Step 1: Are we a fit for each other?
Our first objective is to determine if we will be a good fit working together. We do this through a combination of subjective and objective steps, including:
- An introductory phone call
- A self-assessment form, completed by your team
- An introductory meeting where we learn more about each other and discuss the results of the self-assessment form in detail
- In most cases, an opportunity to go through our extensive “CFO GAP Analysis” diagnostic assessment (note: there is a nominal charge for this)
- A detailed findings review meeting and report which includes our recommendations
At this point, you will receive our complete written assessment and recommendations, which you can choose to self-implement, or request a proposal if you’d like to work with us.
Step 2: Working with Michigan CFO Associates
After you’ve received the findings of our “CFO GAP Analysis” and have requested a proposal, we will provide you with an Engagement Letter that outlines the priorities we discussed in the findings review meeting. Once the Engagement Letter has been executed, we set a kickoff date and begin!
At that point we follow this general delivery process:
Phase 1 -- Set Up / Clean Up
In this phase, we begin by working through the issues identified in the “CFO GAP Analysis” and the objectives outlined in the Engagement Letter. Some examples of Phase 1 objectives might include:
- redesigning/regrouping financial statement layouts for improved clarity
- reviewing accounting processes for accuracy and consistency
- creating a budget or forecast
- creating forward-looking cash forecasts and plans
- reviewing gross margins by revenue source
- evaluating accounting staff capabilities and capacity
Phase 1 usually lasts about 2-4 months and generally requires approximately twice the effort of the ongoing engagement (Phase 2). For example, if the ongoing engagement is expected to be 1 day per week, Phase 1 may be 2 days per week in order to get through the Set Up / Clean Up process in a timely manner.
Phase 2 -- Monthly CFO Support (Ongoing)
In Phase 2, we transition from the initial Set Up / Clean Up phase to the ongoing engagement which provides the monthly deliverables outlined in the Engagement Letter. Typically, this would include the following items:
Financial Reporting Package -- Michigan CFO Associates works with the client to create a comprehensive reporting package that provides CLARITY on how the business is performing. The reporting package typically includes an Executive Summary, relevant and useful Financial Statements, a rolling P&L forecast, and a selection of meaningful charts and graphs of KPIs. The reporting package is thoroughly reviewed before being delivered to the client and key issues and focal points are identified in the Executive Summary for the client to pay special attention to.
Review Meetings -- Michigan CFO Associates will schedule a monthly Financial Review meeting with the client to go through the Financial Reporting Package, call attention to key issues, and address any decisions that need to be made. This meeting will keep the management team clear on the company’s current financial performance as well as on track for achieving the targets identified in the forecasting process. Additionally, Quarterly Financial Review meetings may be attended by a Managing Partner of Michigan CFO Associates to provide an additional perspective on issues facing the client.
Projection Updates -- As significant assumptions change, Michigan CFO Associates maintains and updates the financial forecast to assist with both internal planning (profit, cash flow, capital investment) as well as external planning (tax planning from the CPA, capital planning with the bank, etc.).
Strategic Planning -- As our CFOs get to know your business, they become a valuable resource in the overall strategic planning process. An objective, knowledgeable outsider can often see blind spots that internal people may miss. Pricing strategies, growth initiatives, personnel issues, and exit strategies are just some of the terrain that an experienced CFO can help you navigate.
Staff Training & Support -- Providing both leadership and mentoring to internal accounting staff will grow their skills, increase their engagement and job satisfaction, and make them more valuable team members to the organization. Most internal accounting people welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with an experienced leader to see “the plan,” ask technical questions, and feel part of the team.
Michigan CFO Associates is a Professional Firm focused exclusively on providing experienced financial leadership to 2nd stage companies on an outsourced basis. Through specialization in Management Accounting and a unique, pragmatic approach, we bring clarity to entrepreneurs and transform decision making from reactionary to intentional. Michigan CFO creates long-term business value by empowering entrepreneurs to grow to the next level in a healthy way – at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO.