The benefits of being with Dial a CFO from an Associate perspective
"This engagement arose from a fellow Dial Associate that was approached directly given that he had previously assisted this Client in a personal capacity with a complex commercial reorganization whereby they trusted his judgment and expertise. He was fully committed on another Dial assignment and therefore he and the Dial Principal met with the Client to explain the Dial value proposition and we were subsequently appointed.
The initial brief was to complete a backlog of year end financial statements and tax returns and update current year management accounts - create meaningful trading reports and KPIs, manage the collection of outstanding debts, review the inventory systems and clear up the backlog the departing CFO had left. The Director / Shareholders (D/S) had become increasingly concerned at the continuing lack of profitability, the high level of dependence on bank finance, even after contributing large sums of money to keep the overdraft under control.
Upon starting, I soon realized the D/S were not aware of the true financial performance and financial position of their business. Also, the operational and financial systems were not robust and were in need of immediate improvement.
A significant restatement of the financial affairs was required with ensuing significant losses for previous years. Discussions were held with the D/S and the company bankers and a three month period of grace was agreed to, in order to enable the D/S to assess the on-going viability of the business and to establish a remedial plan. At the same time I commenced an aggressive plan to free up liquidity from the Balance Sheet.
I assisted in completing a number of "what if" scenarios in support of the remedial plan and participated in discussions with the various stakeholders. Ultimately however, the D/S came to the realization that it would not be possible to trade on without compromising their remaining value in the company.
The decision was then made to initiate an orderly liquidation of the business and I worked with the D/S and then the appointed Liquidator in facilitating the ensuing work streams to maximize the value for creditors and shareholders - this being an extremely interesting and challenging experience. The human impact of the business wind down was not lost on me and I spent considerable time and effort in supporting those for which this was a traumatic experience.
I understand the D/S appreciated having me at hand to deal with the problems often from left field as they occurred to navigate the path towards a tidy closure.
While clearly we could have achieved more had we been approached earlier, it is a credit to the D/S that they were able to conduct themselves by behaving in a professional and ethical manner throughout the whole process."
"I have been a senior finance executive in a manufacturing and marketing business both in New Zealand and Australia for some 22 years. I had decided to retire but got bored - I was not looking for long-term full-time employment and then Tony Rutherford approached me to join Dial a CFO and briefed me on a Client engagement.
I was interviewed for my current role - it is a senior role in a large family owned retail operation doing $60M plus turnover. My role is a part time (3 days a week) CFO position working with 2 shareholders who are the Managing Director and the Finance Director and a third independent Director to focus the management team on addressing commercial issues on a project basis.
The current arrangement is for 12 months which suits me fine but if it were shortened or extended that would not unduly worry me. The pleasure in the role for me has been that I am not responsible for the more “mundane” (for want of a better word) aspects of the finance area but have been involved at the more strategic level re the current and future focus of the organisation and the resolution of the issues with relevant stakeholders.
I have learned a lot about an industry I had little experience in and I know I have been able to bring my own skills to the table in all sorts of areas and have added value along the way. I know that my presence in the role has strengthened the reach of the financial disciplines in the operation and assisted the major shareholder in having someone independent review his plans at a fraction of the cost of a senior person from an independent accounting practice. The Dial support framework is but a phone call away and Tony maintains contact with both me and the Client ensuring that the engagement remains on track."
"I have been in credit management for over 30 years based in Europe and New Zealand covering operations, sales, software and managing teams. I have assisted more than 30 companies improve their credit management functions operating from both an operational and strategic perspective.
Soon after joining Dial, I was approached to perform a credit management review for a large utility company. After two interviews, I was hired and set about identifying problems and pinpointing solutions which were tabled with and accepted by the Client. Thereafter, I set about implementing the agreed change program.
During this process, I worked through some challenging dynamics within the Client credit function however they are now meeting and exceeding their KPIs which I set and this has created an ideal platform for the Client to recruit for the role on a permanent basis.
It is important as an interim executive that a strong team exists in the background to help where moral support or technical guidance is required. Dial has this well sorted and this contributed to my success on this engagement."
"My most recent Dial assignment exposed me to a business being groomed for a significant commercial transaction in an industry experiencing major competitive pressures - an inability to react quickly 'to the numbers', topped off with an offshore Parent that had disengaged. I noted that the business had well-developed management reporting processes and tools but the finance team was not leading the response through appropriate interpretation of the reports they were producing – a case of 'paralysis by analysis'.
The assignment covered the usual CFO level work; the thorny IFRS issues with the audit partners, the short timeframes to produce a suite of management reports. The highlight for me was to cut through the reporting and re-focus the Finance team on measuring the right metrics while guiding the executive team through an iterative decision making process relating to the commercial transaction.
As an interim resource in their business, I knew I needed to complete the assignment and exit with minimal disruption - the handover needed tact but also urgency. We could point to tangible benefits for the client and left with an open door for future Dial engagement."