GFC to make a number of improvements within the finance team. These included implementing further integration of completed acquisitions; building additional functionality into already implemented systems; settling a relatively new finance team into their roles, providing clear objectives and KPIs; while also ensuring the invoicing of the current business was brought up to date.

He needed to take line responsibility for credit control specifically, with a particular emphasis on reducing cash tied up in debtors, with the end result of having processes and people in place to ensure those gains would not be subsequently lost. He also needed to conduct an independent review of the existing finance team, their roles and the suitability.

Further to the above, David started at Bonhill just as the Covid-19 lockdown was put in place. He was only able to meet one person within the team in person, the CFO, for an hour before starting the assignment. All other direct communication was, therefore, conducted via telephone or on Teams calls.

He needed to find new ways of getting up to speed on projects already in flow, as he couldn’t address issues that arose spontaneously or gain information via more casual interations in the office.

This complicated the process of building trust with employees who were already concerned in a difficult climate. Several of the staff were reasonably new, including two people who had started at Bonhill at the beginning of lockdown. It was, therefore, imperative that David found a way to bring the team together successfully to implement the changes needed.

Results

David made a significant impact, delivering on all targets outlined.

He introduced a reliable daily cash forecasting process and discipline. All invoicing was brought up-to-date and systems were put in place to ensure it was maintained. He provided clear structure and responsibilities for staff to work within, which led to increased motivation and greater efficiency. There were significant improvements in communication and cooperation between finance and business heads, both in the UK and overseas, as well as improvements in basic systems brought into operation.

With regards to trade debtors:
> This was reduced by 40% (£7m to £4.2m)
> On-going trading was reduced to 53 days DSO and a systematic plan was implemented to recover residual historic debts
> A systematic process of credit control and review was introduced, with clear targets for finance staff

Client's View

“After a busy two years of transformation and acquisition the Bonhill Group finance function wanted to finalise the implementation of new group wide systems and practices and improve our credit control and cash management.

BIE understood our requirements and rapidly produced a number of relevant candidates. We chose David because of his track record and his ability to fit within the business.

David delivered results which far exceeded our expectations and left internal processes and credit collection disciplines much improved. His achievement was all the more remarkable given it was all conducted remotely due to Covid-19. I highly recommend David Griffith for his results oriented and practical approach, expectation management and communication skills with his team and peers."

Simon Stilwell, CEO, Bonhill Group PLC

Candidate's View

"The team at BIE are highly professional and diligent. They presented a clear brief, which was well articulated, and provided regular communications during the assignment. They have good payment systems in place and are refreshingly straightforward to do business with."

David Griffith

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