Hans Skeat trained with KPMG in Birmingham and after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1987 he began his career in financial management in industry.
Prior to starting BBML in 2003, Hans was a Senior Finance Director and Business Advisor working with a portfolio of clients for an Outsourced Financial Management company.
He spent time working with National Grid Transco in two of their subsidiary businesses effecting dramatic improvements in financial control, reshaping the businesses, re-engineering and delivering significant reductions in manpower and overheads to improve profitability.
This work in outsourcing led Hans to form BBML, as a venture bringing Finance professionals to a much wider audience. BBML have been working with a number of small and medium sized businesses developing business plans, providing strategic direction in order that their management teams can raise new investment to drive growth and critical mass.
Along with general business advisory work, BBML has been working with organisations that have been in financial difficulties for a number of years using up reserves rapidly. The priorities are to take control of the cash and build proper business controls, and in parallel to develop their strategic plans for the future, building new income streams and rationalising the overhead base of the business.
Other areas have included advisory work on the due diligence approach on a potential acquisition for a much larger organisation and selection of a new Managing Director for one client. Hans has progressed to acting as the freelance finance director for this client.
Hans’ career outside of the profession started with an operational role as a Retail Accountant with the Sears Retail Group Plc supporting the Operations Executive in putting the business on a sound financial footing. This set the trend for his aptitude for working in and outside of the finance function.
In 1989 he joined H. Samuel (part of the Signet Group Plc); the retail jewellery chain, as Assistant to the Finance Director. Here he began developing his Change Management skills, stabilising existing systems and implemented new ones, re-engineering stock, cash, budgeting, forecasting and reporting systems and driving change and modernisation through the business. He was responsible for specifying and then introducing a hand held stocktaking system, delivering savings in excess of £250k pa. Hans also played a key role in driving the project to amalgamate the finance teams of two of the Group businesses.
In 1991 he joined Halfords (then part of the Boots Group Plc); the car parts and cycle retailer, as Chief Accountant. Here he led the review of accounting and control procedures throughout the organisation, introducing new working practices and minimising year-end audit exposures. His involvement was in all aspects of the business; driving £2.5m improvements in gross margin yield and securing a £1.2m VAT refund. Hans built effective relationships with all areas of the business, The Boots Group and external agencies to improve the working of the Company. His legacy when he left was robust financial controls, visibility of the finance team to the whole business, and a restructured and highly effective team.
Since 1995 has taken more senior roles within subsidiary businesses mainly as Finance Director / General Management, working for T & S Stores Plc (now part of Tesco), Accenture, and The National Express Group. At this level he has led significant transformational change projects, benchmarking, implementation and dissolution of shared service centres and releasing untapped potential in people and businesses.
Hans’ success has always been based on his strong interpersonal skills and his ability to understand and drive the operational side of business. He has had significant IT involvement, often with the IT team reporting to him.
Hans Skeat in a nutshell:
- Significant experience at senior level in a large number of businesses
- Strong track record of transformational change and turnarounds in retail, service and manufacturing businesses to tight deadlines
- Hands on experience in designing, building and dissolution of shared service centres
- Strong interpersonal skills and effective communicator at all levels inside and outside of organisations
- Experience of acquisitions and disposals
- Built many successful finance teams.