Case Study

Interim CFO Restructures a Fast Growing German IT Services Start-up Company

As an Interim CFO in a SaaS Scale up with only four days of transmission, the role of the Interim Executive shifted more towards a COO task given the urgent implementation of an ERP (NetSuite) with about 5000 monthly new contracts to file and invoice.

By Dirk Niederberghaus

The Client

Our client is a German Start-Up, founded in 2016, marked by a tremendous worldwide scale up since 2020, due to its software offering supporting Home Offices during the Covid19 pandemic. Backed by well known international investors and just having restructered their C-level management, the company grew more than 100% YoY in billings to 40+ m€ and in addition, to a worldwide (DE, US, HK, CN) headcount to 250+ FTEs.

The Challenge 

The Interim CFO was to take on his role at short notice after the current CFO left the company: initially, for a longer sabbatical, and additionally, he had decided at short notice to take parental leave following the sabbatical. Due to the lack of time, no structured transmission process could be implemented by the company for a successor for the CFO role.

Management of the fast growing Start-up decided to setup their organization on a more strategic basis by implementing a standard ERP system – without having in view the necessity to get prepared their teams as well as their processes before the actual implementation.

The Interim Executive was to jump into the job with the following key focus:

To keep running the finance department including a team of eight international junior Finance MBAs all of them having a very poor accounting & controlling track record when it came to day-to-day-experiences, the Interim CFO ‘holding the leash’ until the new CFO would arrive.     

The Solution

Managing the situation by implementing an experienced hands-on CFO with extensive knowledge in setting up Start-Ups and implementing ERP in these environments, the critical issues – mainly processes in ERP and reporting - could be stabilized.

Along the business processes a step-by-step solution was established:

The Results 

After five months of intensive hands-on work, ERP processes are stabilized and known, teams in sales & operations are integrated into ERP processes and new products can be implemented in ERP.

Management and shareholders are by then aware of workflow impacts on the ERP system – a new structure for operations including order management will be established. The new permanent CFO role will thus be able to concentrate himself & the Finance Team on classical CFO functions like accounting, auditing, inter-company relations, and reporting.  

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