Paul Ainsworth, Finance Expert in Budapest, Hungary
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Paul Ainsworth

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Budapest, Hungary
Toptal Member Since
November 9, 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.

Career Highlights

Fractional CFO
Relay Publishing

Education Highlights

Bachelor's Degree
Nottingham University

Certification Highlights

Chartered Management Accountant
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Work Experience

Fractional CFO

2021 - PRESENT
Relay Publishing
  • Implemented a new monthly management accounting package and a quarterly reporting report with insightful commentary highlighting key trends in business performance.
  • Developed a quarterly financial forecast in order to provide visibility of future cash flow to assist with decisions on the timing and size of business investments.
  • Carried out a full analysis of the capability of the in-house Xero accounting systems and made recommendations on the use of Power BI functionality to improve business analytics.
Focus areas: Budgeting, Cash Flow Forecasting, UK GAAP, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Strategy, Finance, Forecasting, Cash Flow, Xero, Financial Consultation, Reporting, Xero Accounting

Interim Finance Director, UK

2023 - 2023
Veritas Prime LLP
  • Refreshed completely and upgraded the use of Xero within the company by ensuring accurate financial data was posted into the system and by using the reporting functionality.
  • Created a customized Xero profit and loss (P&L) report with key ratios to present the business's financial performance more effectively and significantly increase the value of the P&L for business decision-making.
  • Used the tracking categories within Xero to provide additional revenue detail by customer and service offering.
  • Updated the Xero chart of accounts to ensure costs could be tracked more effectively. Introduced a more rigorous process around journal entries to provide appropriate detail, which was included in the posting to assist with account reconciliations.
  • Implemented a monthly P&L and cashflow forecast into the business to give greater visibility over the cash and working capital needs of the business.
Focus areas: CFO, Accounting, Budgeting, Management, Taxation, Cash Flow, Analysis, Forecasting, UK GAAP, Xero, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Revenue & Expense Projections, International Finance, Administrative Procedures, Systems & Procedures, P&L Management, Profit & Loss (P&L), Xero Accounting, Cash Flow Forecasting, Financial Consultation, Reporting, Business Services


2017 - 2018
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 $10 million arising from a major manufacturing incident, coordinating a cross-functional team of five people and ensuring that all data was provided to the insurers compliantly.
Focus areas: International Finance, Interim CFO, Operational 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: CFO, International Finance, Profitability Optimization, Profitability Analysis, Financial Reporting, Finance Strategy, Reporting


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 and encouraged a collaborative pipeline of ideas from the business unit.
  • 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, 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.
  • Managed complex intercompany transactions including the sourcing of products from Asia, manufacturing assembly in Europe, and sale of the final product in North America.
  • Established strong financial processes around accounts receivable and inventory management. Improved account receivable past due performance from 10% overdue to less than 5%, and realized a 10% improvement in inventory turns.
Focus areas: CFO, Operational Finance, Foreign Exchange (FX) Hedging, Financial System Implementation, Finance Operation Improvements, Finance Strategy, Reporting

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: International Finance, Budgeting, Foreign Exchange (FX) Hedging, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Reporting

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: International Finance, IFRS Adjustments, External Financial Reporting, Internal Audits, Control Audits, Management, Audits, Controller, Reporting

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: Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Operational Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Profitability Analysis, Commercial Finance, Reporting

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: CFO, Purchase Price Adjustments, International Finance, Post-merger Integration, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Reporting

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: Finance Process Improvement, Budgeting, Finance Operation Improvements, Operational Finance, Reporting

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: Budgeting, Cash Flow Forecasting, P&L Forecasting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Reporting
1985 - 1988

Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Economics

Nottingham University - Nottingham, UK


Non-executive Diploma

Financial Times


Chartered Management Accountant

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants


Cash Management, Intercompany Accounting, Working Capital Management, Cash Flow Forecasting, P&L Forecasting, Budgeting, Profitability Optimization, Finance Strategy, CFO, Profitability Analysis, Operational Finance, International Finance, Corporate Finance, Accounting, Foreign Exchange (FX) Hedging, Financial Reporting, Finance Process Improvement, Finance Operation Improvements, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Commercial Finance, Financial System Implementation, Purchase Price Adjustments, External Financial Reporting, Internal Audits, Control Audits, IFRS Adjustments, Controller, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), UK GAAP, Forecasting, Cash Flow, Taxation, Revenue & Expense Projections, Profit & Loss (P&L)

Data & Analysis Software

Xero Accounting

Geographic Expertise


Output Software

Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint

Industry Expertise

Energy, LED Lighting, Mining, Oil & Gas


Fractional CFO, Interim CFO, Virtual CFO, Reporting, Financial Consultation, Manufacturing, Integration, External Audits, Audits, Business Services, Management, Post-merger Integration, Excel Modeling, SAP, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Strategy, Finance, Xero, Analysis, Administrative Procedures, Systems & Procedures, P&L Management

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