5 Minutes with Michael Walsh – Chief Finance Officer at Newable

As businesses up and down the UK plan and prepare for the new financial year, we recently sat down with Michael Walsh, CFO at Newable, to get his take on preparing for the impact of Brexit, responsible finance, and the way forward for UK SME’s.

How long have you worked at Newable and what first attracted you to come and work with us?

10 years, previously I worked with very large blue chips companies like Credit Suisse and Barclays. In contrast, Newable helps small businesses on the ground and you can see the real, tangible difference you make. I also like the great collegiate culture and nice staff.

Over recent months there have been both positive and negative financial projections for the UK economy post Brexit. What advice would you give to small businesses to prepare for what’s to come?

When you run a business there is always uncertainty and risks. Brexit is just another risk and uncertainty, so don’t be overwhelmed or overwrought. It’s just another risk in a mostly uncertain world.

However, as for any risk, do plan and look ahead to manage that risk, and in particular watch your cash flow, manage your cash flow.

Make sure that your balance sheet is strong enough to provide resilience if there were to be damage to the economy. Do not become overwhelmed, Brexit offers opportunities as well. There are always opportunities with uncertainty, so don’t focus on the bad news. If a business has a good product or service, then that business will do well.

What are your views on the responsible finance movement and why is it important for small businesses to have access to responsible finance.

My view is that traditional sources of finance in the UK have looked after small businesses badly. There seems to be a lack of understanding of what small businesses need and in particular, the challenges they face.

I therefore think that the Responsible Finance sector plays a hugely important role in supporting small businesses, operating in a decent responsible manner, and provides an important alternative to high street banks.

However, I also think that the Responsible Finance movement is under resourced, and needs more capital and expertise to really make a difference to the UK small business sector, but thank goodness we have responsible finance.

Do you think there should be greater investment in services for small businesses, to help boost the UK economy?

Yes. I strongly believe that we do need more investment in business support services. All the research tells us that the majority of new jobs and wealth created comes from the small business sector, and tomorrow’s FTSE companies will come from small businesses.

So, if the UK is going to meet its economic challenges, then it needs small businesses to thrive and grow.

The more we can support the small business sector, the more likely the UK will succeed as a country.