RWB | Consulting | CFO       2014 to Present

 

Value Proposition

Small to medium-sized firms can now receive the same CFO-Level insights as their larger competitors!

 

Working together with the Owner, CEO, and/or Board of Directors, I take on the role of Business Consultant, Fractional CFO, Interim CFO, or simply "as needed" CFO for privately-held firms or P/E portfolio companies.

 

Drawing on years of experience as the CFO for a mid-sized engineering consulting firm, I bring expertise in ERP and accounting systems, business process improvements, KPI analysis, ownership transition, risk management/insurance, personnel management, company policies, and overall Best Practices in order to make firms more profitable and sustainable.

This is critical to the long-term success of firms that want to grow, or just be more profitable at their current size.

 

Sampling of Service Offerings

 

ESOP/Ownership Transition Issues                          Income Statement Analysis                         Human Resources

ERP/Accounting Systems Implementation              Balance Sheet Analysis                                 Benefits & Compensation               

Mergers & Acquisitions                                              Business Process Improvements                 Seminars to Employees

Strategic Planning                                                        P&L Forecasting                                            Risk Management/Insurance

Financial Planning & Analysis                                   EOY Tax Planning                                          G/L Activity Examinations               

 

Examples of Services Offered on a Project Basis

 

Ownership Transition – after working hard on growing your company, sometimes for decades, you need an Exit Plan. The most successful Exit Plans are long term in nature. I have 25+ years of experience in moving from a concentrated ownership structure to a very distributed ownership structure. When done in a deliberate fashion, even the Exit Plan adds value to your firm!

 

Income Statement Analysis – I review the Income Statement for clarity, errors, and deviations from industry practices/benchmarks. Since Owners of small to mid-size firms do not have CFO expertise on their staff, it is left up to the Owner/CEO to also understand not only the Income Statement, but the ERP/Accounting System as well. This is generally not the best use of an Executive’s time. I can quickly identify the most critical items, determine if they are in good or bad shape, and decide the actions necessary to resolve any profitability issues.

 

Balance Sheet Analysis – Much like the Income Statement, the Balance Sheet for small to mid-size firms are fraught with errors, inconsistencies, and meaningless data. This does NOT inspire confidence in the accounting system or the reports it produces. I’ve found that Owners give up on their financial statements beyond the “Cash” portion, leaving a lot of valuable information ignored. I highlight this treasure trove of information and discuss it in terms of Key Performance Measurements, making the data very actionable.

 

End of Year Tax Planning – this is essential! After running your firm profitably for 11 months, you now need to minimize taxes in the 12th month. This is not an easy balancing act. Do not let the IRS get paid more than you!

 

Business Process Improvements – Many companies rely on non-accountants to do all of their daily accounting activity. Further, these individuals may not even be bookkeepers or otherwise familiar with basic accounting practices. I will review your General Ledger monthly activity for errors and inconsistencies, then teach your designated employees better practices, including WHY.  Within a few months, the accounting data becomes solid and useful!

 

P&L Forecasting – After sitting down with the Owner and discussing a variety of Operational issues (e.g. Chargeable Ratio, Net Labor Multiplier, A/R Turnover, etc.), I suggest several Operations-oriented benchmarks that are achievable in the coming year. Upon reaching agreement on the Operational Goals, I develop a month-to-month Forecast using prior period data with current year Goals to project profitability for the coming year. I then update each month’s activity with the Actual results to track performance for the year.

 

Seminars – As an accomplished Speaker, I am very comfortable speaking to large groups, on just about any topic. My approach is to educate and teach, rather than dictate. I find that employees buy-in quickly to processes they understand and that make sense. These teaching moments can be a very efficient approach to getting everyone on the same page.

 

Risk Management Programs; Benefits & Compensation Programs – these are some of the most expensive pieces to running a successful company. If you get this wrong, you are just spinning your wheels, not moving forward. And in this competitive environment, you cannot afford to get this wrong! The consequences are high employee turnover, expensive benefits that people don’t appreciate, and unnecessary costs and/or litigation.

 

Professional Experience

 

HALFF ASSOCIATES, INC.       1982 – 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

An ENR Top 200 (Engineering News Record) Engineering and Architectural consulting and design firm with revenues of $80M+. Halff has 13 offices across Texas and New Mexico. Profitably guided the growth of the firm from <100 employees to >600 employees (peak) during my tenure.

Chief Financial Officer      (1997 - 2014)                                     Management Team Member (1997 - 2014)                 

Controller                            (1988 – 1997)                                     HR Manager       (1983 – 2006)

Business Manager              (1982 – 1988)                                     Trustee                (1986 – 2014)

 

 

  • Adept at tracking Project costs – my systems kept track of all costs within a structure of 500-600 employees, hundreds of vendors and subconsultants, and over 1,000 new projects each year.

  • Consistently on the cutting edge of project-based ERP systems in order to improve internal information and operational metrics (KPIs), leading to better-run projects for project leaders, and higher profitability for the firm.

  • Entrepreneurial minded having created Mist Ecology from just an idea.

  • Intricately involved in 3 rounds of at Halff Associates, beginning in 1984. in 1991 to facilitate the smooth transition of ownership from the 2nd generation of owners to the next two.

  • Managed the end-of-year tax liability process to maximize profits and minimize taxes each year; ran the firm on an accrual basis, but paid taxes on the cash basis.

 

  • Evaluated and oversaw the and directed the process for .

 

  • Developed, directed and maintained the firm’s and served as primary liaison with .

 

 

  • Implemented an HSA in 2010 that has saved Halff Associates ~$1M+ to date; also introduced a program in 2012 that lowered health insurance costs 18% in 2013, a $1.2M cost savings.

  • 25+ years of valuing acquisition targets as well as Halff’s own value to determine enterprise value for the purposes of acquisitions, internal transactions and monetizing ESOP account balances.

  • Maintained strict cost controls for property & casualty, workers’ compensation, and professional liability insurance programs, with versus an industry average of 10% increases.

 

 

Other Relevant Experience To Draw Upon

 

Mist Ecology, Inc.             President 2007 - 2017                                                                                                                                                                              

A subsidiary of Halff Associates that designs, manufactures, and sells products that enhance air conditioner efficiency.

Held position simultaneously while serving as CFO to Halff Associates; maintains role at Mist Ecology upon retiring from Halff.

 

  • Provided key startup leadership, guiding team members in research, product design and manufacturing, and sales of both commercial and residential solutions.

  • Directs operations in delivering a unique approach to solving problems related to evaporative cooling; led team in securing five US patents and numerous trademarks while developing several proprietary product features.

 

  • Markets products that save residential customers 15%-30% on cooling costs, depending on weather; also promotes commercial applications that reduce cooling expense 15%-40%.

 

TEXPO 2018 Conference – Dallas, TX                                                                                                                                       April 2018

I spoke on a panel at the Texas Association of Finance Professionals in April 2018 on the subject of “The Art of Leadership”. The discussion revolved around the role and functions of a Chief Financial Officer, and a possible path to the C-Suite for persons that begin their careers in the Treasury and Finance roles.

 

Education

 

MBA – Southern Methodist University

 

BS, Mechanical Engineering – Oklahoma State University

Tau Beta Pi – Mechanical Engineering Honor Society                                                                                                       

 

Next Steps

 

  • Set up an informational meeting to explore how RWB | Consulting | CFO can assist you in driving your firm to greater profitability and long-term sustainability!