Saturday, 31 December 2011

Thank You to our 2011 Clients

A big thank you to all of Intervallum's clients who have helped to make 2011 another successful year for us: -

Mills CNC Limited

Ensco 881 Limited

The Intraining Group Limited

Newcastle College Group

Purple Cat Limited

ABC Limited

The Complete Works (International) Limited

We wish you all a successful and prosperous 2012.

Best wishes from the Intervallum Team.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chartered Director – Regional Ambassador Initiative

In the summer of 2011, the Institute of Directors announced the ‘Ambassadors’ Initiative’ as a key plank in the Chartered Director strategy in raising profile and awareness with stakeholders within the IoD regions. A small number of prominent Chartered Directors from the existing network were invited to take up the role of Regional Ambassador, gaining national coverage, and invited to the first of what will become regular meetings at Head Office. The objectives of this were: -

· To discuss the activities or factors that would make a difference to recognition of Chartered Director regionally in relation to: public relations/media, spreading awareness within the branch and regional network; supporting the qualification in relation to relationships with key stakeholders or influencers.

· To obtain Ambassadors’ views of what works currently in their regions to (i) support Chartered Directors and involve them; (ii) engage Diploma holders or other groups (such as Young Directors) with a view to creating interest and broadening understanding of the qualification.

· To assess whether there is scope for an ‘influencing campaign’ to raise awareness with regional bodies or organisations that frequently recruit for board positions (including, but not exclusively, search firms).

Chartered Director is a critical element of the Institute’s mission in promoting high standards in the boardroom and is a key plank of director development and the professionalisation of boards. Aligned to this, is the need to raise the profile of the qualification.

I am the Institute’s 25th Chartered Director and can tell you that this prestigious qualification can benefit you in many ways: -

Status: -

- join a prestigious Chartered body, whose qualifications are unique to the role, responsibilities and proven experiences of directors who have reached the highest positions in their organisations. The qualification provides credibility for operating at this most senior of levels.

Recognition - be supported by a large number of major and influential organisations. In particular, institutional investors and their advisors, regulatory bodies and leadership centres in the public sector are now recommending Chartered Director as the ‘gold standard’ for board membership.

Trust - gain a foundation from which you can build further trust with internal and external stakeholders based on the knowledge gained by, and recognition given to, Chartered Directors.

Process: -

- learn through a structured Certificate programme:
· the roles and responsibilities of a director and board;
· key skills needed to enhance your role;
· the board’s accountability to its stakeholders and the governance of the organisation the board serves

Application - apply your learning through the Diploma programme in a controlled professional environment through case examples, working to address problems, coming to decisions and gaining practical experience on the workings of the board and the responsibilities of being a director in a practical setting.

Capability - demonstrate your experience through the Professional Review across a broad range of organisational and board activities. This is a rigorous test of capability and application at the highest level of achievement for professional directors.

Development: -

- continue to develop the skills you have learnt. IoD advocates, and requires, Chartered Directors to undertake CPD on a regular, annual basis, and regards ongoing professional development and learning as essential for ensuring that individuals continuously and effectively contribute to their board and their organisation.

Professionalism - be required to abide by a Code of Conduct which is the foundation of ethical and professional practice

Networking - be aligned with a network of IoD’s thousands of enterprising and established directors, that have the support of a policy and executive team that represents directors’ and organisations’ interests with regulators and government.

Best Practice - improve your personal contribution and gain confidence in all aspects of effective leadership, sustainability and sound corporate governance. You will have the skills to provide your board with guidance on good, ethical and sustainable practice.

In the coming weeks and months, I will be working with our Regional Director to look at organising specific events in the West Midlands Region for Chartered Directors and those moving through the development process towards full Chartered status. I am very interested in hearing from those of you that this relates to on what format you would like this to take.

Paul Hooper-Keeley is the IoD’s 25th Chartered Director and Managing Director of Intervallum Limited, a provider of Interim Finance Director Services ( He can be contacted at .

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Intellectual Property – The Risk Factor

Are you comfortable that the intellectual property created by your business is safe? Those ideas, the products, the designs and the trading names that you may have used for years and years? Well perhaps you should think again!

