5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
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Abacus to AI - the history of accountancy and why it's such a great career choice according to Astute Recruitment Ltd!


As a leading provider of accountancy staff, we look at what does accountancy mean, it’s history and importance to businesses today. Plus we explore the huge variety of careers available in the accountancy profession, and why accountancy really is a great career choice! We’ve included some great, useful links at the end too!




Historically, ‘Financial Accounting’ referenced how information was communicated on the financial position and performance of a business to its owner(s). An instant snapshot of how a business is really performing.


Financial statements, i.e. balance sheets and the income statement of a business revealed the real financial health of a company.


The word ‘accounting’, however, referred to one of the three principles of accountancy namely the process of reading, understanding, and maintaining the financial records of a business.


The other two? – Bookkeeping and auditing.


Accountancy and accounting are now synonymous, both referring to the methods of identifying, measuring, processing, classifying, recording, and reporting the financial status of an individual, company, business or organisation.


This information is mainly reported in the form of five key financial statements, prepared in accordance with relevant accounting standards, (IFRS, FRS, and various national GAAPs – including US GAAP – i.e. ‘generally accepted accounting principals’) to provide useful information to the users of these financial statements.


The two most important and most used accounting standards are IFRS and US GAAP.


USEFUL LINK: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/advocacy/issues/gaap 


Accounting is one of the key functions of every business. Every company, charity, and organisation around the world will have the use of an accounting department, internally or externally, to look after it’s transactions, i.e. sales ledger and purchase ledger.


The size of the accounting department of a business depends on the scale and type of business. In larger companies, the accounting department usually has many more staff compared to SMEs.


Smaller SME companies and businesses typically have one or two bookkeepers/ accounts all-rounders, who can manage the day to day transactions, and either have an external accountant to refer to, monthly or yearly, or employ a company accountant/ financial controller or finance director/ Chief Operating Officer (CFO).


Similarly, businesses with a larger number of transactions per day will need more employees in their accounting department than ones with a smaller number of transactions.


Where did Accountancy come from?

Accountancy is one of the oldest professions, with a very rich past woven through history.


The modern guidelines we use today were formed from accounting principles started thousands of years ago in ancient region of Asia, called Mesopotamia.


When the idea of counting, tallying money and writing were conceived, that’s when the concept of accountancy is thought to have been born.


The Romans brought order and more formal  processes in accounting. Logging and filing transactions.


Double-entry bookkeeping as we know it today, was credited as being first created in 1494 by Luca Pacioli, an Italian mathematician.


Luca Pacioli 'The Father of Accountancy'Pacioli is commonly credited as the first person to describe the concept of debits and credits in journals and ledgers.

His work in the field of accounting earned him the title of “Father of accounting” and he laid the foundation of modern accounting systems and processes.

The industrial revolution in the mid to late 18th century, created the need for a more advanced system of accounting.

The old, ancient accounting systems, while intrinsically sound, did not provide a solution for the then emerging modern structures of corporations.


For example, corporations had complex structures of ownership that did not exist in ancient times. Investments in those businesses were hard to make due to the lack of credible, detailed information available to investors.


To tackle this problem and attract more investors, corporations adopted a system of reporting their financial activities by publishing financial statements.


At the beginning, these financial statements were limited to the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. The rise of the system of financial statements also gave rise to agency problems.


Agency problems arose because the shareholders of a corporation did not believe the management. This led to the development of a mainstream auditing system.


While the concept of auditing was already developed in ancient Egypt, it became a mainstream practice during these times.


So, what is an Accountant? What is their job?


An accountant is a professional practitioner of accountancy. Accountants are trained, competent professionals who have worked through different professional certification exams, or through their careers, have become ‘Qualified By Experience’.


Accountants are members or associates of professional accounting bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Association Accounting Technicians (AAT).


  • Useful links to all of the professional accountancy bodies are at the foot of this blog if you would like to find out more about their courses, the training and examinations these really good organisations can offer to aspiring accountants.


In ancient times, accountants were viewed as solicitors that offered accounting services to their clients. However, in the mid-19th century, the Institute of Accountants in Glasgow petitioned Queen Victoria no less, for a royal charter.


This permitted them to legally define themselves as ‘accountants’ in their own right, rather than as ‘solicitors’. Even before the petition, accountancy as a profession was already recognised in Scotland. The petition to Queen Victoria meant that accountants could for the first time, be seen as professionals in accountancy rather than mere solicitors in the rest of the world as well.


