An Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) specialist is a technical expert who designs, develops, implements and manages EDI systems and processes. EDI systems facilitate the efficient and secure exchange of data between organizations or within an organization.
Besides monitoring, troubleshooting, and enhancing EDI transactions and applications, an EDI specialist should possess excellent communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and stay current with technology trends.
EDI specialists are instrumental in helping businesses eliminate record errors, expedite transactions and reduce data processing time. They implement and install operating systems tailored for data interchange, boosting efficiency across all functional areas. As these systems utilize digitally acquired records, error reduction and effortless retrieval become possible.
With the increasing need for businesses to exchange data electronically, the demand for EDI specialists is on the rise. As more companies adopt electronic data interchange, this trend is expected to continue.
An EDI specialist’s responsibilities extend beyond setting up and configuring EDI connections. They also develop and test EDI messages, troubleshoot EDI problems and provide EDI training to employees. An EDI specialist’s primary duty is to design, develop and implement all EDI-related processes within a company or organization.
Their expertise in data exchange enables them to develop and refine methods for securely receiving and transferring data to and from various trading partners, ultimately optimizing supply chain operations.
II. The Skills and Qualifications of an EDI Specialist
An EDI specialist should possess a comprehensive understanding of IT and various business units, working knowledge of EDI translation software packages, and a solid grasp of EDI standards and practices such as EDIFACT and XML. Additionally, they need to have a general understanding of networking protocols and web architecture.
Soft skills like strong communication and organizational talent are crucial for an EDI specialist. They must have an independent, structured, and responsible way of working to collaborate effectively with different teams and stakeholders and troubleshoot issues during EDI system implementation.
III. The Salary of an EDI Specialist
In the U.S., EDI specialists typically earn between $50,000 and $100,000 per year. Factors influencing their salaries include experience level, education, location, and industry.
IV. Working with an EDI Specialist
Collaborating with an EDI specialist can help you streamline business processes and enhance supply chain management. They can assist in automating business processes, reducing manual data entry errors, and cutting costs by eliminating paper-based transactions. This results in a more efficient and cost-effective operation.
The role of a CFO is similar to a treasurer or controller because they are responsible for managing the finance and accounting divisions and for ensuring that the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed in a timely manner. CFOs also manage the company’s financial planning and analysis, risk management and overall financial strategy.
Hiring a strong CFO essential for an organization to thrive. Some of the benefits of include access to years of experience and industry expertise, the ability to predict and forecast instead of reacting, improved processes and internal systems, better data and accurate reporting.
It’s no wonder that such an important role can often be so difficult (and expensive) to fill.
That’s why it’s pays to work with a tailor-made recruiting firm that’s familiar with your specific industry and situation. The Business Builders’ Network is full of exactly these kind of organizations.
In this article, we will discuss the qualities to look for in a CFO, how to hire the right one for your company, the role of CFO executive search firms in the hiring process and the average CFO salary.
I. What to Look for in a CFO
Skills and Experience
A strong background in finance and accounting is crucial for a CFO. Their deep understanding of financial concepts and ability to analyze financial data will help them manage the finance and accounting divisions effectively. CFOs should also have experience in leading teams and collaborating with other executives, as they are responsible for ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of the company’s financial reports, financial planning and analysis, risk management, and financial strategy.
Leadership and Communication Skills
The ability to lead teams and communicate effectively with other executives is essential for a CFO. Possessing strong leadership and communication skills enables them to convey financial information to non-financial stakeholders. Since they are responsible for managing the finance and accounting divisions, CFOs play a critical role in ensuring the company’s financial reports are accurate, completed in a timely manner, and effectively support financial planning, analysis, risk management, and strategy.
In addition to having a deep understanding of financial concepts, a CFO should demonstrate strong financial acumen. They need to be able to analyze financial data and communicate their findings to non-financial stakeholders. As the person responsible for managing the finance and accounting divisions, a CFO ensures the accuracy and timeliness of the company’s financial reports while overseeing financial planning and analysis, risk management, and financial strategy.
Strategic Thinking Skills
The ability to think strategically and develop long-term financial plans is another essential quality for a CFO. A strong strategic thinker can communicate financial information to non-financial stakeholders, which is vital for their role in managing the finance and accounting divisions. CFOs are responsible for ensuring the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed in a timely manner, and they play a significant role in financial planning, analysis, risk management, and financial strategy.
