Financial Planning & Analysis Manager
Mark Lewis
November 28, 2016
Job Type
Scotland & UK
Industry and Commerce
Financial Leadership and Control


Representing a collective of 1,000 dairy farmer members, First Milk is the only dairy business in the UK wholly owned by British family farms. With a nationwide footprint, it plays a vital role in many rural communities across Britain.

As a farmer co-operative, First Milk commits to processing all of its members' milk, even at times of when other farmers cannot find a buyer for their milk. Originally set up in the mid-1990s on the deregulation of the milk markets and the dissolution of the previous Milk Marketing Boards, First Milk’s primary aim is to deliver a good milk price to its farmers.

First Milk is headquartered in Glasgow with four manufacturing sites across the UK. First Milk’s dairy-processing plants process and distribute milk, cheddar cheese, and dairy ingredients, including whey, and milk powders. Largely a bulk, business-to-business cheese producer, it also manufactures cheddar brands such as Lake District Cheese, Mull of Kintyre, Isle of Arran, Scottish Pride and Pembrokeshire.

In reaction to challenging market conditions, the business made major changes in its strategic direction, governance and leadership, putting a focus on its core cheese and liquid brokering business and bringing in a new commercial leadership team.

These actions have reduced costs, improved quality and have fed through into an improved financial position. Operating profits of over £4m were delivered in the year to 31 March 2016, an improvement of £24m on the prior year. Debt has also continued to reduce and at the end of March 2016 was £33m, compared to £60.7m as of March 2015. In addition, First Milk concluded a refinancing exercise with support from its current banks in December 2015.

The Role


The role will work closely with the Finance & Commercial Directors to set and embed high standards of performance within the commercial team, providing accurate financial information to support and challenge the commercial team in order to maximise returns for the business.

The role will proactively drive financial improvements which will contribute to achieving profit targets for First Milk’s performance. In addition, the post holder will prepare and deliver First Milk’s annual operating plan and quarterly forecasts.

An overview of responsibilities includes:

Management Reporting:

  • To support the Finance & Commercial Directors
  • Month end commercial analysis delivered on time
  • To develop and maintain fit for purpose reports
  • Effectively develop and produce weekly reporting for commercial metrics
  • To work in partnership with the commercial team analysing customer volume and pricing information for the purpose of maximising financial returns for the Group
  • Effectively coordinate the operating planning process and quarterly reforecasts
  • Deliver the operating plan for the Group
  • Put in place automated checks that enable discrepancies between reporting to be identified and quickly addressed
  • Coach commercial team to focus on profit rather than revenue

Key Projects:

  • Actively support the Finance and Commercial Directors with the delivery and reporting of ad-hoc commercial projects
  • Proactively identify and deliver ad-hoc projects that will benefit the Group financial position
  • Identify areas of inefficiency and lead projects that improve commercial financial processes
  • Maintain awareness of industry best practices and commercial finance opportunities and actively drive through any required changes

Commercial Analysis and Assessment:

  • Ownership in coordinating and consolidating the Group budget and forecasts
  • Provide pricing proposals for current and new business with robust, accurate financial information
  • Support the overall commercial reporting of the Group, working closely with other management accountants
  • Strive to contribute to continuous improvement of the department

The Candidate

To succeed in this role, the candidate will be commercially astute, with the ability to think strategically and independently. The ability to influence across a range of stakeholders and to communicate effectively across all functions is a pre requisite for this role.

An overview of the candidate profile is as follows:

  • Proven track record in a commercially focused financial planning role with close working relationship to the businesses' commercial function
  • Experience of working in a high paced company environment with previous FMCG industry experience advantageous
  • Professionally qualified accountant (e.g. CA, ACCA, ACMA) with likely 5-10 years' post qualified experience
  • Knowledge of current finance best practice and ability to keep abreast of external developments
  • Practical knowledge of ERP system, data warehousing, business intelligence systems
  • Not afraid to challenge current practices
  • Excellent capability to interpret financial information to guide decision making
  • Ability to operate within a changing environment
  • Ability to build and motivate a highly performance driven team
  • Excellent communication skills - both verbal and written
  • Practical and hands on when required


High competitive basic salary plus car allowance, bonus and pension.

What to do next:

To apply, for a confidential discussion, please contact our retainedadvisor Mark Lewis at Rutherford Cross at [email protected] or 0141 6117770

Please note that all third party or direct applications will be forwarded to Rutherford Cross for inclusion in the assessment process.

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