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Case Study – Interim CFO creates structures and processes in a Nordic service company

Background

A service company with foreign owners and about 10,000 employees in the Nordic went into crisis and the CFO left the same day. This was during a period of budget processes and board meetings. There was an urgent need for an experienced CFO. Nordic Interim was given the task of supporting the company by finding the right Interim Manager to manage the finance function.

The owners’ mission was clear: increase the quality of the monthly reporting, create structure and quality in the reporting and complete several projects started until a new CFO is recruited.

The interim CFO that was involved had experience as CFO for two listed companies and a seasoned interim manager. From the customer’s first contact with Nordic Interim until the interim CFO was in place two weeks passed. The same week, she participated in several internal board meetings, followed by an external board meeting the following week where the budget was to be presented.

Results

The ongoing projects were completed, as well as several new projects that appeared along the way. Procedures for monthly reports, liquidity planning and segment reporting were improved and a project for a new liquidity planning tool was soon in port. Everything was well documented, from email addresses to monthly processes and financial statements to facilitate the new permanent CFO. To get the new CFO up and running fast, the interim CFO and the new CFO worked in parallel for some time.

The Interim Managers Reflections

“In an interim assignment, there is a clear start and a clear end, where some sub-projects will be carried out for a limited time. My experiences from other companies gave me the right to ask questions and make suggestions for changes, the acceptance to be more tough was greater. In a time-limited mission, I can make things happen, not just to be nice! Instead, I can invest in my closest co-workers who will do the job. They should be briefed, supported and given priority assistance.”

“The CEO introduced me internally and externally and was clear that I was an interim CFO, which made it easier for me to get up and running quickly. In most cases, there is a lot of speculation about internal politics, but since the employees know that I would not stay, they did not have to worry about acting for their gain but understood that I was doing what was best for the company. They listened to me and I could more easily succeed with changes and run projects that others did not have time for.”

“Instead of a solid introduction program, my calendar was empty, and I was able to start working day 1. Being able to handle people – being open, curious, fearless and being able to make the necessary contacts yourself – is a prerequisite. The most difficult thing is to understand the culture, you have to be observant and ask a lot of questions.”

“My client also brought in an interim manager in a subsidiary. It is a great way to get things done, especially in large projects while seeking a permanent role holder. Personally, I appreciate being able to give all I have some time, although it is sometimes quite intense.”