Having specific industry knowledge allows a CFO to better understand the context in which the company operates. This knowledge enables them to communicate financial information to non-financial stakeholders effectively. As the manager of the finance and accounting divisions, a CFO must ensure the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed in a timely manner while overseeing financial planning and analysis, risk management, and financial strategy.
It’s essential for a CFO to be a good cultural fit within the company. This means they should align with the company’s values, mission, and work environment. A CFO who shares the organization’s vision and can adapt to its culture will foster a positive and collaborative atmosphere, making it easier for them to work effectively with other team members and stakeholders. In addition, a strong cultural fit ensures that the CFO can effectively contribute to the company’s financial planning, analysis, risk management, and financial strategy while maintaining a harmonious working environment.
II. How to Hire a CFO
Create a Job Description
Creating a job description is the first step in hiring a CFO. A job description is a document that outlines the responsibilities and qualifications for the position. It should include information about the company, the position, and the qualifications required for the position. The job description should also include information about the salary range and benefits package.
The job description is important because it helps you attract the right candidates. It also helps you screen candidates to ensure that they have the necessary skills and experience for the position.
Identify Your Ideal Candidate
This step includes determining what skills and experience are required for the position. You should also consider the company’s culture and values when identifying your ideal candidate.
When identifying your ideal candidate, you should consider the following:
Skills and experience: You should identify the skills and experience required for the position. This includes technical skills as well as soft skills such as communication and leadership.
Company culture: You should consider the company’s culture and values when identifying your ideal candidate. This will help ensure that the candidate is a good fit for the company.
Once you have identified your ideal candidate, you should conduct interviews to determine if they are a good fit for the position.
During the interview process, you should ask questions that will help you determine if the candidate has the necessary skills and experience for the position. You should also ask questions that will help you determine if the candidate is a good fit for the company’s culture and values.
Conduct Reference Checks
After conducting interviews, you should conduct reference checks to verify the candidate’s qualifications and experience.
During the reference check process, you should contact the candidate’s previous employers and ask questions about their performance and qualifications. This will help you determine if the candidate is a good fit for the position.
Make an Offer
Once you have completed all of the steps above, you can make an offer to your chosen candidate.
When making an offer, you should consider the candidate’s salary requirements and negotiate a salary that is fair and competitive. You should also consider other benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation time.
III. CFO Executive Search Firms
A CFO executive search firm is a company that specializes in finding and recruiting top-level financial executives for businesses. The process of hiring a CFO executive search firm can be complicated and costly. However, an expertly matched executive recruiting firm can help with this process.
The staff at an executive search firm already has thorough knowledge of the industry and may already know candidates who are qualified for your position. Once you give them a detailed description of what you need in a CFO, they can search their community and find the best candidate. Engage with recruiters and executive search firms to hire the CFO based on your predetermined requirements.
The benefits of hiring a CFO executive search firm include saving time and stress. The challenges of hiring a CFO executive search firm include ensuring that you are working with the correct entity and that your preferred search firm must demonstrate expertise.
IV. CFO Salary
The average yearly salary of a chief financial officer (CFO) can vary based on a number of factors, but the median compensation for a CFO in the U.S. as of May 2021 was nearly $400,000 per year.
The primary factors that impact the median salary of a CFO include geographic location, and the experience and personal qualifications of the person. Base salary and bonuses make up roughly 80% of the total compensation a CFO should receive within a given year. The other areas of compensation are bonuses and benefits, as well as perks.
The primary factors that impact the median salary of a CFO include geographic location, the size and complexity of the organization and the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Base salary and bonuses make up roughly 80 percent of the total compensation a CFO should receive within a given year. The other areas of compensation are bonuses and benefits, as well as perks.
Data consolidation is the process of gathering data from various sources and storing it in a centralized location. This can be done manually or using data integration tools.
The purpose of data consolidation is to improve data quality, increase data security and facilitate data analysis. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of data consolidation, the process involved and the tools and software available to help.
We’ll also cover best practices and emphasize the importance of having an industry-specific service provider to assist you. This complicated process often goes much smoother when you have expert assistance for your specific industry.
This is where BluWave comes in, with their ability to connect you with just the right resource for your unique situation.
I. Benefits of Data Consolidation
One of the main benefits of data consolidation is improved decision-making. By providing a more complete and accurate view of the data, businesses can make better decisions based on data-driven insights. Data consolidation can also increase efficiency by eliminating the need to manually collect and manage data from multiple sources. Additionally, it can reduce costs by eliminating the need to maintain multiple data storage systems.