This petition also laid the foundation for many professional accounting bodies such as the London Association of Accountants, later renamed to Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA) in the United Kingdom and the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in the United States.


Aided by the industrial revolution, this created a demand for technically sound professionals who were capable of handling modern accountancy problems.


Branches of Accountancy – Our Astute ‘Accountancy Tree’ gives some clues!

Astute Recruitment Ltd - Our accountancy career tree


Most people think of accountancy as simple bookkeeping and debits and credits. While these are a part of accountancy as a profession, there are several branches you can follow, each leading to varied, exciting and commercial accounting and finance jobs that are very different from each other.


Choosing Accountancy as a profession really can offer contrasting, fulfilling, and varied career choices.



We’ve broken down the key ones for you below: –


1) Financial Accounting


Financial accounting is the most popular and widely implemented branch of accountancy. Financial accounting branch is related to the reporting of the financial status of a business, through the financial statements, and any process that helps with the preparation of these financial statements.


For example, any process involved from entering source documents into the accounting systems of the business up to the preparation of the key financial statements falls under the financial accounting branch.


Careers can develop from training within a firm of accountants – local, regional firms including Dains, to the so called ‘Big 4’ – PWC, EY, Deloittes, and KPMG.


Or, you can choose commerce and industry (C&I), and secure Graduate Trainee Accountancy positions or Trainee Transactional jobs, such as Accounts Payable (AP), Accounts Receivable (AR) – also commonly referred to as Credit Control, and Accounts Assistant positions.


2) Management Accounting


While financial accounting has to do with the preparation of the information that is reported externally, management accounting is related to the preparation of information for internal use.


Daily or monthly operating reports, budgets, variance analysis, etc. all fall under management accounting.


The information produced through management accounting is used by the management of the business to make decisions for the future of the business. These can be used for short-term or long-term strategy making.


3) Cost Accounting


Cost accounting is similar to management accounting and often considered a type of management accounting.


Cost accounting is the area of accountancy that is commonly used in the manufacturing industry. Costings are used to derive the cost of a product for decision-making purposes.


This cost can be calculated using different costing techniques such as absorption costing, marginal cost, activity-based costing, target costing, etc. Once costs are determined, cost accounting is also concerned with monitoring those costs. Some companies typically have a dedicated Cost Accountant while others employ a Management Accountant whose job description will also embrace Costings.


4) Auditing


While auditing does not involve preparing any accounting information, it is related to reviewing the information produced through other branches of accounting.


Auditing can either be internal or external. Internal auditing is performed by the management of the business to review accounting information produced for internal use.


External accounting is related to reviewing the information produced for external use, which mainly includes reviewing the financial statements of a business.


Auditing can also be used to determine level of internal control of an organization.


Just as with Financial Accounting, careers can develop from training within a firm of accountants – local, regional firms including Dains, to the so called ‘Big 4’ – PWC, EY, Deloittes & KPMG.


Each will have their own trainee schemes and will look to recruit staff directly through LinkedIn or use the services of an accountancy recruitment agency or recruitment consultancy.


5) Forensic Accounting


Forensic accounting is closely related to auditing. Forensic accounting is related to the use of accountancy techniques, skills, and knowledge in circumstances that might have legal implications.


Forensic accounting is the process of carrying out forensic investigations to present in a legal proceeding. Forensic accounting is mainly used for fraud investigations within the business, professional negligence cases, or insurance claims.


6) Accounting Information System – or System Accountants


Accounting Information System (AIS) is related to the collection, development, deployment, implementation and monitoring of the accounting procedures and systems that are used in the accounting process.


With the computerisation of the accounting process, AIS has become a computerized methodology for conducting accounting processes with information technology resources.


7) Tax Accounting


Tax accounting is the branch of accountancy that deals with the application of tax planning to benefit the business and preparation of tax returns.


It also involves calculating the income tax and other taxes of the business. Tax accounting is used to legally decrease the taxes of the business. Tax accounting should not be used for tax evasion.


The rules of tax accounting are defined and dictated by the local tax body of the country the tax is being paid in.


8) Fiduciary Accounting


Fiduciary accounting is the branch of accountancy that is related to the management of funds in trusts. This branch is mainly concerned with the trustee communicating any financial information about the trust to the beneficiaries.


