The Founders of a SaaS startup were experiencing what we call “Founder’s remorse.” They were handling all operational, finance, and compliance work themselves, including financial reporting to the Board and Investors. The major underlying issue was that they never had a viable plan for managing this side of the business.
Goals and Challenges
When the company engaged the CFO Advisory Services team at Prager Metis, they said that their Board and Investors were not happy with the reporting. The reporting was not nearly as comprehensive and informative as it should be, which made it difficult for the Board and Investors to advise the Company or have any confidence in the Company’s reported financial results.
The Company’s initial request was to fix their reporting, which led to additional services that would put the startup on firm financial footing. Which lead to advising them establishing two operating subsidiaries in the US and one subsidiary in the UK.
The first step for Prager Metis CFO Advisory Services was to perform an assessment of the Company’s reporting structure and practices and bring them into tax compliance. The short-term game plan focused on working with Management and responsible parties within the organization to determine what information was needed and how to obtain it in a nimble way. Jumping through hoops every time you need data is unsustainable.
For example, we needed to understand how opening two US subsidiaries and one UK subsidiary would affect the company’s reporting and plan accordingly. Nimbleness in finding the best path forward is essential.
Once these entities were established, the medium-term game plan included the implementation of a reliable closing process. Financial reporting has been elevated from a basic reporting package to a comprehensive ERP, with full reporting of the US and UK subsidiaries. Prager Metis UK is managing back-office accounting, reporting, and compliance in the UK.
Of course, hiccups are inevitable. The company is being audited, and we’re able to engage with auditors effectively because of the reporting systems we’ve implemented. We also performed a number of other important financial and operational tasks, including:
· Setting up HR platforms for health insurance, benefits, 401K, etc.
· Bidding out cybersecurity services
· Renegotiating their facility’s lease
· Renegotiating their banking relationship
Today, as a long-term client, the company requires ongoing monitoring and communication as part of the long-term planning and maintenance phase. Although we’re always looking at insurance, the banking relationship is solid. Now, the company is dealing with “good problems,” like evaluating an Investor who wants to invest $10 million in the company because he believes in it.
Results and Lessons Learned
This is a classic Fractional CFO assignment. Instead of a full-time transitional CFO or a part-time CFO who comes in once a month for closing and financial statement preparation, Prager Metis CFO Advisory Services is part of the team. We sit at the same side of the table as the client and take a consultative approach to help leadership understand what they need to make informed decisions and achieve their goals.
Startups often learn that you can have the greatest intellectual property in the world, but you still need the engines that support operations and strategic growth – reliable reporting, a solid Board, and smart Investors who can make strategic introductions. In fact, this company has partnered with Institutional Investors from very large hedge funds that are providing the funds and management support they need.
The new systems that have been put in place are being maintained by our team and will grow as the company grows. The company continues to build new client relationships as it operates with a strong, stable financial foundation.
If you’d like to discuss how Prager Metis CFO Advisory Services can help your organization implement and maintain systems that support long-term sustained growth, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.