Three years ago, a global manufacturing company needed a Financial Controller to cover a period of prolonged absence. Tracy Lewis from the EFM network was hired for the three-month contract. Tracy is a very experienced Financial Controller with 20 years in industry and lectures in Finance and Management.
During the contract, Tracy collated and presented the monthly financials to the Managing Director with commentary, highlighting material differences between the actual results and the budget, and explaining their significance. The Managing Director had never had a commentary of the company’s financials and immediately recognised the benefits and value of this information – which he could use to make informed business decisions. At the end of the three months, Tracy’s contract was extended in a supervisory role to review and write new processes for presenting the company’s financial data.
After successfully implementing the new processes and supervising them for a further two years – during which a new accounting system was introduced – Tracy was asked to recruit and handover to a permanent replacement Financial Controller. Tracy’s contract ended before the handover to the new Financial Controller could be completed, but she kept in touch with the company.
The new Financial Controller found it difficult to cope, leaving the post after only nine months. Another new Financial Controller was hired by the company but they omitted to provide the monthly financial review that the Managing Director had become accustomed to. The situation was further compounded by errors to the quarterly financials which had been noticed by head office.
During a call with Tracy, the situation was discussed, particularly the errors picked up by head office. Tracy identified the likely reason for these was due to incorrect processes being followed. It was agreed that Tracy should investigate by meeting the Financial Controller and reviewing the situation. She would then write a report and present her recommendations on how they could best proceed to the Board of Directors.
On completing the review and report, Tracy implemented actions to reintroduce the original processes and remove some conflicting responsibilities, allowing the Financial Controller more time to complete the monthly financial reports. These reports were then reinstated, giving the Managing Director the regular monthly financial commentary that he had found so useful.
Case Study: Tracy Lewis