BLACK SHELL FINANCE
CEO's and Boards often have projects that they prefer to conduct totally independent and in a confidential manner, without any staff or advisers knowing. Also matters of a sensitive nature that need to be discussed / actioned.
CFO's in companies are the driving force for ensuring the financial support and growth is optimised, obstacles are eliminated and ROI is increased - but in a lot of cases sufficient time is not allocated to this task due to the pressures of the position. This is where BSF support can be very strategically brought in to assist and it is a variable resource that can be accessed as and when needed.
The resource may be for a particular Project or area of work, that frees up the CFO.
Projects could include:
- Leading the Implementation of an ERP system
- Project managing the finances and costs for construction of a new head office building
- Leading the writing of PD's with the HR department
- Leading the implementation of a new standard costing system
- Leading the completion of the Statutory accounts
- Leading the renewal of the Insurance Program
Each of the above are contained segment projects that can be quickly summarised to the CFO and sign off attained as milestones are completed.
CEO's need to re-assess their staffing organisational structure when the company is expanding or contracting and this can often lead to conflicts - by engaging BSF, an independent, the potential bias is eliminated and logical final discussion draft can be presented for finalisation
Most companies experience creditors defaulting / escaping paying their debts by going into administration. These can be voluntary or otherwise and the liquidators can perform the function on a "friendly" or not basis.
Where the process is scripted so that the company gets to escape paying debts and the company is wound up - these company owners walk away from creditors.
CEO's need to investigate these debts escaping very carefully, because most of the time our court system is bias towards the liquidators, because their prime purpose is to keep the company operating and NOT to pay creditors.
CEO's should fully investigate debt recoverability by :
- investigating preferential creditor payments
- following the activities of the owners of the company being liquidated to see if they start up other ventures and have a history of walking away from debts
- look for phoenix activity and asset stripping
CASH IS KING
Ensure your company has the cash resources to survive by examining the total finance structures, covenant provisions and internal monitoring reporting system.
CEO's and Boards tend not to pay the attention they should to the above, but especially in todays climate cash is very much "king" and it is the only thing that can save a company when the economy and finance sources tighten up.
CEO's need to have this as the no. 1 agenda point and the information should cover:
- Cash flow for current month and rolling 12 months
- Summary of all financing sources and trend movements for previous year, YTD, month and rolling 12 months
- Summary reports for leverage, liquidity and net worth
- Summary of covenants
It must be remembered that the Annual Financial Statements of the company are the Directors report to shareholders and its ownership rests with the Directors, so do not let the auditors run the structure of these statements or the structure of the audit engagement scope.
The CEO and Board need to review in detail the scope before signing it off - this is NOT an area that is left with the CFO.
When the Audit Opinion is drafted make sure that it is vetted for supported accuracy and checked by legal counsel. If there are issues raied on qualification or matters railed in the long form report, ensure that the company's case is fully detailed in the notes to the accounts - the company has final say on what is in the notes to the accounts and the auditors do not.