What follows is a cautionary (and current) tale for us all. A very good friend of mine, Mark Le Gallez, formed a band in 1984, called The Risk, with Colin Leach. Based in Guernsey, using The Risk as their trading name, they began composing songs, recording them, and playing ‘live’ concerts. The interest that they generated with the self-released first 7” single in 1984, “Forget The Girl”, on their own FAB Records imprint, led to them being signed to London based record label, Unicorn.

What followed was a series of album and single releases on Unicorn Records, distributed across Europe by Nine Mile (part of The Cartel organisation) and a publishing deal with Sparta Florida (who also handled David Bowie’s publishing in times gone by). The process of manufacturing these hard format releases has involved industry bodies such as the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), the royalties from radio and TV plays and ‘live’ performances have resulted in collections and distributions by the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and the PPL, and the releases have been reviewed in the industry’s own journal, Music Week. In addition, The Risk has toured the UK, Europe and USA several times over the last 27 years within many well established music industry venues.

Nine albums later (plus several appearances on compilation albums on various other record labels such as Razor, Biff Bang Pow, Twist etc. and a tribute album of their songs recorded by other artists) the back catalogue was digitally re-mastered and released on CD by Detour Records imprint, ‘Paisley Archive’. These albums can be purchased from the normal industry outlets including Amazon, HMV etc. or via iTunes on mp3. And a new single, entitled “Good Times”, is scheduled for release as an mp3 single on 31st October.

So far, so good – an established business fully embedded within its own industry sector and generating significant goodwill over the years (along with indirect revenue streams for other industry companies).

Then enter the pop production line that is the X-Factor. During the last few weeks, the TV production company saw fit to ‘put together’ a new band from the remnants of failed solo auditionees and a below averagely talented boy band (their own judgement, not mine) and gave them the moniker of, yes – you’ve guessed it, The Risk.

Despite the cries of ‘foul’ from Mark and Colin (and ‘imposters’ from fans of the original band) the production company are refusing to change the name of their newly created act with an X-Factor spokesperson saying that “The ‘original’ Risk aren’t mainstream enough to claim the rights on the name”.

Surely they’re 27 years too late with that argument (where was the X-Factor then?). And anyway, the traditional rule in the music industry has always been that the first artist to release a commercial recording under a particular moniker had the right to keep that name.

If the X-Factor are allowed to push this through, and force the original band called The Risk to stop using their name (although I’m not sure how they intend to wipe out all of the historical releases) then this has huge implications for intellectual property rights protection and for the arts world specifically, but business in general – by their very nature, few creative artists are mainstream but focus on their own muse (what a dull place the world would be without the diversity of a variety of tastes, styles, niches and fashion trends).

I’m not sure why a TV production company believes it has the sole right to be judge and jury in the intellectual property rights debate within the arts (or anywhere else for that matter), or why it thinks it can dismiss any art not within its own narrow definition of mainstream as irrelevant (which is a great insult to so many of us). For now, incredibly, the music industry bodies are keeping their silence.

Do you still think your intellectual property rights are safe? For some, even 27 years of commercial use, when faced with the steamroller of a large corporate with huge financial backing, can create a nightmare.

And that’s The Risk for us all……

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Trading On The Edge!

In these challenging economic times we have seen many businesses going into administration, often suddenly and without warning; companies that many of us are shocked to see in such a position.

So what are the warning signs that your business may be in danger, or sailing very close to the edge?

If you recognise too many of the following signs then it is likely that your business is probably under pressure and at risk.

•Cash flow always tight so paying creditors is difficult.
•Inefficient production - can’t get stock because you can’t pay creditors on time.
•You can't get stock on time because you miss deadlines for payment of supplier accounts.
•You cannot get new credit.
•You cannot extend existing credit.
•The company’s creditor days are growing.
•You don't meet agreed payment terms.
•You have lots of red warning letters.
•You have had lots of 7-day letters, legal actions and court papers to defend.
•You are using lots of suppliers and spreading credit around.
•You are always fighting creditor fires and having to handle creditors’ calls every day.
•Your suppliers can’t obtain trade insurance against your company.

Bank Account
•Your overdraft is always at the limit.
•Your bank has returned cheques.
•Your bank has refused to increase your overdraft.
•Your bank refuses to provide a Loan.
•Your bank has asked for facilities to be reduced.
•Your bank wants to introduce investigating accountants.
•Your bank asks for increased security.
•Your bank wants personal guarantees.

