Tectona Finance Director succeeds where others fail

After trying many ways to strengthen its finance team – all without any real success – IT and communications company, Excalibur, turned to Tectona, who came up with the perfect solution.

At A Glance


  • Full-time FD leaving meant real challenges in recruitment of replacement
  • New software system implemented left significant challenges and delivered poor MI

On appointment

  • Initial analysis completed
  • Action Plan agreed with clear priorities

And now

  • New forecasting implemented
  • Regular reporting to the board
  • Secured VAT recovery of £30k
  • Relationship proactively account managed

The history…

Excalibur’s previous full-time Finance Director had left the company after three years in the post. Whilst looking for a new full-time FD the board decided to bring in a part-time FD from one of the largest providers.

Months later, this proved to be a huge financial investment and had not addressed any of the strategic or operational issues. There had been no account management or accountability from the provider. Excalibur was left wondering the best way forward.

It appointed a permanent Financial Controller and made some headway supporting another member of the finance team, but this still left the finance department in urgent need of bolstering.

The board agreed to stick with the part time FD solution but switch to a provider with real accountability and a demonstrable track record of delivering on promises. Accordingly, it turned to Tectona.

When Tectona’s FD, Tim Marvell, met Excalibur’s Managing Director, James Phipps, the two clicked immediately.

The Challenge

This was twofold: first we had to move rapidly to a finance function that really added value to Excalibur; secondly we had to take control of the newly implemented and untamed accounting system.

After getting his feet under the table Tim delivered his initial analysis – he was pretty straight-talking.

The list of issues included:

  • Inaccurate postings
  • Unreconciled control accounts
  • Missing data
  • Unsupported journals
  • The new system was poorly documented
  • The current year budget was not being used by management or the Senior Leadership Team as it was considered to be inaccurate
  • No forecasting process for cash flow and balance sheet items

This gave Tim the platform from which to build his approach. With the support of the finance team he rapidly took a number of steps to remedy the situation, including:

  • Systematic correction of the control accounts
  • Reversal/correction of unsupported journals
  • Outstanding system issues addressed and system documentation produced
  • New forecasting process introduced
  • Improvement of relationships with both the bank and the auditors
  • Regular reports to the Board
  • The Excalibur/Tectona relationship has been actively account managed throughout by Mark Nicholls, MD of Tectona – “to make absolutely sure that previous experiences were not repeated”.

During the course of this investigation, an error was identified in VAT processing, and Tim subsequently managed the recovery of £30,000 from HMRC.

The outcome

James describes his experience over the last couple of years: “I felt a bit battered and bruised having been let down by one FD provider and we knew we needed someone to take control of Excalibur’s finances.

Tectona easily convinced us that they had all the safeguards that would prevent a recurrence of our previous experiences… and this has proved to be the case. My Tectona part-time FD understood the challenges we had and addressed each issue one by one in a timely manner – by contrast another part-time FD provider had previously spent months trying to understand those same issues with little progress.

Regrettably, we see problems like this too often with businesses of this size,” comments Tectona MD, Mark Nicholls. “Inappropriate appointments without supervision are a recipe for disaster. Our team is genuinely hand-picked. They are extremely effective individuals and are only let loose if we have had close up experience of working with them over a period of time. We also manage every assignment closely to make sure the focus is right and the achievement rate is delivering great value.

Tim was an immediate success,” James concludes.

About Excalibur Communications

Excalibur Communications are a South West based company providing IT and Communications services to over 6000 businesses throughout the UK. Excalibur have over twenty years’ experience in providing end to end solutions that merge communications seamlessly into the fabric of business operations. Their aim is to create a unified platform within each business they work with that is efficient, productive and most importantly improves customer experience.

As an ethical and community focused business Excalibur have a clear set of values, customer charter and mission statement visible to every partner they work with. They have also won awards for their service in the South West as well as recently being crowned the best unified communications partner in the UK.

An organisation with employee wellbeing and customer service at the heart of it needs to ensure its finance department is working to the best of its ability. Management information was critical and due to rapid growth, Excalibur had also recently moved to new offices which came with substantial overheads that needed to be managed.


After our previous experience, we were understandably nervous. In time, as we grow, we will need to move to a full time finance director. But for the time being Tectona easily convinced us that they had all the safeguards that would prevent a recurrence of the previous experiences … and this has proved to be demonstrably the case.
James Phipps, MD of Excalibur

Tim was an immediate success.
James Phipps, MD of Excalibur

It’s how we want Tectona to be – not just different but distinctly better.
Tectona MD, Mark Nicholls