Karen
Armstrong

Virtual Finance Function Senior Manager

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HOW I HELP 

Management Accounting. Budgeting. Forecasting, as well as all other aspects a management team would expect from an in-house Finance Manager. 

SECTORS/SUPPORT 

Energy, with particular focus on Renewables, Oilfield Services, Telecommunications, Food & Drink.

“I’M A PART OF MY CLIENT’S TEAM.” 

Karen Armstrong is a Senior Manager within our Virtual Finance Function team. She works with the leadership teams of clients of all sizes, as a business partner to provide an outsourced service for management accounts, budgeting and forecasting, as well as day to day advice and other matters clients would expect from an inhouse Finance manager.  

Karen is based in our Aberdeen office. Her clients range from those working in Food & Drink, Crypto, and Subsea.

But what excites Karen most about her job, is being able to work so closely with her clients. She believes a successful virtual finance team must be seen as an integral part of their team. The best business decisions come from collaboration from all aspects of the business, of which a VFF must be integral.  

BUILDING UNDERSTANDING  

“When I work with clients, it’s crucial that I understand their business: know what they do, what their aims are. I can then adapt my team and how we report and present financial information to my clients, to enable them to make better, more informed business decisions. And that’s why I always try to pick up the phone regularly and check in. Let my clients know I’m here to support them, and to help get the best for them. 

And it works the other way too. It’s my job to help clients understand the numbers – and what’s happening in their business financially. I am proactive and aim to provide insight in a relevant, focussed but non-technical way. My clients see me as just another member of the team.”

TOTAL SUPPORT 

“I’m the principal point of contact for my clients and I endeavour to support them 100%. VFF is not just about ‘crunching the numbers’ – AAB provides a holistic service to our clients, and my clients know I am the ‘go to’ person for any finance-related matter, including tax, payroll, or VAT. One of the key benefits of a VFF is being backed up by having all the expertise we have in other departments to provide tailored, efficient and practical advice to my clients. It certainly helps me build strong relationships and trust.” 

SATISFYING & REWARDING 

“I would have to say that partnering with my clients is the part of my job that I get the most satisfaction from. I love having that interaction – virtually or in person and being able to help them. And it’s incredible when I get to see their business grow and go from strength to strength – especially when it’s a family business.  

Although AAB provides an outsourced service, I always feel like part of my clients – I work so closely with them on a day to day basis, even if I am not in the same office or even the same city or country as them. The last two years have certainly demonstrated that financial and management accounting can be provided remotely, as is equally as efficient as an in-house team. My clients get the experience they need, when they need it from me, and I feel just as valued as its employees and also an integral part of the team.” 

A PEOPLE PERSON 

“I’m definitely a people person. Having worked in industry for many years in senior management accountant roles, I am at my best working alongside the business leaders from the operational side of the business. Understanding the needs of my clients’ management teams is crucial. I know if I ‘get’ my clients, then I know the VFF partnership will be successful.  

As we build and grow this team, I continue to invest time in guiding and coaching new team members who join us, at whatever level and from whatever background. I feel privileged, having come from an industry background back into an accountancy consulting practice: I know what clients expect from a VFF and I also know there is a transitional learning curve for new team members coming into practice for the first time. Having experience in both, I am uniquely placed to mentor our new VFF colleagues.” 

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