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Agriculture & Land Management | Financial Management

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This home-counties family business had been established for many generations, and generational change gave rise to seeking assistance...

Land-owning, property and agricultural business – financial management and advice


Situation

This home-counties family-owned business has been established for several generations, and after many years, the family leader wished to retire and pass on the management responsibility to the next generation. The new incumbent, new thinking and new challenges signalled the need for support and more comprehensive financial management. Playfair Partnerships were engaged to deliver this.

We were first contracted on a ‘light’ assistance basis, but it soon became apparent that there was a need for a fundamental overhaul of systems and procedures, as well as a review of some key issues. This entailed a significant increase in resource requirement, which we were able to deliver from within our team.

Action

Review legal and operational structure and introduce budgeting across all entities and operations

Although the business was not overly complicated, the ownership structure was, with a mix of trusts, partnerships and individuals. This structure needed to be combined with operational management controls and clear financial information.

A cross-entity operational structure was formalised, and a detailed budgeting exercise undertaken. This allowed the team to gain a clearer understanding of both the operations’ and the entities’ financial position, enabling them to make well-informed investment and operational management decisions.

Assist with the transition to newly acquired software

The client had recently acquired industry-specific property management software to replace separate accounting and property packages. Playfair Partnerships assisted with the accounting data transition and helped set up the new software to reflect the entity and operational structures.

Data was also collated from the other areas of the businesses previously excluded from the accounting systems and brought in line with the existing model, improving consistency and allowing full reporting on all facets of the businesses.

Introduce management accounts across all entities and operations

Following the new structure, we designed a unique and complex management accounts model for utilising the data from the new software and reporting on both entity and operations against budget, individually and in summary form, thus providing the correct level of information to the various stakeholders.

Review financial operations and introduce a management company

As the complex process evolved, it became clear that there was a need for a fundamental overhaul of the systems and procedures and because of this, the structure. This culminated in the formation of a management company, which provided a better vehicle for the management costs of the multiple entities. It also reduced the chance of VAT leakage and mitigated the dangers of reservation of title issues by improving the legal structure.

This was accompanied by a review of the VAT returns and demands, resulting in a large value recovery for the client.

Rationalise resource for ongoing requirements

After these significant changes were completed, we jointly agreed with the client that the  outsourced accounting activities could now be managed by a new in-house resource. We assisted the client with recruiting this team and training them to use the new systems, which resulted in a smooth handover, cost savings and management benefits, with real-time reporting replacing outdated historic information.

Outcome

The financial management and controls have been completely overhauled and are now maintained by a new professional and stable management team, providing prompt, accurate and comprehensive information to manage the business.

Playfair Partnerships continue to work with this land-owning, property and agricultural business providing advice on financial management and strategic issues and are available to undertake ad-hoc projects.

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Studio 103
Mill Studio Business Centre
Crane Mead, Ware
Herts SG12 9PY

01920 444230mail@playfairpartnerships.com

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