A modern CFO will often be on a similar pay-scale to the CEO (although often reduced equity)
They will be driving strategy, raising money and talking up the value, explain performance to shareholders and banks, negotiate possible acquisitions etc
In some ways they have as much or more to add for the shareholders as the CEO, which can lead to tension between CEO and finance
The Controller therefore has to take on the Operational Finance Director role. Some or a large part of this team may be outsourced as has a “standardised accounting process”. The significance of this role is not always rewarded by Finance Director equity as does not report to CEO.
Both could be seen as CEO and CFO in waiting.
Typical CFO organizational structure CFO Corp Development IR and Strategy Group Controller Finance & Planning Legal Tax and Treasury Invoicing Control and Transaction processing Planning Projects (systems Implementation etc)
sometimes planning and invoicing under CEO directly
additionally “transaction processing/ shared service” may be split from control
often significant project work particularly systems
Why so many people when only 3 priorities:
Invoicing => Often companies provide non standard terms and conditions as a rule rather than exception. This is difficult to manage in most billing systems.
Monthly management reporting => Group Finance and Planning. Finance is assessed by the quality and speed of its management reports. Often issues with significant offline reporting in excel including Consolidation.
Collection of outstanding receivables => Group Finance. Cash is king.
… need the people because there will always be conflicting time consuming projects needing Control input
Complex legal entity, tax structure, transfer pricing, VAT compliance,
System implementations (including BI and Workflow) –”help” from IT
Shared service, preferred supplier lists, payment terms, ”business” language
Audit (including internal and interim)
Recruitment and stabilisation
Due diligence – centralised contracts, key management/
Strong documentation, procedures, policies, support for G/L
Rationalise chart of accounts, sensible account structures
Effective internal communication – number of meetings, email usage
Rationalise and Group management of all entity bank accounts
Balance of team Cost reports Expense claims Supplier payments Budgets, forecasts Mgt team Board reports Group Analysis CEO/CFO/Shareholders Local compliance Statutory audit Local needs Too small for office Manager and accountant Language issues Group or Shared Service Local Joint ventures Financial Analysis
Lack of integrated systems Changes in cost centres or revenue lines of business through restructuring causes significant re-work New acquisitions or disposals Time consuming lengthy budgeting/ re- forecasting and audit process Not enough thought in budget or actual process to match budget vs actual – defined rules Invoicing process very manual Payroll process not sufficient detail to analyse by employee Lack of integrated banking to trace receipts/ payments Help, finance is sinking IT department does not want to help
Group Controller Typical standard processes
Typical close process
Receive input from legal entities by close of play (workday 4)
Consolidate the companies by morning of (workday 7)
Slide deck first draft (workday 8)
CFO review (workday 9)
CEO review (workday 10)
Cost centre reports and review with Mangement team (workday 11)
Chairman review (workday 11)
Board slides submitted (workday 12)
Main risk areas
Quality received from entities on workday 4.
Any major changes need ”re-consolidation”
Split of transaction processing and control
Management reporting from legal entities
P&L – revenue, staff costs and external cost explanation of absolute and variance
Cash flow –funds from interco, cash receipts from customers and payments to vendors, other –specify
Bal sheet – analysis of major balances, full bank account details
P&l, bal sheet and cash flow – trended in euros and local and variance to plan in euros
DSO calc and comments
Analysis of accruals and provisions
Analysis of prepayments
Analysis of interco
Copy of journals for month
Transaction processing Shared Service function
Summary of Activities Handling by transaction processing:
Accounts Payable Process
Accounts Receivable Process
Dunning Letters Process
Preparation of MIS Reports
P&L Cost Centre-wise Analysis
Accounts Payable Process:
Accounts team receives the invoices by post or mail
Accounts team stamped on the invoice with the date of receipt and send to respective departments for approval ideally through workflow
Once obtained the approvals, invoices will be given an unique number and forwarded to shared service centre for entry to finance system
If Invoice received against a new vendor, shared service function will send a mail to Finance System Administrator to setup the new vendor
Accounts Payable Process-Payment Run:
Shared Service team needs to prepare Accounts Payables Ageing Report, to identify the payments to be made in the Payment Run. Payment Run will take place on alternate Thursday.
Control identifies the payment to be made, vendor-wise and sends to Shared Service team.
Shared Service team will upload the payment entries in finance system and into on-line banking to complete the payment process.
After performing the Payment process, Shared Service team will send a mail to Signatories to approve the payments made into on-line banking.
Accounts Receivable Process - Receipts:
Shared Service Team has been provided with the on-line access to all bank accounts.
Each bank receipt contains the invoice number and Shared Service Team identifies the customer based on invoice number, entry will be accounted into the finance system.
Receipt amount will adjust to the invoice amount. Control team verifies the entries and post into finance system.
Accounts Receivable Process - Dunning Letters:
Dunning Letters process is following by Shared Service team based on the customers, whose payment is past due date.
Shared Service Team prepares the letters manually and send them to Control for signature.
After completion of signature and approval process, Shared Service Team send letters along with statement copy via E-mail or post.
If any queries relates to letters or statements, Shared Service Team will follow up with the customers and resolve them.
Bank Reconciliation Process:
All the Bank accounts to be Reconciled by Shared Service team on every Friday.
India team is provided to access all the bank accounts on-line.
All receipt entries will be booked by AR Executive and all payment entries will be booked by AP Executive, of the bank statement.
AP Executive is responsible to prepare the Bank Reconciliation.
If any unknown entries in the bank statement, AP Executive will upload the details into QUERY file and send to Control to resolve the same.
Shared Service Team prepares the journal entries for prepayments, expense provisions and revenue accruals, based on the data provided by Control team.
Once journal entry booked into the finance system, the Control team verifies the same and posts.
Inter Company entries will be updated by Shared Service team, based on the invoices received from other entities ONLY in reported currency. The same will be reconciled and will follow up with other entities for the differences.
Once Trial Balance finalized for the month, Shared Service team will prepare the Reporting Package in Group format and send to Control for approval.