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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Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

As part of a series of collaborations, our MD, Mary Maguire is working with specialists across Finance, Accountancy, HR, and Recruitment. Thank you to Mr John Hepworth for his insightful piece on what a CFO needs to know in 2020…..


The challenges of the last 9 months have meant a very bumpy ride for many businesses and it is likely that the road will not be much smoother in the coming months. Having had to react to the rapid lockdown of the economy through the furloughing of staff, transitioning to home working, making applications for government support grants and loans, ensuring workplaces are safe for employees and customers – the list could go on!

As a CFO, you must now ensure that your business is ready for a future which is likely to be somewhat different to what has gone before.

Oh, and then there’s Brexit!

The recent focus for the CFO is likely to have been managing cash and mitigating the short-term risks brought about by the precipitous economic slowdown. Having steered your business through that period it is now incumbent on us as CFOs to ensure that our businesses take all the opportunities afforded, whilst avoiding costly pitfalls.

To do this I see that there are several things that we need to have in mind: –


  1. A Proper Business Strategy

Depending on our markets, we may need to continue with a defensive strategy i.e. strengthening our balance sheets, building cash reserves, rebuilding, or changing revenue streams, cutting costs and potentially downsizing.

Alternatively, if our market remains buoyant, we may want a more aggressive strategy of investment and growth driven by innovation, enhanced revenue streams, or acquisition(s).

Whatever our strategy, we as CFOs, must know how it is going to be financed and be ready to influence and secure commitment from the Board and senior management to approve bold, strategic moves.


  1. Agility To Adapt!

We need to keep our finger on the pulse of the business, our markets, and our customers, and understand the speed at which things change. We should also chart closely the course of the pandemic and of course be ready for potential changes to our business and operations when we exit the Brexit Transition Period on 1st January 2021. All these changes will have potential impact on our busines and will help inform our strategy.


  1. What changes to keep.

To continue to support the business over the lockdown and beyond, many CFOs have had to make massive changes to the ways that their finance functions operate, be it increased working flexibility for our staff, greater utilisation of technology for communication, and automation of processes.


Some of these changes will be robust, but other may be temporary solutions that require more development. Many of these changes will be beneficial in the longer term and we need to ensure that they are embedded into our processes.


For the technological changes, it is likely that capturing the opportunities offered by AI through invoice scanning or building of bots to carry out mundane repetitive tasks may be the differentiator between business failure and success.


Now is the time to act.


As well as process improvements, we have undoubtedly stripped cost out over the last few months. The canny CFO must work closely with departmental heads and budget holders to manage things to ensure that these costs do not drift back unnecessarily.


  1. Embrace The Power Of Forecasting

We all know how important forecasting and budgeting is for our business, but things have just got way more critical. We need to utilise scenario planning more, using best, expected, and worse case scenarios.


Budgets of old will become a thing of the past. We should now aim to deliver and utilise dynamic forecasts that are updated and reviewed with management quarterly if not more frequently, ensuring that our strategic direction remains appropriate. KPIs should be set and monitored to enable quick identification of problems or a requirement to change course.


Emerging data tools including Power BI and Power Query and having the interim or permanent expertise in your team to deliver the very best in analysis and forecasting is key. As is the plan for knowledge retention for these skills to be developed and retained in your Accounting function.


Speed and flexibility must be permanently built into the forecasting and planning process to facilitate faster decision making. Remember too that accurate and timely reporting and data is even more crucial during times of turbulence.




  1. Taking Our Teams With Us And Having The Right Talent!

We may have had to let team members go over the last few months, but it is vital that we invest in the finance team and ensure that all staff has a Covid secure environment in which to work.

It is also critical to ensure your team has the right skills to ensure the delivery of business objectives. This may involve training, but exceptional leadership is imperative especially when managing team members who are working remotely.

Alternatively, for businesses doing well, the success of a CFO will be measured on the continued performance of their operational, production, and finance teams. Ensuring you have the right talent and the best possible people for your business is critical.

As always, whether facing economic headwinds or not, talented accountants, sales, marketing, and other experts are in demand. You need to ensure that your business is front and centre in terms of employer branding in the sector you operate within.

Ensuring key relationships with trusted recruitment partners are maintained but also allowing exceptional local sourcing specialists such as Astute Recruitment Ltd, to alert you the best possible talent available.



  1. Marketing, Branding, Position, and Perception

As CFO – the art of effective budgeting to inform critical decision making has never been so important. One of the truest ways to enhance a business is to ensure that social media channels are up to date, with relevant, high-quality original content. With usual sales presentations and pitches increasingly shifting online, there must always be a place on the balance sheet for marketing expertise to bring your brand and business to potential customers, clients and potential future hires.


& Finally, next time we will be ready!

I imagine that many businesses risk registers did not include a pandemic as a critical risk. We must rectify this and take all our learnings to ensure that we have robust processes in place for any repeat. We should also keep our contingency plans up to date in case of another serious downturn; this maybe being ready to downsize, liquidate assets, or secure additional funding.


As well as steering the business through the choppy waters of Covid-19 and Brexit we must not forget the CFO’s responsibility for sustainability and environmental protection. We must move on from the box-ticking exercise of CSR and ensure that in the new world sustainability becomes an inherent part of our business operations and strategy.


Not much to do then!


An article by John Hepworth. You can view John’s profile on LinkedIn by clicking below: –


What does a CFO need to know in 2020? Astute Recruitment provides the inside track
What does a CFO need to know in 2020? Astute Recruitment provides the inside track
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.


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