PAYE & National Insurance
•You are not paying deductions on the 19th of the month following.
•You have not filed monthly returns or paid the tax deducted.
•You have had penalties.
•You have entered into “Time to Pay” deals with the Revenue.
•You have not managed to keep up with these deals.
•Taxes and other social security liability on audited accounts seem to be high.
•Tax Collector pressing.

•Not filing returns or paying tax on time.
•Had surcharges.
•Doing deals over time with the local VAT office.
•Cannot keep up with deals.
•Cashflow says you can repay far more than profits made.

•They don’t pay on time.
•You don’t know what your total debtors are.
•Debtor days are over 90 days.
•Your company has concentration in 1 or 2 major customers (debtors).
•Your accounts department only invoices periodically.
•You do not have a dedicated debtor collection function.

Invoice Discounting & Factoring Companies
•I don't know how much they owe me.
•I don't know how much the company owes the factor.
•Your factoring company is reducing your advance.
•They don’t seem to understand my business.
•We can never get enough cash advance against invoices.
•They are advancing 75% against my invoices but disallowing lots of invoices.
•They are too expensive.
•They claw money back from me after the debtor has not paid in less than 90 days.

External Reporting
•You have not filed the company’s accounts on time at Companies House because the results show a sizeable loss.
•You have not filed the company’s annual return at Companies House

Management Warning Signs
•Autocratic leadership.
•Fire-fighting - you never get your work done;
•Lack of information or wrong information;
•Concentrating on non essential issue;
•Senior people seem paralysed into inaction.
•Are you "compartmentalising" problems - in other words do you deal with one creditor problem and ignore others.
•You don’t have a business plan.
•You don’t have regular management meetings.
•You don’t have board meetings.
•Directors are taking big salaries and expenses.
•You ignore advice of professional advisors.

The Management Team don’t know: -
•Gross Profit - accurately.
•Costs - accurately.
•Sales per month / per annum.
•Orders taken.
•Enquiries quoted for.
•Bank balances.
•Where 80% of work comes from.
•Where 80% of profit comes from.
•What your accounts say.
•Your market – what are your competitors, products and threats.
•The Key Performance Indicators of the business:
•How many units of your product you make per day.
•At what cost.
•How many units you need to make to break-even.
•How many enquiries do you need.
•How many enquiries do you convert into sales.
•How many people it takes to make this product.
•What is your sales performance compared to last year, last month, budget.
•What are your costs increases/decreases year on year.
•How many new customers you have gained this year.
•How many customers you have lost this year.
•And why.
•You don't produce monthly management accounts.
•Computerised accounts package shows negative balances in liabilities.
•You have a computer generated profit and loss but a handwritten balance sheet.
•GP constantly overstated - you just do not understand why no profits are made from such good gross margins.
•Wastage understated.
•Constant returns, faults and disputes with debtors.

•High staff and management turnover.
•Internal political issues causing difficulties.
•Your team always seems demoralised.

•Always refinancing assets. No money to pay deposits.
•The next big sale/contract/debtor payment will sort the problem out!
•You have introduced a number of new financial products to keep going.
•You have borrowed money against your home to fund the business.
•You are not taking money out of the business to live.
•You have used your own money to pay wages pay bills.

If any of these points sounds familiar, seek professional advice now. The biggest mistake that many businesses make is to think that they can solve the problems themselves (or worst still, go into denial that any issues exist)! By the time they admit to needing assistance with their problems it is usually too late.

In getting professional advice at an early stage, you stand the greatest chance of restructuring and/or refinancing the business and surviving, stabilising, consolidating and eventually growing the business.

Or better still, bring in a high quality Interim Finance Director now to run the rule over your business and ensure that your working capital cycle is running as efficiently as it possibly can and that effective procedures and controls are in place to give your Company a solid foundation for growth.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cards on the Table Time

Whilst writing the Intervallum Christmas cards last December, I had occasion to pull out a number of business cards in order to get the address details for the envelope. It was quite frustrating to note that there were a number of cards that included no postal address at all. This meant an internet search was necessary and, incredibly, there were still some contacts that also didn’t include a postal address on their website.

