A service company with foreign owners and approximately 10 000 employees in the Nordic countries ended up in a crisis situation as the CFO from one day to another during a period of budget processes and board meetings. An acute need of an experienced CFO emerged. Nordic Interim was assigned to support the company in finding the right Interim Manager to lead the finance function
The demand from the owner was clear: increase the quality of the monthly reporting, create structures and quality of the reports, and complete a number of started projects until a new CFO was recruited.
The interim CFO that was engaged had experiences from two listed company and was used to work as an interim. Within two weeks from the first contact with Nordic Interim, the interim CFO was up and running. The same week as she started, she attented several internal board meetings followed by an external board meeting where the budget was being presented.
The ongoing projects were completed, as well as several other projects that turned up along the way. Routines for monthly reports, liquidity planning, and segment planning was improved, and a project for implementing a new liquidity planning tool was completed. Everything was documented, from e-mail addresses to monthly processes and financial statements to support the new permanent CFO. To get the new CFO up and running quickly, the interim and permanent CFO worked in parallel during a period.
Reflections by the interim CFO
“In an interim assignment, there is a clear start and a clear end, where a number of sub-projects must be carried out for a limited time. My experience from other companies gave me the mandate to ask questions and come up with suggestions for changes, and the acceptance of me taking tough decisions was greater. In a time-limited mission, I can make things happen, not just be nice! Instead, I can invest time in my closest employees who do the job. They should be briefed, supported and helped to prioritize.
I was presented by the CEO both internally and externally and was clear about that I was an interim CFO, which made it easier for me to get started quickly and accelerate the pace. In normal cases, there is a lot of speculations and internal politics, but since the employees knew that I would not stay, they did not have to worry about me working for my own gain, but understood that I did what was best for the company. They listened to me and I could easily succeed with the changes and run the projects that others did not have time for.
Instead of having to go through a thorough onboarding program, my calendar was empty and I could get going at once. The ability to handle people – be open, curious, unafraid, and to take the necessary contacts – is a prerequisite for success. The hardest thing is to understand the culture, you have to observe and listen.
My client also hired an interim for one of the subsidaries. It is a very good way to make things happen, especially in large projects during the time you look for a new permanent employee. Personally, I appreciate to work very hard during a period, even though it is very intense some times.”