Fiduciary accounting is regulated by the law and court and, therefore, the information produced through this branch must be accurate and precise.


9) Nonprofit Accounting


Nonprofit accounting mainly applies to charities and nonprofit organisations. In this branch of accountancy, incomes and expenses are recorded according to the nonprofit accounting standards. (SORPS)


This is the alternative of financial accounting for nonprofit organizations. In this branch of accounting, expenses are recorded in the statement of functional expenses.


Furthermore, both the income and expenses are recorded in the statement of activities.


10) Social Accounting


Social accounting is the branch of accountancy that is related to reporting the effect of the business’ activities on the society and environment.


For companies, social accounting is used in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and companies may be required by law to do so.


However, other types of organisations such as not-for-profits, charities or government departments, may also choose to adapt social accounting voluntarily.


So, in summary, ‘Accountancy’ or ‘accounting’ is the process of identifying, measuring, processing, classifying, recording, and reporting the financial information of a business.


Accountancy has many branches such as financial accounting, management accounts, financial analysis, cost accounting, auditing, tax accounting, and many, many more.


Modern popular careers in accountancy and finance that are increasingly key in today’s collaborative business world, are Finance Business Partners – blending the worlds of management accounting, financial analysis and stakeholder engagement.


If you are looking for a career in accountancy, or are wanting to develop your CPD / training – here are some useful links: –






ICAEW (ACA)https://www.icaew.com/


FRC (Financial Reporting Council)https://www.frc.org.uk/accountants/accounting-and-reporting-policy/uk-accounting-standards/statements-of-recommended-practice-(sorps)


If you are looking for training providers for the professional accountancy examinations you can contact these two great organisations: –


KAPLAN – https://kaplan.co.uk/

BPP – https://www.bpp.com/


You can view our latest permanent and temporary vacancies on the following link;





If you would like any further help, guidance or support, please contact our MD, Mary Maguire by email to; [email protected] 

Or of course you can contact our team on 01332 346 100 – we are always happy to help.

Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/




6 'astute' Interview questions and answers to help you get a job in a pandemic
6 ‘astute’ Interview questions and answers to help you get a job in a pandemic


With interview requests and new jobs taken by our team at Astute Recruitment, it’s great to share some pointers for candidates about to enter the job market to give them an edge on interview.


Imagine, you’ve been selected for a job interview! Well done! It’s always great news, but especially so in such challenging times.  But preparing for a job interview might be trickier than usual, too.


It would be a little weird if you and your interviewer didn’t acknowledge the global pandemic going on.


You’ll probably be doing your interview remotely, online, at least the first interview, and it’s also likely that you’ll be starting work remotely.


The people and business you’re interviewing with won’t be operating as normal, plus you’ll have to navigate different ways to work together.


Apart from the obvious,  (ensuring you’re wearing smart clothes, and your Zoom background looks tidy & professional), preparing for an interview means being ready to answer some different questions. So, what can you expect to be asked?


1. How are you feeling?

It’s normal to start off an interview with an icebreaker, but in the pandemic, small talk can take on a deeper meaning.


For an interviewer, it’s a way to gauge the tone of the interview. Some candidates’ replies might reveal they are struggling, whereas others will take the question much more lightly. In either case, there is no shame in acknowledging how the Covid-19 crisis is affecting you. The worst thing would be if a candidate came across as too disconnected from the situation, which could be a hint as to empathy skills or lack of.


The pandemic is impacting people emotionally, and for an employer to ask this question, shows they care. If you are asked this question, you should show you understand the situation and are adapting to it. You shouldn’t just use the same answers that you had prepared pre-pandemic, as if you were still in a typical office setting.


2. How are you handling your work-life balance?

If you can keep a healthy work-life balance, it shows a potential employer that you’re able to manage your time independently, and be organised.


Working from home is set to continue for a lot of us for the foreseeable, meaning employers are looking for these qualities,


Companies and hiring managers need to know that even if you don’t have a team around you sitting in an office, you ARE going to be able to work by yourself, can be trusted to wfh independently and autonomously.


This doesn’t have to mean that you’re calendar-blocking each hour of your day. But this question is a prime opportunity to highlight how you can, and have been able to work productively.


In an online interview, it’s an opportunity to also build a bond as you can reflect back a question to your interviewer, e.g.”I’ve found it’s key for me to factor in a 20 minute slot to excerise /walk the dog/ play with kids. I find this improves my feelings of wellbeing and makes me more focused and productive working for the rest of the day. What works for you?”.


