Situation

The owners of a closely held financial services firm wanted to sell the company. But first they needed to improve the company’s financial performance by strengthening their finance team and investing in critical systems and process improvements. These improvements would provide access to the data necessary to manage company performance with the goal of supporting a higher valuation in a sale.

Solution

A NextLevel team member was engaged in an advisory role to work closely with the owners and company executives to perform an assessment, make recommendations, and execute those recommendations. The first change was to realign finance department staff responsibilities necessary to best utilize the planning and analysis capabilities of each team member. The strengthened finance team was then able to do better cash management and reporting, which led to improved cash flow. The NextLevel team member also helped provide process improvements on a range of finance processes. In addition, he assisted in the development of a corporate plan and budget, which included defining priorities at the corporate and department level, as well as establishing a process for tracking progress and making adjustments. In the course of this work, he was also able to provide a definition of system interfaces and upgrades that were needed.

Results

As a result of more focused reporting, broader accountability for financial results, and improved finance processes, the owners were more effectively able to manage the performance of the business. The company demonstrated lower operating costs and ability to actively manage spending, which enabled it to deliver EBITDA margin of 10 percent in line with their target. The improved and more predictable financial performance provided the owners with greater visibility of the company’s value drivers, and valuable leverage toward a sale process that eventually led to a management buyout and employee ownership structure.

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