Call me old fashioned (or what I like to call “Classic Style”, but I always thought the point of a business card was to let new contacts, potential customers, key suppliers etc. know how to get hold of you and where to find you (i.e. for deliveries, sending cheques etc.).

This led me to pull out the vast number of business cards that I have in my folders to look at all areas of this communication tool.

Aside from the first impression you give when first introduced to a new business contact, good common ground and rapport can lead to an exchange of business cards for further communication. When your new contact looks at your business card and reflects on your meeting (or tries to remember who you are), what sort of impression do you want them to have of you and the Company?

Most business people would hope that it would be a positive one, which makes me wonder why so many of them have such poor cards.

You wouldn’t go to the expense of printing a Company brochure and allow a shoddy, uninformative, publication go out – so why skimp on your business cards?

So what makes a good business card? First of all it needs to be on high quality card – skimp on this and the reflection is that your Company is cheap and cheerful too.

This may sound obvious, but make sure that the Company name is clearly visible – some are clearly not! It also helps to say what the Company does in four or five words to help your new contacts remember exactly what it is that you do.

Your name and job title are imperative if you want to be contacted. The main details then are mobile number, direct email address and postal address – these three are vital. Optional, but still important, details to include are a land line number (direct dial if possible), Company website address and fax number (that’s if you still use them – for many businesses now, it is scan and email).

Don’t forget that cards are two-sided, so the reverse of the card can be used for an enlarged Company logo, a strap-line or motto associated with the Company and its services, or even a photo of yourself in order that your contacts can remember what you look like.

Also, don’t make your business cards too cluttered and busy, as this will reduce the initial impact of the card and prevent users getting to the required details they need quickly.

In summary then, your business card needs to be clear, concise, of a high quality and contain the information that business contacts need to get in touch with you. In short, a high quality reflection of a high quality business.

And you never know, if you follow this advice you just might get more cards this Christmas!!!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Forthcoming Business Events in the West Midlands

7 September - “Building a Successful Business” by John Woodward, Chairman of Busy Bees Group. Lichfield & Tamworth Chamber of Commerce, Darnford Moors Golf Club. 7.30am.

13 September - HSBC/Baker Tilly Economic Dinner, Edgbaston. 6pm

14 September - SME Business Evening, Robert Half, Bank House, Birmingham. 6.30pm

15 September - ITC Powertalk, Holiday Inn Express, Lichfield. 7.30pm

16 September - IoD Event, Eleven Brindley Place. “The Impact on Hires of New Rights for Agency Workers”. 7.30pm

20 September - CIMA/AAT “Cost Accounting” event, Staffs Uni, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent. 6.30pm

21 September - Birmingham Business Breakfast Club, Botanical Gardens. Stephen Whittaker, MD of Fellows Auctioneers. 7am.

22 September - Insider Dealmakers Awards Ceremony, Metropole, NEC, Birmingham. 7pm

28 September - Harvey Nash/Impact Executives Annual Lord Digby Jones Breakfast. Metropole, NEC, Birmingham. 8am.

5 October - “Marketing on a Shoestring”. Lichfield & Tamworth Chamber of Commerce, Darnford Moors Golf Club. 7.30am.

6 October - ITC Powertalk, Holiday Inn Express, Lichfield. 7.30pm

11 October - IoD Event, Eleven Brindley Place. “Pension Reform & Wealth Management”. 5.30pm

20 October - ITC Powertalk, Holiday Inn Express, Lichfield. 7.30pm

25 October - CIMA “Marketing” event with Mike Ashton at the Roman Way Hotel, Cannock.

26 October - Birmingham Business Breakfast Club, Botanical Gardens. Andy Street, MD of John Lewis and Chairman of Birmingham LEP – “The Future of Birmingham”. 7am.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Altman Z-score – Time for a Revival?

Following the deep recession we have endured and the market instability we are currently experiencing, it is perhaps an interesting time to revisit and review the Altman Z-score.

This measure was devised by Professor Edward Altman in the early 1960s as a way of screening publicly listed companies for bankruptcy risk. Although not full-proof, a success rate of circa 70% does suggest that this is a useful measure along with other research.

