Advisory Consulting

Our Advisory Consulting services support businesses in a range of situations, from companies experiencing underperformance to successful businesses looking to further optimise and grow.

For organisations that are experiencing under-performance or financial pressure, we analyse both quantitative and qualitative factors to pinpoint root causes of issues and offer pragmatic, time-sensitive solutions and implementation plans. With years of industry experience of being able to help successfully resolve issues with debt, working capital and profitability, we’ll be able to help, whether you need light touch or more involved support.

For those businesses already performing well, but with their sights set on bigger goals, we can recommend optimisation, strategic delivery and operational efficiency improvements. Our services provide these businesses with cutting edge ideas, target operating models and data analytics solutions. With significant situational experience in growth and transformation combined with sector knowledge, we tailor solutions to maximise opportunities.

Claire Burden, Partner, Advisory Consulting

An introduction to Claire Burden, Partner, Advisory Consulting at Smith & Williamson LLP. Claire discusses the services Smith & Williamson offers and how they could help your business.

 

 

How we can help you

Solutions led

Success for us is ensuring you, the client, get effective solutions in place as quickly as possible. We don’t apply off-the-shelf solutions and generic best practices, instead we find a tailored approach which is more effective and enduring. Our service lines are combined with commercial acumen to ensure we recommend practical, enduring solutions.

Time sensitive support

It is hectic being a business leader, facing a daunting list of responsibilities, often flying blind due to a lack of live information. Critical tasks can get deprioritised against seemingly urgent but low risk activity, cultural improvements and strategy can be all but forgotten. When an issue takes hold, stakeholder management can take up all the time, further worsening the impact of the issue itself. Smith & Williamson Advisory Consulting brings clarity, support and additional bandwidth to ensure objectives are delivered.

Full transaction service offering

In addressing root causes of issues, our Advisory Consulting services can identify problems that need to be dealt with by a specialist. Within our closely knit Smith & Williamson family, these specialist experts are at hand if you need help with fraud resolution, M&A, insolvency, tax planning, contractual disputes and so on.

Data-driven analytics

We use technology in an accessible way to remove complexity and risk in dealing with ‘big data’, unleashing a world of added value and information for leaders. We deploy data visualisation tools to build dashboards that pinpoint problems, identify opportunities and can be used easily as live tools on an ongoing basis.

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Why us?

Industry Experience

With many years’ experience working in Board roles focussed on turnaround and transformation, the team knows what it is like to be responsible for delivery of objectives and correcting underperformance, importantly including dealing with cash pressures.

Partner-led service

At Smith & Williamson, we provide real value to clients from our Partner-led delivery, including a deep understanding of the practical implications of our recommendations.

Our combination of many years’ industry and advisory experience brings together the best of both worlds to deliver effective and enduring results for your business, not simply glossy reports that get put on the shelf. We work as your trusted advisers, to deliver to tailored requirements.

The Team

Our team combines this knowledge with advisory expertise, working with a wide network of lenders and having visibility of market responses and trends. This means we are best-placed to successfully steer you and your business through either tough times or unchartered new waters. As advisers, we have been where you are now and can truly help, with real world solutions and insight combined with practical implementation.

Toolkit

We have the whole toolkit available, from target operating models, project planning tools, process mapping to technology and data analytics solutions. We use these tools selectively, in an insightful and commercial way to truly add value to your business and your situation.

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Claire  Burden

Claire Burden

Partner, Advisory Consulting

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Frequently asked questions

How do I build enterprise value in my organisation?

Focussing properly on the right things frees up valuable time across the business and creates sustainable cash generation

Identifying the value levers in an organisation brings clarity and a focus on all activities being aligned with building value. Many businesses don’t articulate their value levers and instead focus only on outcomes to be improved, such as profit.

Without a clear understanding of value levers a misalignment may occur. At best, a lack of focus on value levers can lead to activities being focussed on the wrong things, wasting time and money, at worst this can lead to a loss of competitive advantage and failure as the organisation is left behind in the market.

We work with businesses to identify value levers, areas for improved focus, activities and support with implementation. We also focus on a specific goal if required, such as working to maximise value ahead of an anticipated investment or sale of business.

Find out more about our Transformation and optimisation services.

How do I improve cash and working capital in my business?

