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All Hands 2021 Award Winners

2021 Award Winners

Congratulations to these Associates for their recent award at the FocusCFO All Hands meeting.

Client for Life Award

Gold Level

Don Cain

CFO, Central Ohio

Tom Flynn

Area President, Central Ohio

Dan Bloom

CFO, Central Ohio

Client for Life Award

Silver Level

Pat Lang

CFO, Central Ohio

Jeff Lacy

Area President, Central Ohio

Jim McKinney

CFO, Central Ohio

Client for Life Award

Bronze Level

Ric Butler

CFO, Central Ohio

Don Cain

CFO, Central Ohio

Darren Cherry

Area President, Central Ohio

Jim Collins

Area President, Southwest Ohio

Scott Davis

CFO, Southwest Ohio

Mike Derringer

Area President, Central Ohio

Jon Doerer

CFO, Michigan

Jeff Farrington

Area President, Michigan

Tom Flynn

Area President, Central Ohio

Peter Geise

CFO, Central Ohio

Greg Gens

Area President, Northern Ohio

Jim Gilbride

Area President, Northern Ohio

Jeff Lacy

Area President, Central Ohio

Pat Lang

CFO, Central Ohio

Jim McKinney

CFO, Central Ohio

Bob Palmerton

CFO, Michigan

Todd Peter

CFO, Northern Ohio

Kyle Rhodebeck

CFO, Central Ohio

Jeff Semple

Area President, Northern Ohio

Skip Vermilya

CFO, Northern Ohio

Mark Vernallis

Area President, Pennsylvania

Todd Whetstone

CFO, Northern Ohio

Lynette Zody

CFO, Central Ohio

CFO Hall of Fame

Gold Level

CURRENT MEMBERS

David Bourke

Director, CFO Services

Bruce Collen

CFO, Central Ohio

Pat Lang

CFO, Central Ohio

Lynnette Zody

CFO, Central Ohio

CFO Hall of Fame

Silver Level

NEW MEMBERS

Sherif Matar

CFO, Central Ohio

CURRENT MEMBERS

Dan Bloom

CFO, Central Ohio

Don Cain

CFO, Central Ohio

Jim McKinney

CFO, Central Ohio

Jim Zins

CFO, Central Ohio

Joe Dougherty

CFO, Central Ohio

CFO Hall of Fame

Bronze Level

NEW MEMBERS

Ed Chong

CFO, Central Ohio

Bob Palmerton

CFO, Michigan

CURRENT MEMBERS

Wendy Brugmann

CFO, Northern Ohio

Will Cooper

CFO, Central Ohio

Dean Cole

CFO, Central Ohio

Kathleen Ferry

CFO, Northern Ohio

David Gouttiere

CFO, Northern Ohio

David Green

CFO, Central Ohio

Todd Peter

CFO, Northern Ohio

Jim Rowlands

CFO, Northern Ohio

Bob Stecki

CFO, Central Ohio

Skip Vermilya

CFO, Northern Ohio

Scott Lee

CFO, Central Ohio

Walter Himmelman

CFO, Northern Ohio

Scott Davis

CFO, Southwest Ohio

Richard Murch

CFO, Central Ohio

Ric Butler

CFO, Central Ohio

Area President Awards

Rookie of the Year

Michael Stier

Area President, Carolinas

Area President Awards

Rising Star

Lesli Matukaitis

Area President, Michigan 

Mitch Willis

Area President, Pennsylvania

Area President Hall of Fame

Gold Level

NEW MEMBERS

Forest Bookman

Area President, Northern Ohio

CURRENT MEMBERS

Mike Derringer

Area President,
Central Ohio

Tom Flynn

Area President,
Central Ohio

Jeff Lacy

Area President,
Central Ohio

Jeff Semple

Area President,
Northern Ohio

Jim Gilbride

Area President, Central Ohio

Area President Hall of Fame

Silver Level

NEW MEMBERS

Jim Collins

Area President, Southwest Ohio

Bob McAdams

Area President, Central Ohio

CURRENT MEMBERS

Darren Cherry

Area President,
Central Ohio

Fred Dannhauser

Area President,
Northern Ohio

Peter Geise

Area President,
Northern Ohio

Bob Miller

Area President,
Central Ohio

Area President Hall of Fame

Bronze Level

NEW MEMBERS

Mark Vernallis

Area President, Pennsylvania

David Tramontana

Area President, Pennsylvania

CURRENT MEMBERS

Jeff Farrington

Area President,
Michigan

Bob Miller

Area President,
Central Ohio

Greg Gens

Area President,
Northern Ohio

2020 Continuous Learning Award

Exit Planning Institute – CEPA

NEW MEMBERS

Kim Cooper

CFO, Carolinas

Mark Clower

Area President, Southwest Ohio

Michael Stier

Area President, Carolinas

Randy Feger

CFO, Pennsylvania

Mike Derringer

Area President, Central Ohio

Greg Gens

Area President, Northern Ohio

David Green

CFO, Central Ohio

Lesli Matukaitis

Area President, Michigan

Jeff Farrington

Area President, Michigan

Tom Bartos

Area President, Pennsylvania

Forest Bookman

