Thursday, 13 September 2012

PROSPERO launches new business service in South Devon

13 September 2012.  Torquay.

Brendan Tallon is bringing the Prospero part time Finance Director service to South Devon.  The service offers a highly experienced FD to businesses that might not be able to afford a full time person.  It is a very cost-effective answer to the financial management problems faced by many small and medium enterprises.

Brendan is a seasoned FD with names such as Xerox, Royal Sun Alliance and Lloyds TSB on his CV.  For the last four years he has been working for himself helping a range of businesses.  A family move to Torquay means that he can now make his services available in South Devon.

Brendan commented:  “Torquay is a great place to live and work.  I’m really looking forward to working with local businesses to help them grow.”

Steve Lloyd, Managing Director of Prospero commented:  “The part time FD service is proving extremely effective in solving problems efficiently in a range of businesses.  I’m delighted that Brendan’s move has enabled us to offer the service in South Devon.”

About Prospero
Prospero is a network of part time Finance Directors that supports its members in delivering the best possible service to clients.  Founded in the West Midlands in 2010, it has seen steady growth and is now expanding nationwide.  For more information, please visit

To learn more about this launch, please contact:
Brendan Tallon
Prospero Directors in Finance
0771 697 3121


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Aussie financial control

Accountants and the public interest

A report by an industry body finds a sharp decline in public trust of accountants and esteem in which they are held.  Given the number and scale of financial scandals in the last decade, that's perhaps not surprising.  Our main contribution should be in holding people to account and in promoting efficiency - both very much in the public interest.  In any business, you should see the accountant, or person responsible for the finances, doing the following:
  • actively reducing costs;
  • managing cash flow;
  • keeping the business legal and ethical;  
  • supporting and challenging the management team,
all on his or her own initiative, and amongst many other things.  These are all responsibilities that members of the Prospero team are accustomed to handling as a way of life.

Take Responsibility for your Actions

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."  Five years into the financial crisis, we still hear people, particularly in politics, talking as though it is just a matter of time before the economy picks up and we return to a world similar to that we saw in 2006.

In business, we'll also hear people complaining that the recession makes it impossible for them to do what they want to.

John Coleman in the Harvard Business Review takes aim at this attitude.

Help is not coming. The responsibility is yours, and it starts with developing a belief or habit of mind that you, as an individual, are accountable for the quality and timeliness of an outcome, even when you're working with others. It doesn't always mean you have authority over a project. Nor does it mean that you shouldn't involve others. But it does mean you own the obligation to take action and deliver results.

It's up to you to make change and take responsibility for outcomes in your professional life. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Summer Special Offer - Cash Flow support

Struggling with cash flow?  Worried how you’re going to pay the bills?  Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly where you’re going to be for the next few months?  This is a problem that Prospero FDs solve all the time and we’re now making our expertise available to any local business FREE.

Contact us now, and one of our expert Finance Directors will visit you to install our tried and tested cash flow forecasting software.  This runs on Microsoft Excel and, once set up, can be updated easily by you each week to give you a clear view of where your bank balance will be for the next three months.

There’s no fee or obligation, you don’t need any special computer expertise, all our software and media are secure and virus protected and we guarantee that it will make your life easier.  So contact us now to take away your cash flow headaches.

“Prospero’s cash forecasting model means that I can sleep easier at night knowing exactly where my business will be.  Previously, I only knew we had a cash problem on the day we couldn’t pay the wages!”  Martyn C.  Managing Director, manufacturing business.

Terms and Conditions apply
  1. This is a non-binding offer.  Prospero can decline to make it available to any applicant at its discretion.
  2. Prospero will provide free software and up to three hours of consultancy free of charge.  Any further goods or services will be charged at normal rates.
  3. While Prospero will apply industry standard IT security practices, it advises applicants to ensure they have adequate security over their own IT networks.
  4. Prospero, its associates employees and sub-contractors accept no liability whatever for any losses, economic direct or consequential, suffered by any party arising out of this offer.
  5. Prospero retains Intellectual Property Rights in all materials provided and grants the applicants a non-exclusive licence for their use.

Monday, 25 June 2012

JP Morgan Explains the Euro Crisis with Lego.


