Growing business FD of the year: Melissa Foux

Strolling down the aisles of your local supermarket, you couldn’t have failed
at some point to have noticed the inviting treats that make up the Gü range. You
may even have been tempted to try them out.

This selection of chocolate puddings, cakes and other indulgent treats has
become a prominent food brand in recent years and Melissa Foux’s hard work and
dedication since being appointed finance director in May last year has helped
the business to grow rapidly, with turnover expected at £25m in 2009.

When Foux arrived at Gü she found, as with many fast-growing start ups, that
most resources had been focused elsewhere and that the finance function was
ill-equipped to support the expanding scale and complexity of the business. An
expansion into France has added to that complexity and meant that a complete
rebuild of the finance department, its systems and processes was necessary.

There had been no regular management reporting, no cash flow or business
forecasts and the accounting package was not suited to the size of company or
the level of transactions it was undertaking. Rather than tinkering with current
systems, Foux fundamentally changed the basis of how transactions were reported.
This not only allowed better forecasting, but enabled the company to assess
profitability by product or customer on a weekly basis.

In addition, several process improvements were implemented ­ eliminating
manual processing and input to allow the finance team to focus on more crucial
tasks such as credit control and analytical work. The automation of invoice
sales price checking, delivery checking, and the purchase order system has saved
the company a significant number of days each month and money.

Cash management was another crucial area for change. Foux switched from a
weekly model to cash management on a daily basis. Banking facilities were
extended to incorporate a euro ledger invoice discounting line and the charging
structure renegotiated to save £30,000 over two years. In addition, hedging the
foreign exchange rate saved £100,000 a year.

Foux’s diligent work has ensured that Gü is ready for several more years of


Melissa Foux’s work at Gü was exactly what our judges wanted to see from
an FD of a growing business. “Melissa demonstrated all the key skills an FD
should have. She contributed in all areas of the business and demonstrates just
what the modern FD should be.”

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