Putting together your ‘boardroom’

Running your own business can be a lonely task. While leaders of larger organisations have a wealth of boardroom experience to support them, SME owners can feel isolated.

The ideal boardroom is made up of an effective mix of skills and experience. This means that different angles of production, finance, marketing, human resources and IT are covered.

Experienced non-exec directors can also be worth their weight in gold in questioning; challenging and helping businesses develop and grow.

However, SMEs and owner-managers that can’t afford these resources can still find the right support they need – by building up their ‘virtual’ board of advisers that can give them the benefit of their experience and knowledge on the road to growth.

That’s where a good accountant can be a vital ingredient, there to act as a sounding board, giving advice where applicable and pointing the SME in the right direction where they can find other areas of expertise that they need.

I often find that small businesses that have not got the benefit of a board of directors use their accountant as a ‘sounding board’ for a whole range of matters, or as someone they can discuss issues with in a confidential environment.

Your accountant should know your business almost as well as you do – and may even know more when it comes to its finances.

That helps give an informed opinion. We’re also able to step away from any emotions surrounding a business – again like a good non-exec director – so we can give an objective view.

And sometimes we can identify and spot potential problems before they arise – another invaluable role of the strong non-exec.

When I’m asked to about the right way to recruit in the boardroom my best piece of advice is, ‘If you can find an individual who buys into the values of the organisation, what it does and what it is aiming to do in the future and has the appropriate skill set and experience, you will be on the right path to find the right person’.

The same goes for any ‘virtual’ board.  Business is also all about relationships. SME owners can bounce ideas off each other so finding the right peer group is also important.

Then there are business support organisations like The Business Clinic. Its acclaimed, confidential ‘peerworking’ sessions can also act like a ‘virtual’ board of directors.

They give SMEs and owner-managers access to a range of professionally qualified people and experienced business owners – without expensive executive charge out rates.

To discuss any issues regarding your business’ development and plans please contact me on 01772 430 000.

I manage the affairs of a portfolio of clients in a wide range of industries. In managing the audit and accounts department of WNJ, I always keep abreast of the latest technical information and legislative changes. Clients receive advice based on commercial awareness not simply historical reporting. Audit and assurance services for large range of clients, including charitable companies and pension schemes, Internal audit and systems reviews, Assisting and development of business start-ups.