This chart comes from a Michael Cembalest’s research note today. There's a summarised explanation here.  
The key is:
  1. The toreador in a floppy hat, and the F1 driver with his helmet, represent Spain, Italy and the rest of the Euro Periphery.
  2. The three men with helmets, shields, and medieval weaponry represent the CDU, CSU and FDP parties in Germany.
  3. The blue-and-white sailor boy is Finland. Obvs.
  4. The woman with an oversized carrot and her friend in overalls with a shovel represent the Social Democrats and Greens.
  5. Wotan represents the Bundesbank.
  6. The piggy bank is the IMF.
  7. The grey-haired Banque chap is the ECB.
  8. The chap in the red bib is Poland.
  9. The artists are France.
  10. The angry chef, the sweeper with a broom, the airline pilot, and the rest of the motley crew at bottom left, represent EU taxpayers in Core countries.
  11. The storm troopers are the EU Commission and Euro Group Finance Ministers, chaired by Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean- Claude Juncker.
  12. The monocled banker and his assistant are EU bondholders and shareholders.
iceland.tiff credit here is given to “Peter Cembalest, who specializes in conceptualization of such phenomena”; I assume that Peter (age 9) helped out too with the Icelandic bonus extra, for people who make it to page three. But Iceland sadly didn’t make the cut as one of the “12 players in the EMU Debt Crisis most likely to affect policy from here”.
Cembalest does at one point feel the need to explain what he’s doing here:
If today’s diorama analysis borders on the absurd, so does maintaining the fiction that accumulation of massive public and private sector claims in Europe can somehow be engineered away.
Still, I like the idea of sitting all the key European players in a room with a box of lego and telling them to work things out that way. The results couldn’t really be more farcical than those of the EU bank stress tests.

The Glasgow Rangers disaster

How can an institution that is a pillar of its local community and beloved by tens of thousands of people around the world collapse into insolvency?  Quite easily, it turns out, if it's run without proper governance and with a casual attitude to debt.

Kevin Mckenna tells the full story here.

Rangers supporters claim that their club is the most successful in the world because it has won more trophies than any other: 115, including the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.  

Craig Whyte ... bought the club for a nominal £1 [in 2011], having undertaken to pay Rangers’ £18m debt to Lloyds/Bank of Scotland. It has since been reported that the club withheld all VAT, income tax and National Insurance contributions during the nine months of Whyte’s tenure from May 2011 to February 2012. A list of 332 creditors is owed amounts ranging from millions (to English and Continental clubs) to a few hundred to local newsagents, florists and taxi firms. The overall debt mountain is potentially more than £140m.

Whyte funded the takeover of the club by mortgaging four years’ worth of season-ticket revenue, amounting to £24m, with an English firm called Ticketus. In effect, he bought one of Britain’s biggest clubs by trading on its future income.

HMRC has now brought the curtain down on the 140-year history of one of the world’s most successful football clubs. Rangers will now be liquidated and their assets sold.   The crisis has shaken the foundations of four of the pillars of Scottish society: the government, the judiciary, the banks and the press. This is the nation’s very own bonfire of the vanities.

Any sympathy that Rangers might have had from fans of other clubs has largely evaporated because of an absence of remorse or shame on the part of the directors and executives.

The football authorities must now decide if the new Rangers will be allowed to take the place of the old club in the SPL. If they reject the application, new Rangers will face the prospect of playing Alloa Athletic, Cowdenbeath and Stenhousemuir for the next three years. It is the football equivalent of the Rolling Stones playing Digbeth Civic Hall.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

FREE Seminar

Do you want to reduce your business costs? Come to our

Free Seminar on

Cost Reduction in your business

Venue: Conference Centre of Aston Business School

Date: Wednesday April 25th 2012 at 18:00

You will learn:-

· How to take out costs

· Approaches that do and don’t work

· What to concentrate on first

· About negotiating the employment law minefield

· And much more…


18.00 Registration, refreshments and networking

18.30 Seminar on Cost Reduction

19.15 Questions and answers

19.45 Further networking

20.30 Close

Places are limited, so please register by emailing , or telephoning 0121 371 0649

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Prospero is a network of freelance finance directors, dedicated to improving economic value and quality of life by matching ambitious businesses with outstanding financial directors. For more information, visit

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Forthcoming Seminar

As Finance Directors, the question we most often get asked is 'How do I reduce my business costs?' There's a free guide to this topic available on our website at

At the end of April, we'll be running a free seminar at which our experts will explain these concepts in a little more detail. There'll be lots of tips and guidance on cost reduction approaches which do and don't work. As it will be early evening there'll also be some drinks and snacks available along with some networking opportunities.

If you'd like to register your interest, please email

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Can you trust a spreadsheet?

Recent research suggests 90% of spreadsheets prepared for business contain serious errors. That sounds far too high a figure. If really true, it would rapidly bring about the collapse of capitalism. There's some welcome perspective in this article from Simon Hurst. Extract:

...the spreadsheet on its own is rarely the ‘result’. Instead, the ‘result’ is a Frankenstein like amalgam of human and spreadsheet. The spreadsheet creator is intimately and inextricably linked to their spreadsheet. They know its problems, its weaknesses, its strengths and its vulnerabilities and they almost subconsciously allow and correct for these when they unleash it to the wider world. This highlights a key spreadsheet concern – once the spreadsheet escapes the complete control of its creator, all of its previously disguised horrors are unleashed on an unsuspecting world. The situation is almost always made worse by another similarity with Shelley’s fictional creation – the lack of adequate user documentation.

Euro debt crisis explained

Steve Jobs pitches on Dragons' Den