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Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Budapest, Hungary
Member since August 30, 2018
Paul is an international CFO with experience across multinational companies ranging from $250-$900 million in turnover. After roles of increasing responsibility with General Electric and Orica, he now freelances to help companies with his operational finance and transformation experience. He has led simplification projects across geographically disparate finance teams and has worked in the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Hungary.
Paul is now available for hire
Career Highlights
Select Certifications
Industry Expertise
  • Energy
Software Expertise
  • Microsoft Excel
Other Expertise
  • CFO
  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa (EMEA)
  • Finance Transformation
  • Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)
  • Operational Finance
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Principal
    2017 - PRESENT
    My Interim CFO Kft
    • Provided interim CFO support to Orica Mining Services Europe during a leadership transition.
    • Upgraded the Orica finance leadership team, heading a significant recruitment effort and initiating an assessment of organizational skill gaps.
    • Led an insurance claim process that led to the recovery of A$10 million arising from major manufacturing incident, coordinating a cross-functional team of five people and ensuring that all data was provided to the insurers, was compliant with the terms of the policy and had the appropriate support and back up.
    Focus areas: Operational Finance, Interim CFO, International Finance
    2014 - 2016
    • Led a thorough review of a 150-person EMEA finance organization, identifying shared service opportunities to provide efficiency and cost leverage, and creating a detailed plan to transition 80+ roles.
    • Supported a business transformation with extensive regional profitability analysis and financial modeling, leading to the divestment of businesses in Western Europe and an increased focus on CIS and other emerging growth regions.
    • Brought rigor to the monthly financial analytics by enhancing the variance analysis and improving commentary.
    • Elevated the CFO role into a business partner and significantly improved the perception of the EMEA Finance team with Australian headquarters, driving increased engagement and focus on reporting accuracy and timeliness.
    Focus areas: Finance Strategy, Financial Reporting, Finance Transformation, Profitability Analysis, Profitability Optimization, International Finance, CFO
    2012 - 2014
    GE Lighting
    • Led a cross-functional business simplification project that identified and executed $15 million of cost reductions. Built a project team that represented the whole business, encouraged a collaborative pipeline of ideas from the business unit rather than handing out tops-down financial targets and generated a mix of short-term cost improvement initiatives and longer-term structural projects that included the rationalization of the company's presence in various regions.
    • Provided financial leadership for the EMEA element of a $70 million global SAP implementation, resourcing the project team with best-in-class finance talent and instilling weekly project management rigor to track progress and resolve issues quickly.
    • Led a 100-person centralized finance organization based in Budapest, providing financial support to all of the business operations in Europe and including all financial functions FP&A, controllership, tax, and treasury.
    • Implemented a multicurrency balance sheet financial model that enabled the forecasting of non-functional currency balances and the placement of foreign exchange hedges leading to a 1,000% reduction in balance sheet foreign exchange volatility.
    Focus areas: Finance Transformation, Finance Strategy, Finance Operation Improvements, Financial System Implementation, Foreign Exchange (FX) Hedging, Operational Finance, CFO
  • International Finance Manager
    2010 - 2012
    GE Corporate
    • Implemented a reporting package to enhance visibility and transparency for quarterly financials and forecasts.
    • Executed a foreign exchange strategy across 30 sites, incorporating 15 different functional currencies.
    • Spearheaded a process to comply with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act across all sites ensuring the provision of training to finance team members, the completion of detailed questionnaires, and leveraging IT functionality to support data collection on vendors and contractors.
    Focus areas: Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Foreign Exchange (FX) Hedging, Budgeting, International Finance
  • EMEA Controller
    2007 - 2010
    GE Corporate
    • Owned the statutory compliance across 1,700 GE entities in 50 countries, successfully driving a ten-point improvement in compliance over a three-year period by raising the visibility of regulatory filings via the implementation of a dashboard, individual project plans to resolve aged open filings, and the implementation of a global policy for compliant statutory to U.S. GAAP reporting reconciliations.
    • Managed an external auditor relationship across 1,000+ statutory audits for GE in Europe, successfully achieving a 10% reduction on a $40 million cost base via standardization of the audit rate card, the introduction of a formal process for escalating and approving audit overruns, and sharing best practice audit processes across businesses.
    • Led cross-business IFRS conversions in Germany and Spain for 100+ legal entities, managing projects designed to drive consistency across all of the in-scope GE businesses.
    Focus areas: Controller, Audit Management, Control Audits, Internal Audits, External Financial Reporting, IFRS Adjustments, International Finance
  • Finance Manager, EMEA
    2005 - 2007
    GE Industrial Solutions
    • Supported the CEO in the transformation of loss-making business including leading a detailed operational review to determine product-line profitability, creating a financial model and providing recommendations regarding future strategic investments and divestments.
    • Led the $50 million divestment of a non-core business segment creating a financial model to compare different scenarios and working with external advisors on sale documents and the bid process.
    Focus areas: Commercial Finance, Profitability Analysis, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Operational Finance, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)
  • CFO, Pipeline Solutions
    2002 - 2005
    GE Oil & Gas
    • Led the integration of the finance function for a $500 million strategic acquisition by GE, establishing an activity checklist and tracking mechanisms, leading weekly reviews to manage progress, and mentoring the acquired finance team regarding GE values and culture.
    • Ensured that the GE accounting and reporting routines were implemented and led the purchase accounting processes for acquired businesses.
    • Partnered with the CEO to drive the achievement of challenging financial forecasts for acquired companies by implementing weekly operational tracking and forecasting tools ensuring the identification and resolution of any variances to financial targets.
    Focus areas: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Finance Integration, International Finance, Purchase Price Adjustments, CFO
  • Operations Finance Manager, EMEA
    2000 - 2002
    GE Lighting
    • Provided finance leadership for a $500 million expense base, supporting nine manufacturing plants in Europe.
    • Introduced an automated manufacturing financial reporting tool that led to a 50% improvement in the timing of the month end reporting cycle.
    Focus areas: Operations Finance, Finance Operation Improvements, Budgeting, Finance Process Improvement
  • FP&A Manager, EMEA
    1996 - 2000
    GE Lighting
    • Led an FP&A team that managed all reporting, variance analysis, and forecasting for an $800 million P&L.
    • Improved the accuracy and understanding of cash flow forecasting by assigning ownership of the balance sheet across a team of five financial analysts.
    Focus areas: Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), P&L Forecasting, Cash Flow Forecasting, Budgeting
Other Experience
  • Forecast for Success — A Guide to Cash Management (Publication)
    Running out of cash is one of the main reasons why startups fail. More established companies can also be affected. We outline the importance of managing cash, key metrics, and actions to improve performance.
  • A Guide to Managing Foreign Exchange Risk (Publication)
    This useful guide by Toptal Finance Expert Paul Ainsworth draws on 30+ years of experience as a CFO of large multinational companies to lay out the menu of options companies face in order to deal with foreign exchange exposure and manage risk effectively.
  • The Role and Responsibilities of the Modern CFO – A Function in Transition (Publication)
    Over the last few decades, the role of the CFO has undergone a profound shift. The historical tasks of the finance function such as books and records, financial reporting, and statutory compliance continue to be important but are now taken for granted by CEOs. The CFO of today and tomorrow must be able to take financial data and use it to influence operational decision making and strategy. But how?
  • Bachelor's degree in Industrial Economics
    1985 - 1988
    Nottingham University - Nottingham, UK
  • Non-executive Diploma
    Financial Times
  • Chartered Management Accountant
    JULY 1993 - PRESENT
    Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
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