II. Challenges of Data Consolidation
Data consolidation presents challenges. One of the biggest is ensuring data quality. Data consolidation can only be successful if the data being consolidated is accurate, clean, and reliable. Additionally, data security is a concern, as consolidating data can increase the risk of data breaches. It is important to implement security measures to protect data during and after consolidation. Finally, data consolidation can be a costly process, especially if it is done manually. It is important to carefully consider the costs and benefits of data consolidation before making a decision.
III. How to Consolidate Data: The Process
The process can be broken down into the following steps:
Identifying the data sources: The first step in data consolidation is to identify all of the data sources that need to be consolidated. This can include data from internal systems, external sources, and even social media.
Transforming the data: Once the data sources have been identified, the next step is to transform the data. This may involve cleaning up the data, converting it to a common format, or filling in missing data.
Loading the data into a central repository: Now it’s time to load the data into a central repository. This can be a data warehouse, a data mart, or even a spreadsheet.
Securing the data: It’s also important to secure the data. This may involve implementing security measures such as encryption, access controls, and auditing.
Maintaining the data: The final step in data consolidation is to maintain the data. This means updating the data, correcting errors, and purging old data.
Data consolidation can be a complex process, but it can be a valuable tool. By consolidating data, businesses can improve quality, increase security, and make it easier to analyze.
IV. Data Consolidation Tools and Software
Data integration tools are used to extract data from disparate sources and load it into a central repository. These tools can help improve data quality by cleaning up the data, converting it to a common format, and filling in missing data.
Data warehouse tools are used to store and manage large amounts of data. These tools can help businesses analyze data and make better decisions.
Data mart tools are used to store and manage a subset of data from a data warehouse. These tools can be used to improve data access and performance.
Data virtualization tools provide a single view of data from multiple sources. These tools can help businesses make better decisions by providing them with a more complete and accurate view of their data.
The choice of data consolidation tool or software will depend on the specific needs of the business. Factors to consider include the size of the data, the complexity of the data, and the budget.
V. Data Consolidation Best Practices
Plan carefully. Before starting data consolidation, it’s important to have a plan. This should include:
The goals of data consolidation
The data sources
The tools and technologies that will be used
The budget for data consolidation
The timeline for data consolidation
Use the right tools. There are a variety of tools and technologies available. The right ones will depend on the size and complexity of your data, as well as your budget.
Get buy-in from stakeholders. Data consolidation is a major project that will impact many people in your organization. It’s important to get buy-in from stakeholders early on in the process. This will help to ensure that everyone is on board with the goals of data consolidation and that the project is successful.
Test thoroughly. Once you have a plan in place and you’ve chosen the right tools, it’s important to test the data consolidation process thoroughly. This will help to identify any potential problems and ensure that the data is accurate and complete.
Monitor and maintain the data. Finally, it’s important to monitor and maintain the data. This will help ensure that the data is accurate and up-to-date. It’s also important to have a plan for how to handle changes to the data sources.
Efficient B2B debt collection practices are essential for maintaining a healthy cash flow and ensuring the growth of a business. In today’s competitive market, many organizations offer generous terms on accounts payable to win over customers.
This approach, however, may not always be sustainable, especially given changing trends and future concerns.
Government contracts are highly competitive and can be difficult to secure without the right expertise. Outsourcing support from legal experts can give companies a strategic advantage, increasing chances of winning lucrative projects.
External consultants offer valuable experience in managing large teams and responding to complex RFPs, working with diverse teams and agencies and developing a winning strategy.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool for data analytics in the business world.
AI-driven analytics is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to analyze and interpret data. It involves the application of algorithms that can learn from data, identify patterns and make predictions or recommendations based on that analysis.
It’s also a way for organizations and businesses to unlock insights and make decisions faster and more accurately than traditional methods.
“When people are thinking about AI, they’re thinking about the sentient robots that play Go and talk to you,” says Mike Datus* of AI Business Analytics, one of our trusted Business Intelligence & Analyticsservice providers. “Then there’s this other part of the world which is ‘business’ AI or machine learning, which is really using mathematical models to predict things and find really deep patterns.”
Identifying an interim chief financial officer can be tedious, if not expensive. Companies that don’t know what they’re looking for when they begin their search could spend large sums of money on headhunters and recruiting firms.
They can also lose valuable time interviewing unqualified candidates.
