[Case study] ‘I could finally focus on my job as CEO’

30th January 2019

In  my last blog, I started telling you about one of our clients, IMMJ Systems, which decided to professionalise its financial management.

I explained that it made the decision, because it was preparing for swift growth – and understood that proper financial systems and processes would make it easier to scale smoothly.

What I didn’t have time to tell you, was how lacking proper financial systems impacted the CEO personally.

His story might be familiar, because I have heard similar tales from so many company owners over the years….

Just 12 months ago, the company’s accounts were being handled by an in-house bookkeeper.

It was all rather basic.

“I had to review a lot of the work and do a lot of it myself,” says Michael van de Weg, the CEO.

“I don’t have an accounting background – it was very time consuming and we still had to pay an accounting firm money to review what had been done again. And they always had a lot of questions….

“It took a lot of time from me and distracted me from other areas I had to look after.”

That is a burden most CEOs of growing companies cannot shoulder.

The company depends on you to develop the vision and priorities it needs, to continue pushing forward.

If you are drawn too deep into day-to-day operational issues, you can’t do your real job as CEO, which is setting strategy and direction.

It is annoying and frustrating to be constantly working on areas you know are better handled by others, and which do not push the business forward.

But the lack of financial management had another personal cost, as well.

As CEO, you need to be confident in your decisions and confident that you are taking the company in the right direction.

That is difficult to do, when you don’t have a clear view of your company’s finances – for example, what your cashflow looks like and which parts of the business are most profitable.

Yet that’s the kind of information you usually get from a finance department, not from a bookkeeper or an accountant.

According to Michael, trying to grow the company without that deep financial insight sometimes felt like “flying blind”. And that is deeply unsettling for any CEO.

Understanding that a change was in order, Michael approached us just over a year ago, to help IMMJ implement the kind of financial management larger companies take for granted.

We took over all the work done by the bookkeeper and accounting firm.

But we also instituted rigorous financial controls, regular cashflow reports and management reports, and worked with Michael, to help him understand the financial information he receives – and make sure it is useful to him.

I explained the impact of all of this on the business last week. The company is now better equipped to handle the growth it is expecting in the coming months.

But there has been an impact on Michael personally, as well.

“It has freed up a lot of my time, enabling me to focus on other areas of the business, knowing that the financial area is totally taken care of.

“It has also allowed me to scale the business with much more confidence.”

For example, the executive directors felt able to hire additional employees because they had good financial forecasts in hand, which clearly showed that the company could afford them long-term.

They also felt happier raising money and deploying it, knowing that the company’s financial model was solid and that they could handle growth.

If that’s the kind of transformation you’re looking for as well, we need to talk.

We can help you professionalise your financial management, not only helping your company scale – but making your role as CEO less stressful, more pleasant and easier to perform with confidence.

Get in touch today, to enquire about how we can help you. I’ll get back to you right away.

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