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How to Run your Business Like a Goldmine - Part 1

by David Boyar |

Strategic Planning, Business, SME, Cash Flow

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September 07 , 2017

#ProjectGold Part 1 : The Challenge

In Part One of his story, Sequel CFO Partner Kevin Jessup recounts how he ended up working in West Africa, where by applying the same strategies he uses for SME clients today, he helped the mine make $11.5m in just 6 months.

1. Referrals are gold

Little did Sequel CFO Business Partner Kevin Jessup know that a casual dinner with a close friend would result in him moving more than 15,000km to West Africa to learn first-hand how to mine for gold - both literally and metaphorically.

Having just returned from a contract in PNG, Kevin was up for a change. And when his friend (an accountant) recommended him for a short-term contract role in a goldmine in Ghana, Kevin took up the challenge. After all, he hadn't been to West Africa before, and thought it might be a little like an adventurous holiday in a remote location.

Kevin was initially engaged by now PricewaterhouseCoopers to introduce a new accounting program and oversee the closure of the full-scale gold processing plant and supervise staff payouts. There were some trust issues with the local accountant and Kevin was seen as a safe pair of hands to steady the ship.

2. CFOs offer more than just accounting advice

Shortly after Kevin arrived, the General Manager explained that the decision to close the mining operations was due to revenue losses on account of the low price of gold. The new owners and shareholders had agreed to implement a heavy exploratory drilling program instead, to unearth abundant new resources and generate a better return.

But unearthing natural resources wasn't all the mine had to do. In order to operate efficiently and avoid unnecessary delays, the local accountant explained to Kevin that he had to (as was custom at the time) unearth cash in brown paper bags to get the local bureaucrats to sign off on the necessary documentation to finalise the staff entitlements.

Disgusted by this, but conscious of the unique set of challenges of this job and its location, Kevin persisted and returned home after successfully completing his 12-month contract.

3. A partner in business

However, after seeing how he ably navigated both his role and the tricky cultural and political challenges of his contract (which included dealing with complex tax issues and disputes between revenue authorities), Kevin was offered a chance to return to the warm climes of Ghana; firstly as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers to act as a financial controller and uncover any unscrupulous dealings at the company; but ultimately in the role of the mine's Finance Manager.

Lessons Learned:

  • Referrals are sales gold: Always make the most of the opportunities that come your way. They're often within reach.
  • CFOs offer more than just accounting advice: A CFO is expected to be commercial and realistic when navigating the unique challenges of a business.
  • A partner in business: A CFO is required to do more than just crunch the numbers. CFOs look beyond the numbers and take a holistic approach to achieving financial success.

Next up:

Sequel CFO Partner Kevin Jessup recounts how in his new role he assumed responsibility for addressing the issue of the mines continuing heavy financial losses, what he did about it, and how his strategies can help you in your business.


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