S-NET Communications, Inc.
GOAL: Quadruple revenue and increase operating profit margin from 6% to 20%.
ACTION: CFO Options supported this company’s organic growth by helping establish quotas and variable compensation plans for existing and additional sales positions, for a new director of sales and for account managers growing the revenue from existing customers.
Further, we built a strategic plan and financial model that demonstrated that the entrepreneur needed to also grow by acquisition to achieve his growth goal. Bringing our experience in identifying, analyzing, financing and closing on the acquisition of small to lower middle market businesses without audited financials, CFO Options helped this company close and finance two acquisitions at very low multiples of incremental EBITDA and roughly $2.2M of additional annual revenue.
RESULTS: Increased enterprise value by nearly $8M by helping them find and close on acquisitions at low multiples of incremental EBITDA and with a cash outlay of only $400,000 preserving cash for future acquisitions.
FastModel Sports, a SaaS provider
Having just completed a large layoff to right size the business including the CFO, the company goal was to grow revenue and profit without any significant increase in staffing costs and to provide more timely, accurate and actionable reports and analyses to the new President and the Board. Additionally, the company sought to stay cash positive through the end of the non-selling season each year (which had not previously been achieved.)
With a CFO Options team of an accountant, a controller and a CFO, we:
- Took over revenue recognition
- Developed a new tool to analyze time and costs for the capitalization of software development costs
- Updated and streamlined cash forecasting and management tool
- Created a new budget and forecasting format that included segregating operating expenses by department
- Developed new sales pacing reports
- Developed attrition reports by product and customer channel
- Annual profit increased significantly pre-CFO Options to post
- Successful CPA audit of financials including revenue recognition and capitalized software development
- Board approved budget and operating plan for 2020 and 2021 which in turn led to increased profitability and significant increase in revenue for 2022 meeting the Board’s ARR (annual recurring revenue) to market the business for sale
- Attained 2 PPP loans each necessary to keep the business moving forward; successful forgiveness of first loan.
- Clear sales and attrition reporting as compared to plan and prior year allowing for better sales management and visibility to Board and investment banker as to progress increasing revenue to target ARR for sale of business
- Accelerated monthly close process
- Streamlined and consolidated monthly Board reporting
10 to 20 Million Dollar Service Provider
CHALLENGE: New ownership wanted to triple its revenue without decreasing Gross Profit Margin. The company had grown into a $10-$20M company over 7 years and, under. New owners were also looking for a big increase in EBITDA. The company also had to deal with the need to spend significant amounts of cash to generate, on board and start the process of bringing in cash from the new revenue. Several million dollars of additional financing, preferably debt, was needed to execute this plan. Further, the company’s finance and accounting team was both small and lacked the experience needed to meet these challenges.
ACTION: CFO Options was engaged to support the finance department’s mission to find the required debt-financing, to improve its financial forecasting, budgeting and reporting to the CEO and the new board of directors and to help the department continue to support the entire organization with minimal increases in staff.
RESULTS: Secured the several million-dollar line of credit they sought by working with a local commercial bank which CFO Options brought in to the deal. The terms of this loan also allowed the company to pay off a seller note several months early saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest.
S-NET Communications, Inc.
CHALLENGE: This company was seeing top line growth of 20-25% for 2-3 years, but the co-founder/CEO was frustrated by the lack of growth in his profits and cash in the bank.
ACTION: CFO Options helped them grow gross profit margin by over 40% by analyzing the gross profit margin of the company’s key product lines. This was accomplished by focusing their sales efforts on the highest margin products and working to decrease cost of goods sold on all significant product lines.
Establishing and measuring actual performance against budget, we helped them significantly reduce the increase in overhead spending which had been growing nearly in direct proportion to revenue.
RESULTS: After 3½ years, this company’s revenue doubled, its operating profit margin increased by 360%, its Gross Profit Margin grew by 53% and its cash grew by over $1 Million.
Growing Service Provider
CHALLENGE: The company had several people using separate overly complicated forecasting tools. This situation led to unnecessary time being spent by multiple people trying to answer the same question and then reconciling between two or more forecasts.
ACTION: With the combined resources of a CFO and a financial analyst, we re-engineered one of the core forecasting tools. This included a focus on the key inputs, assumptions and outputs.
RESULTS: The company had a more usable, more accurate and quicker-to-update modeling tool with which they could project both accrual and cash revenue and EBITDA for years into the future.