Releasing tied-up cash gives valuable breathing space, freeing up time and reducing pressure on the finance team

Cash is tied up in more than just debtor balances or in stock; the whole picture needs to be considered from both a pragmatic and a data-analytics standpoint. Once the whole working capital cycle is reviewed and the gap is identified, tailored solutions can be identified. These may include supporting arrangements such as implementing asset-based lending facilities or enhanced insurance coverage to mitigate risks.

Operational changes often deliver significant working capital improvements, these include changes to customer debtor collection processes, supplier contracts, shipping and sourcing arrangements.

In addition to identifying practical improvements that can be made, we also build live dashboards so working capital can be managed to KPIs on an ongoing basis, with filters and drill-downs in the dashboard to target activity.

Find out more about our Turnaround and working capital services.

What cost reduction and streamlining methods are available?

Reducing costs is a controllable way to generate valuable cash and improve profits

Businesses should regularly review their cost base to ensure spend remains effective and lean. However, when costs have spiralled out of control, or are impacting profitability and cash generation, a more in-depth review should be undertaken to strategically review spend.

There are different methods available to help with this, ranging from a simple review of cost categories to in-depth zero-based budgeting, benchmarking and strategic cost reviews to consider how spend enhances enterprise value.

We scale the opportunities based on ease of implementation and impact, while considering any upfront cost to generate a plan to implement and track against. Rather than simply looking at costs to cut, we also complete streamlining reviews, identifying operational process improvements. These range from removing low-value or redundant activities to replacing time-intensive repetitive work with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Find out more about our Transformation and optimisation services.

How do I implement a transformation project?

Implementing a project well reduces cost and frees up management time in dealing with issues

Implementation of the project will be more successful if what you are trying to achieve is set out clearly, with related timeframes, roles and responsibilities. Throughout delivery, a Risks Assumptions Issues and Decisions (RAID) log along with regular progress reporting is important, to manage expectations and deal with any dependencies, blockers or risks effectively so that the project is not slowed down or derailed.

Change management is critical and involves dealing with qualitative factors such as culture, and communication. This can often be a greater challenge if project managers focus more on quantitative factors, causing transformation projects to fail at the final hurdle.

At Smith & Williamson, we strategically review, identify transformation opportunities, and support with delivery. Our level of involvement is tailored to your requirements, and ranges from a light touch, strategic support to full project management to ensure effective delivery and properly embedded solutions

Find out more about our Transformation and optimisation services.

How do I turnaround an underperforming business?

Turning around a business reduces stakeholder pressure, management stress and the risk of ultimate failure

A turnaround programme requires careful consideration and implementation, and we recommend this is undertaken with the support of a qualified, experienced professional. Our partners who lead this work are Institute for Turnaround accredited, and we draw on the extensive experience of our colleagues who are licenced Insolvency Practitioners in more distressed situations.

We can complete a 360º business review to identify the best route forward, enabling your board and stakeholders to have confidence in the available solutions and their deliverability. Moreover, we pride ourselves in supporting successful implementation.

Find out more about our Turnaround and working capital services.

My organisational structure is too complicated – how do I simplify and reduce costs?

A simple structure reduces cost and management time

A complex group structure can increase risks and add cost. Barriers to simplification include a lack of bandwidth to plan and implement the revised structure, the risk of triggering tax liabilities, and missing in-house expertise (for example, only licenced Insolvency Practitioners can complete solvent liquidations).

Smith & Williamson overcomes these barriers by offering organisations a flexible, integrated corporate simplification service which delivers cost effective, lower risk structures and returning capital in a tax efficient way to realise value.

We have extensive experience of successfully providing corporate simplification and post-merger integration support, within complex and regulated UK and multinational groups.

Find out more about our Simplifying corporate structures services.

How do I integrate a new business into my organisation to achieve acquisition synergies?

Proper integration increases management time, reduces cost and generates cash and profit faster

Investment in post-merger integration (PMI) support can be the difference between success and failure to achieve the deal rationale and implement key cultural changes in those critical weeks post-acquisition. It can also materially accelerate the achievement of synergies and capture strategic benefits before competitors have the chance to react.

It is important that integration plans are properly customised to deliver the objectives and value enhancers that warranted the acquisition in the first place. We focus on ensuring the value behind the deal rationale is achieved, and that the integration is enduring and properly embedded.

Through Partner-led delivery, we advise on performance and activities required against the 100-day plan. When issues arise, we provide additional bandwidth, identify solutions and work to bring performance back on track.

Find out more about our Post-merger integration (PMI) services.

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Claire Burden

Partner, Advisory Consulting

Advisory Consulting
Southampton

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