3. Have you learnt any new skills since March last year?


This isn’t a trick question. Recruiters

wouldn’t be put off if a candidate said they had struggled with motivation or finding time to learn at the beginning of lockdown.

Instead, they’d welcome and expect some  honesty about what they’ve learnt about themselves during the pandemic.


You don’t have to pretend you’ve been on some kind of productivity marathon if you haven’t. Of course employers will want to know if you’ve added any professional skills to your CV, but talking about hobbies you’ve picked up or personal lessons you’ve learnt helps to give interviewers a glimpse of your personality and a real glimpse of you.


For instance, what you learnt about yourself could be how you discovered a new skill or the ability to step back from something. It doesn’t need to be professional, it can be something more personal.


But, how do you answer if you can’t think of anything you’ve learnt in the past few months?


Something as simple as trying out a new recipe counts. Most of us have discovered some new culinary skills 🤣.


4. What’s your ‘work-from-home set-up like?’

Potential employers have every right to ask about a candidate’s home working environment. Especially making sure that potential employees have a computer with internet access, that they have access to a telephone or a landline, and asking about the reliability of their wifi signal


Employers need to know that you have the equipment you need to do the job you are being interviewed for. However, they are aware that few of us have the perfect WFH set-up. Don’t be afraid to mention any challenges you’ve faced working from home, and how you’ve found solutions to work around them.


This is a good question for employers to ask candidates to see how creative they can be, and how they’re dealing with and have adapted to the current situation.


5. “We’re all on Microsoft Teams/ Slack/ Google Hangouts. Have you used it before?”


Of course, if your interview is on a platform you haven’t used before, you’ll want to test it out beforehand to make sure you know how to use it.


It’s also worth getting to know the main digital communication tools that are popular with businesses. Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom are all free to download and experiment with.


Some great advice to all candidates, is to be organised and prepared with the tech that they could be using if they are offered a job.


Lots of companies used digital communication tools before the pandemic. They’re just using them even more now. If candidates are unfamiliar with them they should definitely look them up & try them out before interviewing for a new job.


For employees who have started looking for a job after several years, this is a really useful tip.


6. Do you have any questions for us?

Pre-pandemic and lockdown, candidates would go into the office, meet a couple of members of the team. They’d get all of the contextual information before being offered the job and deciding whether to accept it.


Now, with largely online interviews, applicants don’t have all of the sensory, physical experiences through Candidates who have managed to get an interview aren’t getting the complete view of companies they’re applying for.


To counteract this, ask a lot of questions during your interview to get a clear idea of how the company works, the office culture and how you’ll work with different teams and individuals.


For starters, ask questions about training, daily tasks and communication methods. It’s equally important to ask about potential colleagues and hierarchy. This may mean clarifying who you would report to or who you can ask for help when you need it. Alternatively, it might mean taking a more informal approach to interviewing altogether.


A great suggestion for candidates is to ask, “If possible, could I have a virtual lunch with the team that I could be working with, just so I can get to know them—maybe not so much in a professional sense, but in a more casual, informal way?“


You could ask to have one-on-one meetings with potential future team members as part of the interview process. This shows you take the future culture of your potential colleagues seriously.


Companies should be understanding about these requests.


It’s really key that candidates meet more people, especially now. Particularly so if companies add a few more steps to the recruitment process. This can give applicants the confidence to be happy if they go on to secure a job offer.


Remember, it’s not just the candidate who has to adapt to the recruiter, but the recruiter who has to understand it’s a different situation for applicants too!


If you have questions around this topic or would like more information about this or something else, feel free to contact our MD, Mary Maguire, by email on [email protected]


An article by Mary Maguire, Managing Director
Astute Recruitment Ltd

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553 

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

7 astute steps to successful cash flow management collaboration by an expert!
7 astute steps to successful cash flow management collaboration by an expert!










Cash is King! Having an accurate measure of your company’s cash is always critical, now more than ever. Here at Astute, as part of a new series of articles, we are sharing 7 simple steps to guide you, in collaboration with a fully qualified accountant and expert in providing cash flow advice and more to SME businesses and larger organisations.

David Thorley is an experienced, fully qualified Finance Director with a proven career in managing the financial tillers of several businesses. Together, we wanted to share his 7 steps to achieve successful cash flow management.

Over to David….


“We need a 13-week cash flow!

An all too familiar phrase that I have heard over the years from banks and finance providers and in these uncertain times an especially challenging request even for experienced number crunchers!

You can, however, meet this challenge using the following simple tips: –


1.    Communication with your finance provider is crucial – whatever the reason, DO NOT make promises you know you cannot keep and DEFINITELY DO NOT say it can’t be done!


2.    Very few businesses can accurately predict cash flows, but everyone can make an informed forecast.


3.    The past may not be an accurate predictor of the future, but it can be an indicator! Summarise the cash flows over the previous 6 – 12 months over key headings and use for forecasting future            trends.


4.    All forecasting relies heavily on assumptions that identify the key sensitivities (e.g. you could be predicting quarterly rent payments being agreed to be deferred or moved to monthly).


5.    Look for seasonal fluctuations in income or expenses – right now this could be forecasting recovery of previous levels of sales over a 3 to 6-month period.


6.    It’s not unusual for the balancing number (to keep within the facility), to be payments to creditors and, in times of extreme cash pressure, this is inevitable; but again, communication is vital              to avoid going on stop with crucial suppliers.


7.    You may need to prepare more than one forecast – based on different assumptions. Again communicate the basis of the chosen forecast when it is shared.


The most important point is to always try to anticipate potential issues. Banks particularly appreciate early warnings especially if it is a potential breach of facility as it indicates a degree of control.”



Great tips so thank you David!


If you need a cash flow expert in your team, call Astute and we would be delighted to assist you.


We will be issuing more articles and tips on a wide range of accountancy, finance, HR and recruitment issues in collaboration with experts in these fields.


If you have found this article informative and helpful, please let Mary Maguire at Astute Recruitment know as feedback is always welcome. Feel free to share this article with others who you feel could find this useful.


#cashflow #CashIsKing #accountancy #finance #financedirector #cfo #financetips #BeAstute

What next for people, business and jobs? An article by Mary Maguire, MD of Astute Recruitment Ltd









An article by Mary Maguire, MD, Astute Recruitment Ltd

Everyone everywhere has been touched, affected and humbled by the unfolding events. From Miami to Mumbai, from Derby to Damascus.


Politicians, scientists, and medical experts update us daily on our national progress ‘beating the curve’, what steps we need to take to protect our amazing NHS and sadly how many have succumbed. But, what next?


What is key to businesses, workers, Recruiters, and MDs is when can we get back to work? What will work look like? Will I be able to find a new job? How will my business survive? How can I feed my family/ pay my mortgage without an income?


It’s natural and normal to feel anxiety, alarm, and stress on what is going on around us now. I feel it. Everyone does.


Thats an entirely normal reaction. But it isn’t very constructive or inspiring or healthy to constantly dwell on the news feeds. Lets not focus on what’s happened, instead, what can we do? What does the future hold?


We need to view our working futures and embrace a bold, new tomorrow. Learn from remote working, digest how much can be done by workers at home.


What can help everyone is thinking ahead.

Imagine what the new normal will be.

In your mind’s eye, visualise you/ your business / your team working again. What could that look like?


I’ll help.


First, companies and business owners.


It will be a completely different business climate compared to just a few, short months ago. Many companies and businesses were doing well, looking to expand, take up larger offices, increase the number of employees.


Others were having some difficulties but just about coping, having just enough ‘in the bank’. For many, there was no contingency, no ‘rainy day’ cash for unforeseen situations. And my goodness, this needed a Noah’s Ark of a contingency!


As we come out of this, working restrictions will slowly be lifted. Antigen tests will enable employers, employees and people everywhere to finally understand if they have/ hadn’t had ‘it’ or if they are immune. As this gets rolled out, companies will have to maintain social distancing, but teams will be able to go back to work on a phased return. Many of them. All of them in time.


Employers will need to keep ahead of changes to employment contracts to cover working from home. Businesses will need to ensure the relevant insurance covers are in place to cover remote workers. HR experts like


Overhangs in business will mean remote working is a ‘thing’. If nothing else, the myriad companies who have initiated, innovated IT enabling their employees, where possible, to work from home, can see that this flexible option can work, and work well. Presenteeism should finally be killed off.