CHALLENGE: This 5-year old company took on a venture capital partner which required the company to provide quarterly accrual-based financials to the board and to have an annual financial audit., The VC firm also required an annual budget which they expected would show increases in revenue and ultimately, if not sooner, significant increases in EBITDA. The company’s accounting records were maintained by its office manager on a cash basis, and there was no budget or budget process.
ACTION: Bringing a combination of a CFO and Controller to the engagement, CFO Options helped them convert to accrual-based financials, create annual budgets and quarterly reporting to the board.
RESULTS: The company’s financials from cash to accrual. The company filed both s-corp and c-corp tax returns in the year of conversion on time and completed its first ever financial audit without issue or delay. They started working with and reporting compared to a budget with a Cost of Goods Sold section, Gross Profit and Gross Profit Margin (%) and four departments which allowed the founder/CEO and the board to better understand the company’s gross margin and how its actual overhead compared to prior year and budget.
Within a few months of starting, we responded to a City of Chicago request for Sales & Use Tax Returns going back to the company’s inception. With the largest liability related to the City’s “cloud tax” we applied for and received a new/small business exemption and used it until the age of the company made the exemption obsolete. We also implemented a system to make monthly payments to the City, as required by the City, and to analyze all potential vendor payments for the need to include on the City returns.
Going into 2020, this company is poised to see its revenue having 500% since the year the venture capital investment was made and its EBITDA increasing by millions of dollars in that same period of time.
Software as a Service Startup
CHALLENGE: The firm’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer who had been in charge of finance and accounting since its inception in 5 years earlier, despite having little experience in those fields, sought help with budgeting, forecasting, switching to GAAP financial reporting, having a financial audit completed, submitting more informative and more standard monthly and quarterly financial reporting to its new investors and lender and also wanted help making better financial decisions.
ACTION: A CFO Options CFO stepped in to help in these areas: converting from cash to accrual accounting, monthly reporting, business insurance, financial audit, budgeting and cash forecasting.
- Year end 2018 financials were converted from cash to accrual.
- Monthly financials starting with January 2019 were prepared according to GAAP.
- Monthly and quarterly financial reporting to the investors and lender prepared by CFO Options received positive reaction from the investors.
- Business Insurance renewed using a new, more proactive and helpful agent introduced by CFO Options with most of the burden for completion of the applications and expiring workers’ compensation insurance audits handled by CFO Options.
- An auditor, interviewed and recommended by CFO Options, was engaged to audit starting with 2019 saving significant work and money as compared to starting with 2018 or a review of 2018 which were provided no additional value.
- In the process of converting financials from cash to accrual and preparing for the audit of the opening 2019 balance sheet, significant issues were tackled including: revenue recognition, capitalization of internally developed software and compensation from stock grants and options.
- A new budget, forecast and income statement format was established allowing for reporting of expenses against budget, forecast and/or prior period by department.
Technology Service Provider
SITUATION: Upon starting this engagement, Larry quickly realized the company had a low profit margin and untapped opportunities to increase it. He challenged himself and others: can we increase both gross profits and operating cash flow?
Larry did in depth analyses and reviews of the profitability by customer, by service and by region. He also looked at the internal operations for opportunities to increase productivity and reduce costs.
A host of positive results were realized as a result of Larry’s actions, including:
- Operating cash flow tripled driven by:
- Saving $1 million per year by implementing the closure of an unproductive territory.
- Increasing employee productivity, which generated a 20% reduction in non-revenue producing roles and a savings of $800,000 per year.
- Expanding the sales staff by 700% using the savings from other initiatives to fund the expansion.
- Increasing the productivity of the sales support department 700%, allowing the team to generate quotes for 7 times as many salespeople.
The company was spending thousands of dollars per month on a CPA firm to perform basic accounting tasks. Larry saw an opportunity – could the company’s accounting needs be more efficiently and less expensively handled by building an internal centralized accounting department?
Further, the company was on the verge of acquiring many operations. This issue, while expensive but manageable for a single operation, was set to overwhelm the company as it grew.
With Larry’s help, the company saved $400,000 per year.
A company facing ongoing operational losses was struggling to bring itself to breakeven, or better, and finding the cash to keep itself going. How could this cash poor and unprofitable business turn itself around?
The steps Larry took not only helped the company identify where losses were occurring but also had significant influence on how it would move forward. This became abundantly clear when he:
- Helped the company breakeven on an accrual basis within two weeks.
- Ceased using factored receivables as a source of capital within three months.