June 5, 2019
Celero – Easing Acquisition Challenges With an Interim Solution
Posted by Dovile Norkeviciute
In the current robust M&A environment, we’re increasingly seeing companies that suddenly need finance expertise for a transaction, but don’t have the time and/or budget to hire a permanent CFO. Nor does it make sense at that stage, frankly.
A solution that works for many companies? Get a good temporary CFO, like e-commerce platform Celero Commerce recently did when they found themselves in this situation.
Not ready for a permanent CFO
An early-stage startup, Celero was formed by a private equity firm. As part of the formation, Celero made a strategic investment in another company for its payment processing infrastructure.
Celero CEO Kevin Jones knew that he’d need senior finance expertise immediately for the acquisition and to help integrate the acquired company’s people, systems and processes. But at this stage of the game, the company wasn’t ready to make permanent hires.
“The first company we purchased did not have the in-house finance skills we needed to ensure a smooth acquisition and integration,” Jones says. “However, given our startup situation, we didn’t want to rush into a chief financial officer decision.”
Instead, Celero decided to pursue an alternative to recruiting a permanent finance leader. They turned to Armanino’s Outsourced Finance and Accounting team, which provides interim finance resources, including CFOs. This way they could immediately get the expertise they required, for whatever duration they chose.
“I needed someone who could convert the company from cash to accrual accounting, prepare projections, manage working capital adjustments, and everything else that goes along with an acquisition,” says Jones. “I had complete confidence in the abilities of the Armanino-provided CFO from the first meeting we had.”
With the interim CFO in place and working an average of 30 to 35 hours a week, Celero is on track to achieve its goals for merging in the acquired firm. These goals include:
- Constructing the beginning balance for purchase accounting
- Completing and reviewing year-end balances
- Negotiating terms and savings for outsourcing payroll
- Converting cash to accrual-based accounting
- Developing budgets
Having a CFO take responsibility for day-to-day accounting and finance issues, as well as reporting and projections, has also taken immense pressure off Jones regarding providing updates to the rest of the C-suite and board.
“Prior to the acquisition, there was no Celero Commerce, so there was an immediate need to have visibility into the financials,” says Jones. The interim CFO created a reporting package for the acquired company that was consistent with the private equity firm’s other portfolio companies.
The CFO also operates seamlessly as part of the Celero team. “No one even thinks of our Armanino interim CFO as being a consultant,” says Jones. “He’s an integrated part of the team and most impressively, he takes personal ownership of outcomes.”
Jones anticipates further acquisitions for Celero in the near future. In the meantime, he is not feeling pressure to make a permanent hire. “Armanino gives us the bandwidth to be patient,” he says. “For anyone who is acquiring a company that doesn’t have a CFO on staff or with the right skills, turning to Armanino’s [interim solution] is a no-brainer.”
Dovile manages a team of CFO and Controller consultants at Armanino. Prior to Armanino she was with the Brenner Group, where she led the interim management business, serving mostly startup clients in Silicon Valley. She has spent the majority of her career with consulting and financial services firms, focusing on business transformation and client management.