CFO Counsel launches in Bangkok

CFO Counsel launches in Bangkok

CFO Counsel, currently operating in Hong Kong and Singapore, has recently opened in Bangkok and can now, more than ever, service the whole of Asia.

CFO Counsel provides part time, interim and project CFO’s, finance teams and related services to business owners, private equity, family offices and overseas businesses looking to invest and set up in Asia. Mike Binney heads up the new practice in Bangkok. Binney, originally from the UK, has been in Asia for close to 30 years and has lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and, for the last 6 years, Bangkok. He served as CFO and at Board level throughout Asia and London and has significant M&A experience as well as a business strategy and cash flow planning in diverse industries from distribution and retail, to hospitality, licensing and professional services. He also has significant liquidation and litigation experience and will head up CFO Counsel’s practice in this area throughout the region.

Mike draws an analogy of the part time role to co-working spaces and the movement towards shared resources, time and space. Whilst Thailand maybe a little behind the West in this movement, he believes that the time has come for experienced CFO’s to be able to provide their skills to a number of  companies who do not need or cannot afford a full time Finance Director.

We caught up with Mike recently and asked him a few questions about his new role and how he sees the company progress in Thailand and Asia.

 cfo counsel bangkok

Tell us about CFO Counsel in Thailand

The operation commenced recently following a meeting with Rob Christie (who heads CFO Counsel) in Hong Kong. We’ve known each other for a long time and I was reaching the end of a role at an oil services provider following the oil price meltdown. This most recent role was as CFO/COO of a medium sized company with 300 professionals and I liked the hands on approach and the direct and immediate affect I could have on the company business and operations. In talking to Rob it clicked that I would be happy operating in that way with a few small and mid-sized companies and that there is work for that type of business in Thailand, both locally and with inbound investment. We have both had similar experience in that we left audit early and have been in the trenches of a growth and bust Asia, growth companies, and have dealt with many problems along the way – we are clear that we can help companies to survive and grow and ultimately to achieve the best value. We quickly came to an arrangement and set up shop.

What services do you provide and who is your client likely to be ?

We currently offer services around the executive finance function. This could be on a part time basis, for example as part time CFO for 2 days a week to companies that are not yet large enough to need or afford a full time CFO  but that need the skills of a CFO – whether that be complex transactions, multiple geographic locations, cash needs from growth or simply that the owner wants to hand off the back office so they can concentrate on clients or product development. We believe this provides excellent value, after all many full time CFO’s are paid full time for their knowledge, not their time, and spend a lot of their time on social media or the golf course…. In our case you get what you pay for – the full time knowledge of a CFO but at a pro- rated CFO rate. In this role we work as a head of finance would work, manage the finance team and other back office functions as needed, such as legal, HR, IT. We form a normal part of management and act as a business partner and drive strategy with the owner. We also provide this type of service to private equity or family offices who may have a portfolio of companies in which they have invested and which need a weekly or more follow up call or meeting.

We do interim and project work for larger companies where executive finance support is needed supporting existing CFO’s and teams,  and for smaller companies, normally on a project basis, for example for acquisitions, selling a business, fund raising or some help with designing and implementing restructure plans. However,  generally we don’t see ourselves as consultants but as part of management and like to form long term relationships with business owners in order to maintain a deep understanding of the business as it grows and changes.

Our M&A strategy and implementation offering, for example, has generally been over the longer term for the sale of a business, and our preference for this is to be involved with the business for at least 2 or 3 years prior to sale, in order that we can dress the company, restructure where necessary, and generally plan to obtain the best value for the owners.

Taking our shared resources analogy to the limit, we also have a ‘CFO on call’ service for immediate or short term problems where we may be able to help, this would be the ‘uber black’ version of our service, to get there as needed when needed.

A particular target is business owners that are looking to sell in three to five years and which need help to restructure, grow and plan for the sale. In these cases we would often like to take some equity participation to align our interests and in that respect may take a lower fee.

Talking of fees, talk about fees…

Well, some things are better left unsaid in public, but we have competition and we are certainly more competitive than their rates as we have extremely low overheads. We are flexible in our rates and amounts, depending on the time required (CFO on call being a premium rate, but reducing depending on the days required), are happy to take some risk for reward and have part of the fee in performance fees, and as stated above, in certain circumstances, we may be interested in buying equity in a company or taking part of our fees in equity.

For you, personally, how does the business work for you ?

I like it. I’d like to stress that I’m a full time part time CFO.  I don’t have any other full time job, I do this for a living, but it does give me the flexibility to have more family time when I want or need it. Personally I aim to have 3 to 5 clients which take up 3 weeks a month. The other time is spare for managing this growing business, for projects, for some pro bono and mentoring I like to do with start-ups or for spending time with my family. It provides me a huge amount of flexibility and variety and it’s going to be fun. Otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it.

Where do you expect it to be in 5 years ?

We are planning to grow the business, both here and in Asia. We see a great opportunity for shared resources and expect this will increase over time – I’m not saying this is the next uber or Airbnb, but I do see many fractional type businesses growing and we will grow with them, providing part time accountants of all levels as well as other CxO products and services to business owners. ”

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For more information on Mike and Rob and their background, head to the About Us section

Search our ‘news and knowledge section for related articles, for example on selling your business :

How to sell a business 

Selling your business in 2 to 5 years ? 

And dig around http://cfocounsel.asia/ for details of our services, from advisory, to funding, to management to see more of the type of services we can offer

Or, just Contact Us  and we will be delighted to discuss your requirements.

 

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Showing 2 comments
  • C. Scott Powers
    Reply

    I am now retired but previously held CIO and VP Information Technology positions in a variety of businesses and industries. I was a colleague of Mike Binney’s when he was with Grande Holdings, and we have remained in contact over the years sharing ideas, challenges and experiences. Mike is bright, creative and diligent; he has very broad experience both in terms of role and industry. I have seen work him very successfully in M&A initiatives, leading turn-arounds and guiding strategic restructurings. He is A very effective and inventive manager.

  • Mike Binney
    Reply

    On behalf of CFO Counsel, thank you for those kind words Scott and we certainly look forward to working with you going forward.

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