Team stories: Caroline, Director of Finance
Starting at Granby in August 2019 as Head of Finance & HR, Caroline Noblett hit the ground running. Within 3 years, she’d supported a management buyout, successfully navigated pandemic finances and supported another management buyout.
She also helped the business become an employee owned trust (EOT). And those are just the headlines! During this time, she became Director of Finance at Granby and, to cap it all off, the mother of 2 children.
Big changes and small miracles
Joanne Kimber, Managing Director, said: “When Caroline joined, our management accounts weren’t as accurate as they might have been and were slow. We had a long-winded and inaccurate budgeting process. It’s now easier than it’s ever been to get current, correct information.
“Caroline has done some big things – but she’s also made small changes that have had a massive impact. She’s made financial information easily available for clarity on business decisions.”
Due to the pandemic, most of this work was done remotely by the finance team, led by Caroline, including:
- Introducing a paperless purchase ledger system, which resulted in efficient management of payments to suppliers.
- Managing all furlough payments through HMRC.
- Negotiating a payment holiday with our bank to reserve cash until the operation and client activity returned.
- Supplying regular cash-flow information to the management team to support agile decision making.
Joanne said: “This has brought financial stability that, for one, allowed all the staff we’d placed on furlough to return to full time employment after lockdown ended. It also meant we were able to pay off our loan quicker than expected – it was a 5 year term, paid within 18 months.
“This has brought financial stability that, for one, allowed all the staff we’d placed on furlough to return to full time employment after lockdown ended. It also meant we were able to pay off our loan quicker than expected – it was a 5 year term, paid within 18 months.”
“On the HR side, Caroline has implemented improvements that have helped to increase employee satisfaction through empowerment and engagement and the launch of our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The results of our employee satisfaction survey are going up year on year.
“All this was done while she was balancing work and her growing family, including her maternity leave. Caroline has challenged and helped to change the culture of our business in a very positive way. It was a learning curve for us as a business and serves as a blueprint for how maternity leave should work.”
Making it meaningful
“Caroline’s not a textbook accountant,” Joanne added. “She’s creative, very practical with sharp business acumen. She doesn’t over-complicate anything and she knows how to translate complex financial matters into a language and narrative that everyone can understand – which is critical to bringing the whole team on board.
“She doesn’t count beans – she frames important management information, making it meaningful. Granby has been going for 60 years and I think we’d got into a rut of isolating finance in its own silo. Caroline brought it into the light and showed us how to integrate it.”
“I learned everything I could in each job I had. When there was nothing more to learn, I’d move on. My friends keep asking me when I’m moving on but I haven’t learned everything yet – Granby keeps challenging me!”
Our Finance Director leads a small but powerful team comprising Sharon, in Finance, and Nic in HR. Before Granby, Caroline had worked in finance in the automotive sector, the construction industry and education.
“After leaving college, I started work in an accountancy practice and began to complete my studies whilst working. I completed my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) whilst at the practice before moving to Williams BMW to gain Management accountant experience and completing the CIMA qualification (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) to become a qualified Management Accountant at 23. After a few years, I missed studying so I also completed an MBA (Master of Business Administration)”.
“I loved to learn whilst working and about each industry, I absorbed as much as I could but when there was nothing more to learn, I’d move on. My friends keep asking me when I’m moving on, but I haven’t learned everything yet – Granby keeps challenging me!”
How Granby has evolved since 2019
Caroline has been instrumental in the journey that Granby has been on for the last 3 years.
- November 2019 – first buyout, moved banking to HSBC, oversaw governance and due diligence for loans and invoice financing to buy out Granby’s private equity investor, support for new business structure
- March 2020 – our audit for 2019 had just been completed when the pandemic landed. Caroline’s team kept abreast of government announcements, correct furlough amounts, grants available, monitoring cashflow, paying suppliers in a timely way.
- February 2021 – Caroline completed the year end audit for 2020 with 4 days spare before her 2nd child was born!
- July 2021 – our HSBC secure loan was paid well ahead of schedule (in 18 months rather than 5 years).
- February 2022 – our Chairman and former Chief Executive Stephen Bentley retired and Joanne bought his shares, making her the main shareholder.
- August 2022 – for the first time, Granby entered Lancashire Business View’s Hot 100 list of ‘most profitable SMEs’, lauded for helping to stimulate the local job market and economy.
- September 2022 – Caroline’s team was highly commended at the 2022 Finance Awards North West for its recent work, and she helped Joanne realise her vision of Granby becoming an employee owned trust (EOT).
Can you bring a special skill to Granby?
“She doesn’t count beans – she frames important management information, making it meaningful.”
We’re always looking to expand our team with hard working, dedicated people across all areas of the business – from 3PL, warehousing, production, contract packing and digital, to customer service agents, we welcome applicants for all roles at Granby – find out more.