Area President, Northern Ohio

Bob Palmerton

CFO, Michigan

Mark Rust

CFO, Pennsylvania

Peter Geise

Area President, Northern Ohio

Rex Bevis

CFO, Southwest Ohio

Lynette Zody

CFO, Central Ohio

VETERANS

David Bourke

Director,
CFO Services

Darren Cherry

Area President,
Central Ohio

Mark Clower

Area President,
Southwest Ohio

Kathleen Ferry

Area President,
Northern Ohio

Tom Flynn

Area President,
Central Ohio

Jim Gilbride

Area President,
Northern Ohio

Brad Martyn

Visionary and Founder
FocusCFO

Jeff Semple

Area President,
Northern Ohio

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Building a Positive Banking Relationship

Building a Positive Banking Relationship

By Bob Palmerton

After listening to a plethora of quarterly earnings reports from public companies, I began to consider how the discipline and transparency of effective communications practiced by a public company can be replicated for a privately-held firm. Besides keeping owners and investors in the loop, an effective communications strategy with your company’s bank is just as critical.

The loan a company obtains from its bank will likely be accompanied by a variety of covenants. Delivering timely covenant reporting, however, should be merely a piece of your company’s communication strategy with its bank. Managing a bank’s expectations and staying ahead of the curve as the business grows and/or changes are similarly important to build trust and a positive, growing banking relationship.

Here are a few “good deeds” to help build rapport with your bank:

Quarterly Reviews

Bankers like to be informed (and not surprised) by their clients. Inviting the bank for quarterly reviews (just as public companies deliver quarterly reports) is key to building trust and keeping the bank educated about the nuances and shifting priorities of your business. These sessions are valuable not only to provide color on the quarter’s financial results, but to communicate business strategy (i.e. new markets, new products) and to share financial projections. Demonstrate to the bank your company’s ability to support its debt service as well as communicate your company’s growth plans.

Contingency Planning

Should risk suddenly appear on the horizon, resulting in a miss to projections or a weak quarter, your company should persuasively communicate contingency plans to mitigate that risk. “What If” scenarios should be analyzed and action plans defined and presented to get back on track both from a top and bottom line perspective. Share with the bank the degree of flexible, controllable costs in your business that can be reduced or eliminated to sustain adequate debt service coverage and to conform to the bank’s covenants. Calculate and communicate your fixed charge coverage (costs such as debt service, rent, equipment leases, and insurance that need to be paid regardless of your company’s revenue). Know your numbers! Again, this helps to build your company’s trust with its banker, and it demonstrates that you are taking care of your business as well as taking care of the bank’s senior credit position.

Timely Submission of Financials and Covenant Reports

Never let a bank chase you for something. And should the financial reports raise a red flag or two, jump in ahead of time to explain it. Stay ahead of the bank’s questions. A company should understand the key expectations of its banker and provide timely updates to manage the relationship. Be proactive! Remember, your banker will retain greater trust and confidence in you if you are forthcoming with information, however unpleasant that information might be.

Sharing of Financial Projections

These give insight as to where you are taking the business as well as the opportunities and obstacles your company faces in achieving its goals. Try to stick with quarterly financial projections rather than monthly (this can give you time to manage to a bad month). Focus your projections on cashflow, and don’t forget to support those revenue projections with realistic assumptions and contingencies should the projections not pan out.

