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Karen Smith-Watson – FD, South East

Karen Smith-Watson – FD, South East
Picture of Karen Smith-Watson – FD, South East

Karen Smith-Watson – FD, South East

Karen has 25 years of experience at a senior level in both corporate and SME organisations, with sector experience across travel, education, insurance and property. Karen enjoys providing financial and strategic support to business owners and entrepreneurs, assisting them in building successful and sustainable business models.

She qualified as a chartered accountant in 1996 with Coopers & Lybrand in Dublin and went on to benefit from working for large corporate organisations such as The Grosvenor Estate and TUI Travel plc, a FTSE 100 company. More laterally, Karen has worked in the SME market for a group of wealthy investors focusing on educational travel and English language training.

She has a proven track record in profit and cash generation through robust strategic planning, budgeting, forecasting and commercial financial analysis. Karen has negotiated and led on sixteen corporate transactions including several distressed purchases. She has managed multiple brands and P&Ls, she enjoys the variety and challenges that this brings.

Karen has extensive experience in cash and debt management working with seasonal businesses where cash management has been necessary to ensure working capital is adequate to operate the business. In addition to her finance related skills, she has had operational experience in managing HR, IT and property functions, particularly through her time as CFO for British Study Centres, a chain of English language training schools in the UK and Ireland.

Karen enjoys building working relationships that are built on trust, she is very much a people person. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling, walking her dog Bailey, playing tennis and watching her two sons playing rugby.

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