A Month in the life of a Portfolio Finance Director

Friday, 2nd February 2024

By Jason Soars

  • First, a quick look in the rear view

January is always a time to take a look in the rear view with my clients. I am pleased to say that they are all well run businesses, they all had a clear plan and used their best efforts to turn it into reality. They all faced challenges and adapted to them. But sadly, that alone is not always enough to ensure that targets are achieved, particularly if the targets were designed to be challenging. I noticed some consistencies and differences in the businesses that I work with.

The consistency first, they all gained market share, as they all had a clear plan they were working towards. Now the difference, in the discretionary spend businesses, (marketing, software development, building products) the market was very tough in H2 and they ended up not growing. In the non-discretionary spend businesses, (IT Support, Freight Forwarding) there good efforts resulting in positive growth. I know why this happened. Mid-year, everyone tighten down the hatches, everyone got nervous and decided to put investment and new projects on hold. A spike in interest rates will do that to people.

  • Now to 2024

2024 already feels like a breath of fresh air. All my clients have a clear plan for the year and all have a number of key changes/ projects, some of which were put on hold in 2023. They are all in the process of starting these projects. There is a feeling of “right let’s get on with this” As long as there are no more shocks to the system I think 2024 will be a great year. Sunak and Starmer please, please, please, leave the economy alone.