Altman suggested a set of five financial ratios (using Multiple Discriminant Analysis) that uses a statistical technique to score a company and thereby predict the company’s probability of failure.

Eight variables are used from the P&L statement and the Balance Sheet to produce five key ratios. These key ratios are then weighted to give the overall single number Z-score.

The five key ratios are: -

1) EBIT/Total Assets
2) Net Sales/Total Assets
3) Market Value of Equity/Total Liabilities
4) Working Capital/Total Assets
5) Retained Earnings/Total Assets

The weighting, in order of the above, are x 3.3, x 0.999, x 0.6, x 1.2 & x 1.4 respectively.

The Z-score = 1+2+3+4+5

A high Z-score of 3 or above indicates a low risk of financial failure and that the company is safe based upon these specific accounts.

A Z-score of 2.7 to 2.99 indicates “On Alert” – this is an area where an investor should exercise caution.

A Z-score of 1.8 to 2.7 indicates a good chance of the Company going bankrupt within 2 years of operations from the Balance Sheet date of the financial figures used.

A Z-score below 1.8 suggests that the possibility of financial collapse is very high.

As an investor then, you a looking for a high Z-score combined with a low p/e and a high yield. As with any measure, when used in isolation you may get skewed results; the power comes in combining the measure with other metrics to provide the most detailed position from the data available.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Impact of the Looting and Lawlessness on Our Economy.

I have been appalled and disgusted by the looting, destruction of other people’s property & businesses and the violence that we have witnessed across the major cities in England over the last few days.

However it is portrayed, whether as a reaction to an incident in North London last week involving the police, or as a protest against the austerity measures imposed by the coalition government, I can’t reconcile in my brain how this is anything other than opportunistic criminality and lawlessness on the part of very youthful looters.

What concerns me, in addition to the obvious security and law & order issues, is what this will mean for the UK economy and business in general. First of all there will be the cost of the smashed up shops and streets to repair, then there will be the insurance claims for all the stock that has been stolen and the fixtures that have been destroyed (which will, no doubt, be swiftly followed by increased insurance premiums). Then, one has to wonder what effect this will have on third quarter GDP growth. The looted and burnt down shops will be out of action for some time. Also, to a large degree, will be the shopping areas of most major cities in England – after all, who wants to go shopping when there is the distinct possibility that you could get mugged or worse – in some areas it would appear that Dick Turpin and co have returned!!!

Why are we in such a position of lawlessness in England right now? I must admit to being somewhat exasperated at the “do gooders” on TV and radio trying to justify this criminal behaviour by telling us that these actions are as a result of the youth of today being bored and having nothing to do. Really? I don’t remember previous generations having several hundred TV channels to watch, computer games & consoles to play, mobile phones, MP3s, 3D cinema etc, etc. But what they do lack is imagination – and discipline!

It seems to me that standards have been relaxing in this country since the 1930s – sometimes through necessity such as in World War 2, sometimes through change such as when compulsory National Service was abolished in 1960, and sometimes through half-baked ideas that never worked i.e. the end of corporal punishment in schools, new age teaching methods of non-competitive sports (well we couldn’t have anyone losing – except that replicates what happens in the real world!!!) and the abolition of Grammar Schools. How frustrating it is to dress smartly and make an effort for a Saturday night at the theatre just to find that no one else bothered and they are all wearing jeans, t-shirts and trainers. We are left with a society containing a large proportion that has no recognition of authority and no respect for politicians, the police or teachers.

It has become easy for the lazy to blame the bankers and multi-national corporations for their woes, but what they easily forget are the jobs that are created by the banks and corporates, the employment that they provide, and therefore the taxes that are directly and indirectly generated by them for the treasury to pay for the services provided across the country for the entire population, and to pay for the benefits for those less fortunate in our society.

What this country needs are more people taking control of their own lives in a positive way, pursuing qualifications, getting better trained, becoming more employable and earning their own money and contributing to society – not taking other people’s property by opportunistically breaking in to and looting shops under the cover of hoods and masks as part of a gang!!!

Where will this end? Only time will tell. On the one hand, we could easily have anarchy and lawlessness spreading across every town in the land, destroying property, businesses, lives and the economy. Or, on the other, if the government gets a firm grip and allows the police the power to do their jobs properly (including water cannons, rubber bullets and the army if necessary), law and order can be restored to the streets of our green and (sometimes) pleasant land.