Companies will benefit from a genuinely mobile, flexible workforce. Ongoing rotas with team meetings but with the flexibility to accommodate those who need to be at home, won’t be frowned upon. Their bosses and work colleagues will know they are busy doing their jobs and are working hard in their offices at home. This is also an opportunity, as an employer, to show your staff you care, are fair and decent. If you can do this, your staff will never forget this and you will build the strongest bonds of loyalty in your workforce and retain talent.


Show your business cares about your employees. Having the empathy and time to understand the personal dilemmas faced by your staff, showing them you are there to support them psychologically and practically are key.


Ensure your balance sheet has some ‘give’, look to build trust with your suppliers, debtors and clients. Ensure protocols are in place if lockdown procedures have to come back. Preparedness and contingency planning will be essential. You need to be totally aligned with your Financial Director / Financial Controller and Senior Management team. Scrutinise your credit control processes. This is also an opportunity to build lasting relationships too with your suppliers by having proper negotiations on payment terms and perhaps temporary measures. Help your suppliers to help you.


Ensure your customers KNOW you are still in business. This is a biggie. Use great local businesses like Mark Saxby, at Derby’s Status Social to professionally keep your brand alive, online and seen by potential clients and customers.


Create useful, impactful content but always be mindful not to appear arrogant, ignorant and ill-tuned to businesses and people currently having a very hard time. Have opinions by all means, but you need to make sure not to damage your brand inadvertently.


Unsure about content creation? Organisations including East Midland’s Love Business, East Midlands Chamber, Marketing Derby  are experts in business and can put you in touch with marketing content writers, often local businesses in your local area. Remember, you need to try and ensure your customers know you exist and are ready to help them when they need your service. You need to keep your brand and team alive and in the thoughts of your potential, target customers while the lockdown continues and consistently after the lockdown starts to be lifted. Now is not the time to furlough your marketing team.


Take heart too. The demands for services, retailers, manufacturers, builders, engineers and suppliers WILL return. So those companies that have used the Government’s support mechanisms and been able to utilise their accountants and credit control teams to bolster cash, WILL be in demand.


The dreaded B word, ‘Banks’Many, many business owners, Financial Directors, CFOs and MDs have said that the Banks continue to be very nervous about lending and not as helpful as the government or the business community would like. Some much more friendly banks to approach who appear to be much more helpful are HSBC, Allied Irish Bank and Natwest.


What about employees?

Workers are beginning to realise to know just how big a seismic shift economically, socially and psychologically has been created. There is no magic bullet to get us back to where we were before. Instead, online communications via Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom will be key. If you haven’t already used one of these, check them out. This will be a much greater part of our working world as we move forward.


Create a household timetable. Set alarms to ping for regular breaks from work. Many, many people I’ve spoken to have struggled to work on their own and have found themselves working 4 or 5 hours without a rest. No usual office distractions are great to create focus to get projects and key work done, but it’s not healthy mentally or productivity-wise to soldier on without regular breaks.


Exercise, take a walk, a yoga workout will all help. Exercise releases endorphins, magical feel-good hormones that will sustain energy levels and make you feel better.


Set regular bedtimes for everyone in the household and regular waking up times.

One good tip I read was how making kids wear school uniforms whilst doing their schoolwork and, adults wearing more formal office attire, triggers recognition in the brain and sets the frame for ‘work time’. This hasn’t worked in my case- I’m rocking the jeans and t-shirt look! I do other things though. I have my designated ‘desks’ in the house for working and stick to them. One is in my bedroom, one is at my kitchen table and the other is the front room sofa when I’m writing articles or compiling marketing early in the mornings before the rest of my household awakens. The point? Have set, defined ‘work areas’ so that psychologically your brain shifts into ‘I’m in work mode now’.


Eat well, Eat healthily. This is a biggie. Working from home can create a lot of temptations to ‘nibble’ and ‘just pick’ at snacks constantly. I have a rule in our house – no food upstairs. So, when I’m ‘hotdesking’ in my bedroom, I’m not tempted to constantly graze on munchies. Everyone needs a treat- just keep to regular mealtimes and regular times to have that choccie bar. Try and create meals from scratch. Frozen vegetables actually have more nutrients than fresh. You can freeze soups freshly made to have the next few days.


Um, alcohol. Yes, we should eat well and not drink ourselves silly either. A healthy way of having a little of what you fancy is fine. Try and build 2 or 3 alcohol-free days during the week. Another tip is to only have a drink at regular times. For me, this is usually at 10pm when the kids are asleep! Little known fact: During the lockdown, a number of people have managed to use this as an opportunity to continue their ‘dry January’ and improve their overall wellbeing at the same time.


