FOULGER UNDERWOOD offers a range of comprehensive, well-defined and progressive consulting services. Our specialist team has a wealth of knowledge and experience garnered from both running professional service firms, as well as consulting to them. We approach our consultancy with a strong belief in analytical, collaborative and practical hands-on approach which allows us to tailor and customise our service depending on the client and their challenges and concerns. This is where we find we add most value.
Our consultancy services include:
We help our clients develop sustainable business strategies and plan for the future. In order to achieve this, we need to understand how the business has developed in the last few years, assess the plans that are currently in place to move the firm forward and, more broadly, identify the aspirations of our clients. We do understand many of the pressures professional firms today: increasing regulatory and compliance pressures; facing staff costs; recruitment; the disparity between staff skill-sets and client demands; IT; productivity; recovery rates; lock-up and succession planning … the list is endless. With a thorough strategy review, many of the risks associated with these market pressures can be alleviated or at least better prepared for.
Strategy Planning and Implementation
Our strategy and implementation services are a natural follow on from our status reviews, as outlined above. We are however, approached by firms requesting our help with one or more specific areas relating to implementation, which they feel is best handled by an independent third party consultant. Some of these areas are covered below, but include, partnership/shareholder agreements, partnership breakups and growth or rationalisation via M&A.
We believe that HR is one of only a few key pillars which fundamentally support a progressive and growing practice. Being able to successfully manage talent, innovation, collaboration and engagement across your practice, is quite often directly linked to the leadership given by a small handful of people within the practice. Leadership has proved to be a critical enabling factor. We focus much energy and resource on leadership, helping our clients to develop their leadership capacity and leadership capital, helping people define themselves as leaders and supplying some practical skills knowledge that will support them in their journey as a leader. Our offering includes:
Bespoke senior management and partner development
Ensuring aspiring partners and junior partners understand their role and responsibilities
360 degree appraisal and benchmarking
Arranging feedback from your employees and teams, without this you aren't best equipped to devise strategy
Coaching and mentoring
Managing team appraisal systems
Staff and firm skill-set analysis
We believe succession planning is a vital process and instrumental in the evolution and success of a practice. A practice that ensures the most suitable candidates are recruited, developed and then invested in, to fill key roles, will flourish and grow. By actively addressing succession planning and options available, a practice can still expand and grow even though it may lose employees. Succession planning can guarantee the future of a practice.
Partnership and Shareholder Agreements
Financial review - fee charging and recovery rate
Benchmarking of practices
Pre and post M&A Consultancy
Every M&A transaction comes with its own individual challenges. Whether you are a key buyer or seller, we can get involved in preparing your practice for a transaction, ensuring key areas have been addressed and in doing so, improving the chances of a successful transaction. For sellers, we have been successful in achieving higher valuation multiples for clients just from six months of pre-sale consultancy work. This isn't just window dressing.
Following completion, the challenges of now creating value from the deal (which was the premise for the transaction) can magnify. Following completion, buyers are looking to drive productivity, cost savings and push for integration. There are ways of successfully achieving this without disenfranchising staff and clients along the way, but it needs to be planned. Sellers quite often find themselves under pressure to integrate and restructure their practices without impacting growth and existing clients.
We support our clients in all phases of the M&A process, preparing them for transaction through to managing and accelerating their implementation, always with the aim of capturing and embedding the value that the deal set out to achieve.
The recent economic climate has impacted the professions. We take a practical approach to the situation and after careful assessment, we put an action plan together that delivers results. We understand the key profit drivers and drainers and have the commercial experience to undertake a full evaluation of practices, looking at exiting lines of business, client segmentation, lock-up (WIP & debtors), cycles/seasonality as well as opportunities to develop new revenue stream from new and existing clients.
We apply this broad term to the process of strengthening ties amongst all the stakeholders of a business, existing clients, employees, owners and future clients. Practices operating a traditional model, commonly develop similar challenges covering the sales, marketing, customer care, operations and management functions which all require resource and time to work through. We specialise in working with firms and developing processes and models that deal with these common day-to-day practice/management pain points.
Structuring and Advice (including MBOs and MBIs)
We support individuals and teams looking at executing a MBO. This covers analysis of the target, structuring of the deal, and if required, assistance in fundraising.
We are specialists in the professional service sector and act on many transactions every year. We therefore have the experience to assist business owners with valuations of their firms and can provide guidance on different models and scenarios that are relevant to the current buyers and transactions taking place in the market. Our valuations have been used to assist clients in the future sale of their firms, disputes where partnerships are breaking up, probate and where firms are restructuring or moving from a partnership to LLP.
We are often requested to provide impartial and independent adjudication on specific issues pertaining to professional service firms. We are also regularly called upon by the courts to provide expert witness work.