Kevin Appleby, The Business Accountant's Mentor

Hello my name is Kevin Appleby,

I’m Kevin Appleby, an experienced chartered accountant (the UK equivalent of a CPA). I work as a consultant with many major organisations to help improve business performance. I also spend time in the classroom helping fellow management accountants learn new skills.

Before I became a consultant I was a business accountant. I was responsible for the finances in ICI’s European Plastics Business. But working as a consultant in PwC and in smaller niche consultancies taught me many things. I wish I’d known all of these when I was in ICI. My mission is to help you benefit from this experience. In want you to take advantage of all the things I’ve discovered over the years.

If you have read this far then maybe we ought to connect. You can find me on LinkedIn. Kevin Appleby

Are you a business accountant?

You might be a business accountant grappling with the issues of business planning, customer profitability, or just plain keeping on top of costs to be competitive. Sometimes that can be quite overwhelming. I can help you step back and take stock of the situation. I can give give you some new strategies that might help you and your business team.

I’ve spent most of my career involved in business improvement projects. Diagnosing problems; identifying business change; setting up strategic goals and targets along with the metrics and scorecards to make it happen. I’ve coached teams as they progress along the journey. Ive helped organisations take cost out of the business and become much more lean organisations.

One really important thing I’ve learned is that the problems in big organisations really aren’t much different to the problems in small ones. While every business thinks that the sector it operates in is unique that’s really not the case. I know that all these years of experience I have can be used to help you succeed. Understanding the tools and techniques that are right for the challenges of the 21st Century is key.

Kevin Appleby – the Chartered Accountant

My career started in North East England in the Newcastle office of BDO. I qualified as an accountant while preparing accounts and doing audit work. My clients ranged from the Indian restaurant that would deliver a bag of receipts and bank statements (with many missing!). There were some local manufacturing businesses. There were  to the national and international organisations. Some headquartered in Newcastle, like my favourite marine insurer. Others local branches of bigger firms, such as the speedy tyre fitter. Great experience too find out how business works and the nuts and bolts of putting a set of accounts together.

Kevin Appleby – The business accountant

After qualifying I joined ICI plc and spent time in the European Plastics Business. I was responsible for reporting the monthly business results, putting together the annual business plans, and managing budgets. During my time we needed to drastically reshape one of the product groups and turn losses into profits. I learned a whole lot about why the management accounts don’t give you the financial information you really need to run the business, and how 80% of cost is driven by 20% of your worst customers, and 80% of profit is also driven by your 20% best customers.

Do you understand who your least profitable and most profitable customers are? Its much more valuable information than knowing how much profit you made last month and boring your business team with a list of variances from budget.

Kevin Appleby – The management consultant

From ICI I joined PwC, and started a journey that would teach me lots more about understanding business profitability and business reporting. I was part of the small team that developed PwC’s Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Mapping methodology, it changed my views of monthly reporting completely. The traditional P&L account really doesn’t tell your business team what they need to know.

Blowing up the budget became a theme of the work I was involved in. Again I wish I’d known some of this when I was a business accountant back in ICI. We looked the value of using rolling forecasts instead of budgets, and helped a number of organisations completely change the way they put together their management information. Does your company still report against an annual budget that was set up 3 months before the year started and was overtaken by real world events so that it is out of date and meaningless by the second quarter?

My consulting career took me increasingly towards public sector clients. I often work as an associate with Prederi. I’ve gained expertise in investment appraisal and business cases. I discovered that costing services and customer groups was just as important for the non profit as the manufacturing company. The key question is always how do we get better value for money? how do we direct our scarce resources to get the best outcome?

Kevin Appleby – the podcaster

I met Graham Arrowsmith after we both signed up for a training programme in online marketing. We discovered we had lots in common. We shared an interest in business and finding out more about what makes businesses and business people successful. One thing led to another. We found ourselves recording a podcast. Chatting to people we found interesting and exploring subjects we wanted to know more about.

The Next 100 days Podcast was born. We kept showing up week after week. 4 years and 200 episodes later we have one of the UK’s leading independent business shows. Graham isn’t an accountant, he has an MBA in marketing and specialises in direct mail. That means we cover a whole range of business topics, and can both talk with a certain amount of authority from our different professional backgrounds.

Kevin Appleby – the football fan

Any of you that tune in regularly to The Next 100 Days podcast will know that both Graham and I are passionate about football. That’s soccer for you Americans! For Graham its Leeds United, for me its Newcastle United. The Toon Army!

Not just an accountant, a business coach too

Ive been involved with small businesses throughout my career. My daughter runs a coffee shop and bakery. I helped my wife set up her chiropody practice. My good friend and fellow railway modeller Justin Noble runs Scale Model Scenery., a great example of the many other small businesses I’ve helped. I’ve helped them all establish and grow their businesses. The problems faced by small businesses are really no different to the ones that my consulting clients grapple with every day.

Can I help you?

More recently I’ve found myself in the class room sharing a whole career of practical experience gained implementing reporting systems, preparing investment proposals, and running cost reduction exercises. I teach Activity Based Costing; Zero Based Budgeting; Business Strategy and Reporting illustrated by case studies of where it has worked and equally important hasn’t worked in practice.

I’ve started the YouTube channel “21st Century Business Accountant” to start sharing some of these lessons to a wider audience.

As well as mentoring and teaching accountants I also coach small business owners

Do you want to know more? Perhaps it’s to solve a particular challenge in your organisation? Perhaps it’s to learn new tools and techniques?

Let’s have a chat.