Either way, the cost to business, to the economy, to our country will be high. A cost we will all have to pay for, for some time to come. A cost we could have avoided if only the standards, morals and discipline that has stood our country well for so long, had been maintained.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Conference Notes

The 2011 Intervallum conference has once again proved beneficial in charting the future direction of the business. With the emphasis being on long term growth, new product development and the identification of new revenue streams for Intervallum, the entire team has fully contributed to brainstorming the way forward with a high degree of clarity.

And in between conference sessions, a number of team building events have developed the effectiveness of team working still further. In addition, an entertaining key note speech by footballer Alan Kennedy, the only British player to score winning goals in two European Cup finals (for Liverpool), and Commander Jeff Tall OBE RN, with his lectures on the history of Britain's Royal Navy sub-mariners, have highlighted and reinforced the need for good leadership if important goals are to be achieved.

In summary then, a very productive conference and we look forward to the next 12 months with great optimism.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

PHK is IoD's Chartered Director Ambassador for the West Midlands

Paul Hooper-Keeley, who is the Institute of Director's 25th Chartered Director (qualifying over a decade ago), has been made the IoD's Chartered Director Ambassador for the West Midlands.

As the C.Dir qualification, the world's only professional qualification for Directors, approaches it's 1,000th member, the IoD has started a new initiative to promote this excellent upskilling programme (linked to their Diploma in Company Direction) even further.

30 Chartered Director Ambassadors have been appointed across the UK and an inaugral, and very constructive, meeting was held at Pall Mall on 13th June.

Watch this blog for further news soon, and visit to get further details of how you could benefit from attaining the Chartered Director qualification.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Don't Quit (author unknown)

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit,
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Why a Positive Outlook is Important...

....The Shoes Story (AKA Positive Thinking versus Negative Thinking)

You will perhaps have heard this very old story illustrating the difference between positive thinking and negative thinking: -

Many years ago two salesmen were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate and report back on market potential.

The first salesman reported back, "There is no potential here - nobody wears shoes."

The second salesman reported back, "There is massive potential here - nobody wears shoes."

This simple short story provides one of the best examples of how a single situation may be viewed in two quite different ways - negatively or positively. It could perhaps further be explained in terms of seeing a situation's problems and disadvantages, instead of its opportunities and benefits, but highlights how two quite different interpretations can be made of a single situation.

Problems may also create opportunities, so make sure your glass is always "half full"!!!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Forthcoming Networking Events I Am Attending

Following last Thursday's excellent Edge networking event at the Jam House in Birmingham, here are a few events coming up that I will be attending: -

18th May - Birmingham Business Breakfast Club at the Botanical Gardens, Birmingham. A 7am start.

18th May - Power Speaking with Mike Pagan. St. Paul's Club, Birmingham. 9.30am to 12.30pm

18th May - St. Paul's Business Lunch, St. Paul's Club, Birmingham. 12.30pm to 2.30pm

19th May - ITC Powertalk, The Bowling Green, Lichfield. 7.30pm

9th June - Beermat Entrepreneurs Marketing & Sales workshops, Birmingham. 9.30am to 5.00pm Hosted by Mike Southon & Chris West.

22nd June - "Unleash Your Potential", Roman Way Hotel, Cannock. This free to attend CIMA event starts at 6.30pm (book via

There's lot's of great events out there which are worth attending to increase your network of contacts as well as improve your professional development. And if you can't make the event itself, then there is always LinkedIn and Twitter to help you keep in touch and get your message out there.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A Poem About Responsibility by Charles Osgood

There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task?

Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done,
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognised that anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.

But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.

When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.

Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end Nobody did
What Anybody could have.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Budget 2011 Review

Although perhaps not quite the “Budget for Growth” that it had been billed as (which was not unexpected due to the current focus on deficit reduction), George Osborne’s budget did manage to be broadly beneficial to industry – with the distinct exception of banks and oil companies. He taxed the North Sea oil revenues for some £2bn as well as ensuring the banks continued to pay their levy (whilst not benefitting from the Corporation Tax changes for large businesses). The big news for most businesses was that the headline rate of large company Corporation Tax is to be reduced by 2% from April rather than the initially announced 1%, therefore taking CT down to 23% by the end of the current Parliament. This would give Britain the lowest rates in the G7 – by 2014-15, the UK’s tax rate would be 16% lower than America, 11% less than France and 7% lower than Germany, assuming other countries do not cut their rates. For smaller businesses, the benefits included the plan for 21 enterprise zones, a 1 year extension of business rate relief for small property holders and 1p per litre reduction in the fuel duty. Although many post budget “vox pop” comments from the pumps on the news programmes showed disappointed drivers saying that the Chancellor could have done more (although I’m not quite sure how they expected him to pay for a greater reduction), they seem to be forgetting that he has also got rid of the 5p per litre increase that the previous government were due to implement in April 2011. So although fuel prices are uncomfortably high, it could have been a lot worse for drivers come April – so I suspect a number of hauliers and distribution companies will be pleased to have some of the pain removed, at least in the short term. Manufacturers received good news on new investment including a change in the capital allowances regime allowing them to write down the cost of expensive machines over eight years (from the current four years). And entrepreneurs were pleased to see that Enterprise Investment Scheme income tax relief was increased from 20% to 30% and that the scheme was widened to encourage Business Angel investors, along with an enhanced research and development tax credit for small companies. Furthermore, entrepreneurs’ capital gains tax relief was doubled to £10m. There were cuts in red tape amounting to £350m and a 3-year moratorium exempting businesses with less than 10 staff from new domestic regulation. There was also confirmation that the 50p top rate of tax introduced by the previous administration would be temporary. As Miles Templeman, Director-General of the Institute of Directors, commented, “The Chancellor didn’t have much money to play with but he played his hand well.” Further, David Frost, Director-General of the British Chamber of Commerce, said, “Despite tight fiscal conditions, we are encouraged the Chancellor has prioritised business growth and private sector expansion alongside deficit reduction.” Overall then, a good budget for business and for getting companies on the road back to growth. As George Osborne said in his budget speech, “Let it be heard clearly around the world – from Shanghai to Seattle, and from Stuttgart to Sao Paulo: Britain is open for business.”

Thursday, 17 March 2011

IoD West Midlands Director of the Year Nomination

I was delighted and privileged to recently receive a call from the Institute of Directors telling me that I had been nominated in their "West Midlands Director of the Year" Awards 2011 SME category.

Subsequently, I have attended a panel interview at the IoD hub and have been invited to attend the awards dinner at the Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, on Thursday 31st March.

Of course, the competition will be stiff and I'm sure there are many deserving and impressive nominees in the SME category - I am just extremely pleased and proud to have had my work recognised in this way and to have been nominated by the IoD.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Aston University Guest Lecture by PHK

I was delighted to recently take up an invitation to present a guest lecture to the MSc/MBA students at Aston University in Birmingham entitled, "Management Accounting at the Sharp End".

The 45 minute lecture, followed by a 15 minute Q&A session, allowed the students to get a first hand account of the attributes needed, along with the main duties performed, by the Chartered Management Accountant within industry and commerce.

My thanks go to Aston University for their kind invitation to lecture and to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) for facilitating this opportunity.

Friday, 21 January 2011

CV Writing Services Now Available

Intervallum Limited are now able to offer Executive CV Writing and Consultancy Services, providing professionally designed resumes to give you maximum impact in the job market and help you to secure that all important next role on your career ladder.

This service is being headed up by Karen Hooper-Keeley who can be contacted at for more details and rates.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

PHK Elected to Vice President of CIMA NW Midlands

Intervallum's Managing Director, Paul Hooper-Keeley, has been elected to the position of Vice President of CIMA NW Midlands and will take up the Presidency in December 2011 for a two year term.

Paul was previously President of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the North West Midlands from 2003 to 2005. He also currently sits on the CIMA West Midlands Regional Board.

Monday, 3 January 2011

A Poem on Self-belief taken from Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich”

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will –
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year from Intervallum

The team at Intervallum would like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

With the VAT increase about to kick in and the austerity cuts due to have a massive impact from April onwards, 2011 is set to be a very challenging year - but if we all dig in with our customary tenacity and keep our focus, there's still going to be plenty of good opportunities out there.

Have a great year.