Now that you have been on your best behavior with your banker, ask for more from your bank! You have provided a lot of information, spending time and energy on strategy, financial reporting and maintaining a solid banking relationship. So maybe it’s time for you to ask for free services, reduced fees, or even a relaxed covenant or a short-term credit line bump to handle a timing issue. If you are renegotiating a line of credit (or asking for an increase), a positive relationship can help close the deal, and the additional business will be appreciated by your bank

Bob Palmerton is a CFO for FocusCFO, based in Detroit, MI.

 

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Five Pitfalls of the Cashflow Forecast

Five Pitfalls of the Cashflow Forecast

By Bob Palmerton

Weekly cashflow forecasts are a critical financial tool for any company, especially small enterprises with frequently volatile timing issues in working capital. Here are FIVE pitfalls of the cashflow forecast and suggestions to overcome them.

Pitfall 1: Sales (and therefore collections) timing

I’ve spent much of my 30 years in finance dealing with unrealistic sales targets. The more early- stage (or start-up) the company, the worse the problem. And speaking of mature companies, although they may have a good handle on forecasting their legacy products, forecasting new product sales can be daunting. And a changing competitive landscape may thwart their sales forecast accuracy. Once a realistic annual forecast is determined, the next challenge is its timing throughout the year.

Suggestion: Build bottoms up sales plan with defensible metrics (i.e. number of salespeople, sales calls per day, success rates based on experience), and risk-adjust the new stuff. If you have a large collectible item scheduled for a certain date, plan ahead to call early and grease the skids for that payment to arrive on time. And as with any sales forecast, don’t forget to consider contingency planning should the numbers not pan out as expected.

Pitfall 2: Under-estimating what it takes to deliver those sales

It may be labor, materials, internet bandwidth, or any vendor-supplied resources that would need to be carefully assessed not just for their front-loaded costs (i.e. before the cash is collected on those those forecast sales), but for their ability to deliver when they are needed (based on the timing of those sales).

Suggestion: To start, integrating delivery (operations) with sales planning is key. When sales and operations are on the same page, when they communicate effectively, many delivery hiccups can be avoided. Also, know your vendor limitations. Keep key suppliers appraised of your business so that they can plan ahead too, in anticipation of any upside (or downside) sales surprises.

Pitfall 3: Relying on unreliable sources.

Often the person compiling the cashflow forecast will take input from leadership for granted (they should know what they’re talking about, right)? But there may be various reasons why they don’t know what they say they know, or motivations to avoid the cold hard truth.

Suggestion: The best you can do is know what questions to ask, push back where necessary, and risk-adjust any assumptions that might be questionable. Learning as much as you can about the business and its past performance is key, as researching past results can help support your adjusted estimates. Remember what W. Edwards Deming said: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

Pitfall 4: Missing contractual timings of outflows

Run rate or one-time costs may change in a material fashion at a certain point in time. For example, commercial loans may include ramp-ups in principal (or higher rates driven by Fed policy). A line of credit may convert to P&I at a certain date (or there may be a 30-day “rest period” during which the line needs to be drawn down to $0). Payroll raises may go into effect at a certain date. How about employer taxes and how they start at their highest level when the New Year begins? Many nuances of timing occur throughout the calendar year and many are driven by anniversary dates (like the annual rent increase).

Suggestion: Review historic financials to see the step-ups and review contracts and bank agreements to pinpoint rate increases and changes in debt servicing.

Pitfall 5: Failing to share the 13-week cashflow forecast with your senior management and/or partners.

Many times, I have come across a senior member of the staff contributing a unique solution to an emerging cashflow problem. It may be a strong business relationship with a key customer or vendor that may shake loose early cash or defer a payment to a vendor to buy some time when cashflow is tight. That revelation would likely not emerge without sharing the cashflow forecast with that person.

Suggestion: Reserve the time to review the forecast with key stakeholders, and solicit their valuable input and perspectives on the business and the market

A well-oiled cashflow forecast process will enable management to focus on items to fix ahead of time so that they can stay on top of their day-to-day business.

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