The point is, having routines is essential to build healthy habits that become more natural. A new habit takes just 28 days to form so some of us will only have another 1 or 2 weeks and this will begin to feel oddly part of our daily routine. If something feels more ‘normal’ in turn this can help lessen anxiety and worry.


What about my sector – Recruitment?

For my sector, recruitment, business will continue with relative ease. Our clients and team are already conducting interviews of candidates online instead of face to face and this trend looks to continue. My team and I have been using Skype and other apps for some time as a natural part of the recruitment process to help clients and candidates. This will just continue to grow. Meetings with clients will be easier and quicker to book virtually online.

Saving fuel costs.

Saving time.

Saving the environment.


The key for recruitment businesses and companies across the board, will be ensuring internal infrastructure, IT, training are all strong, faultless and as seemless as possible. Consultants need to become more and more comfortable being ‘on-screen’. That goes for employees in all offices. Online, real-time, on-time training and support, needs to be available to consultants and resourcers as and when they need support.


And what of the unemployed? What of the companies that sadly couldn’t survive?

I myself was made redundant in 2009. The gutwrenching, knife twisting agony of job insecurity I understand all too well.


But know this. When the lockdown is phased to gradually open up, there will be opportunities for businesses to be reborn and for those not working to find jobs. It may take some time, but there are great, positive steps you can take to speed up your search for a new job or business opportunity.


If you are unemployed, furloughed or feeling uncertain, there is no harm reaching out to trusted recruiters who have helped you before. But be discerning. Use the people who know you as a person, not just another candidate. Contact the companies that have been busy putting positive, useful, thoughtful content ‘out there’. These are the contacts and connections that will have your genuine, best interests at heart.


Be more active on LinkedIn or set yourself up on LinkedIn if you aren’t already. This is the proper reason why LinkedIn was set up. To allow connections with other business and career professionals to work and help each other, forge new relationships and new opportunities.


Above all, try and be positive.


Talk to trusted friends, work colleagues, and business professionals. Keep connected.


And, most importantly, even if you are on your own, know you are not alone.


If you feel things getting on top of you, reach out. Ring a friend, colleague, family – never feel embarrassed about feeling anxious. They will probably be feeling similar anxiety and be equally grateful to share some experiences.


Human beings are natural, social creatures. Our mental health suffers when we are in isolation and on our own. Talking to one another is one key antidote to dark feelings.


We are all in this together, and together we will survive.


Our next business event will be focussing on ways to cope working from home. We will be looking at how to harness your positivity, maintain energy levels and keep motivated when working remotely. We will be announcing details very soon and have a brilliant guest speaker lined up!


If anyone would like more information on any of the points covered in this article and would like a confidential chat, you are welcome to reach me through LinkedIn, email or simply call me on my mobile 07717 412 911. Alternatively, if you have any ideas for articles or information you would like us to put together – let me know!

Be Safe,

Be Well,

Be Astute.

An article by Mary Maguire, MD, Astute Recruitment Ltd

Supporting people and business.



Avoid storm clouds - Why cashflow is key
Avoid storm clouds – Why cashflow is key


Why cash flow is THE most important issue facing SMEs and UK PLC.

If the sudden collapse of Fly BMI on the weekend ignited my curiosity on this subject, the disturbing news today of JLR’s £4bn losses fanned the flames. Cash flow. The lifeblood of all business.

Whether an SME business or an iconic British brand, begs the question, “Why isn’t cash flow at the front and centre of every company’s and government’s business strategy?”

Tata’s executive board deserve to hang their heads in shame pillaging increasing dividends when their cash cow needed strong cash flow metrics and tighter corporate governance.

The lessons from BMI and JLR are obvious, brutal examples of what happens when a decent business, with great branding, lacks cash flow B- plans. I’m going to be controversial now, bare with me.

Fly Bmi didn’t go to the wall because of Brexit. It sank because they didn’t have a plan B for their cash flow, losing their talented team & hardworking staff.

Let’s hope JLR, their owners & Directors can craft better cash controls or UK PLC will lose another, much larger iconic brand forever and with it hundreds of supply chain businesses & jobs. A great credit controller and accounts team have never been so important.







Written by Mary Maguire


Astute Recruitment Ltd

First published on LinkedIn