New level of the CFO

A private equity firm bought a medium-sized service company and are experiencing shortages. Implementation of a new reporting and annual accounts in accordance with IFRS was required immediately. There was no time for recruiting a new CFO, and this is why they decided to hire a qualified interim CFO.

The mission:
1) Elevate the CFO function to a new level.
2) Revise and streamline procedures and working methods, as well as creating security among the staff.
3) Complete a quarterly report in less than a month, and produce an annual report, both in accordance with IFRS.

The interim manager must quickly create stability and make sure the staff feels secure in order to be able to act. The organization lacked trust. Hence, the first task was to build confidence among the employees as well as management, CEO, board, and owners.

– They should feel “this is someone who knows the business”, someone that is pragmatic and knows how to create stability in the working environment. The owner required progress. As an interim, I am very dependent on my working environment, and the change process is much easier if I take a walk on the floor when the mission starts. Then much follows by itself. Social skills are a must, and it helps to be a little older, with an inner sense of confidence to more easily evaluate and prioritize. I also state that I have an interim assignment, so that the employees know what to relate to.

Built working satisfaction and the will to change

The organization was pretty ill battered. The Finance Department was ill seen, the manager had too many subordinates, and the employees felt that no one listened to them.

– I spent a lot of time talking to as many people as possible, and really listened to their problems. It was very much appreciated and it lit the spark and job satisfaction again.

Already after three weeks, the company’s first regular quarterly report was presented. As the regular CFO remained in the company with other tasks, the interim could concentrate on the improvement efforts and the new reporting system.

– A regular CFO can, with a slight exaggeration, survive by sitting in the office writing instructions. This does not work for an interim. I need to get out and intermingle in the organization, being an ambassador for the department. By marketing myself I can pitch my ideas. To drive change, I have to socialize and have respect for people.

Corrected the shortcomings and created new working methods

Other essential skills of an interim is the technical skill and the “artisan” experience from different areas. Equally important is communication skills, to be able to disseminate what is being done and why.

Within short the ongoing work was under control, inefficient working methods changed, and the most obvious deficiencies were corrected. Rules and routines were communicated – with some changes – since the old ones had become obsolete. Other elements of the interim’s analysis were put on hold for the regular CFO to handle.

– I requested new tools for reporting and suggested that the Director should have less direct reports, and that the payroll department should be outsourced.

A lot of work done in a short time

– It feels fantastic to be able to do so much positive work in a short period. I work now full time as an Interim Manager. I enjoy to experience new challenges instead of doing the same routine tasks over and over again; to see what can be done and create the conditions so that everyone can do a good job.

It makes the task easier if the assignment is well defined, so that the interim know what to relate to and can prioritize properly.

– Another advantage is not to have to be politically correct, not be bound by the game but have the option of challenging set ways. Then the result is often even better.