When hiring an interim CFO instead of a permanent replacement, key considerations include timeline, need-specific criteria and keeping an eye out for red flags.
As a trusted resource for hundreds of private equity firms and thousands of portfolio and independent companies, BluWave has exclusive insight into what makes a home-run selection vs. someone who will send you back to the drawing board.
When to Think of an Interim CFO
There are several benefits to hiring a CFO temporarily while searching for someone to fill the role permanently.
“What we’ve heard is, you’re either finding a full-time person in less than 30 days in the first slate of candidates or it’s going to take five or six months,” BluWave managing director Houston Slatton says.
Identifying a candidate experienced with the right industry, company size and revenue models, for example, takes time.
“You may get lucky, but you’re probably not going to. And so you need to plan to not have a full-time person in that seat for five or six months,” Slatton adds. “You don’t want a B-minus player because they’re going to be a key member of the executive team.”
One benefit of a short-term hire is that you can “try before you buy.” This makes it easier to transition a strong candidate to full-time if they prove to be a good fit. It also means giving someone an opportunity without immediately making a long-term commitment.
“It is very easy to interview very well and then the person who shows up is not who you interviewed,” BluWave controller Justin Scott says. “That’s very critical in the CFO role because if you get a bad CFO or somebody that can talk the lingo but not deliver the activity, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble real fast.”
Interim-to-full-time transitions often happen after a company’s been recently acquired. What began as a one- or two-quarter stint can easily transition to a permanent role if the person has integrated well, especially with the CEO.
Sometimes, companies need more time before choosing a permanent CFO. But they don’t want to leave such a crucial role vacant for months, either.
This is another opportunity to bring in someone with interim experience to bridge the gap between the prior CFO and your long-term solution.
Some people make a career out of temporary assignments, putting them top-of-mind for recruiters in these situations. One such person in our network talked to us about the benefits of an interim CFO.
“I think the primary purpose is to just stabilize everything,” says the executive, who spent eight years in PE before focusing on temporary assignments. “But then also learn the nature of the operations and the backbone of the company, and how it operates and if changes need to be made.”
At BluWave, we have seen that the end of the year is a popular time to hire an interim CFO.
Historically, about 60 percent of the interim CFO projects we have sourced were in Q3 and Q4.
“The last thing a CEO wants to do is be approaching an end-of-fiscal-year and not have somebody that’s going to drive their financial close right for the year,” Scott says. “That could be a really scary place to be, where earlier in the year you’ve got time to bounce back.”
Post-Acquisition Value Creation
Interim CFOs also focus on making a company as valuable as possible once it’s been acquired. This is especially important if someone in a lower-level position, such as a controller or an accountant, previously led finances.
Slatton says companies often use large amounts of debt to finance their purchases, opening the door to new accounting situations.
“Now they need somebody to handle all the bank reporting and covenant testing for the lenders and putting in real GAAP,” Slatton says. “As soon as they have a loan like that, they suddenly have to do all this financial reporting. That will be a new process and it hits quickly after they close on the business.”
In addition to what Slatton shares, other key value-creation tasks may include:
A short-term finance executive can also be a great resource when a company is preparing to be sold. After holding a company for 3 to 5 years, PE firms typically look to sell it to a larger PE firm or public company.
When evaluating candidates, use the same measuring stick for each one. BluWave founder and CEO Sean Mooney, who has more than 20 years of PE experience, came up with the PE-grade CFO scorecard for this purpose when evaluating full-time candidates.
Many of the same principles can be applied to the interim CFO search process. Having a baseline allows everyone involved to make more objective evaluations.
“Assign different parts of your scorecard to relevant key team members so you can systematically measure candidates against each of your criteria while getting a range of inputs from across your organization,” Mooney explains on the Karma School of Business podcast.
When sourcing candidates, companies often reach out to someone like BluWave for help. We then present them two or three candidates tailored to their specific needs. One of those candidates typically emerges as the leading choice, at which point they’ll continue interviewing with other executives and, when applicable, the PE firm.
While you can put whatever criteria you like on your scorecard, we have a few recommendations for the interim CFO process.
Experience at a larger company vs. a smaller one isn’t good or bad, it’s just different.
We often see, for example, executives who traditionally spend time at larger organizations struggle to move to smaller ones.
“CFOs that come out of those portfolio companies or come up through the ranks have a very different mindset than one that comes up through the Fortune 500 world,” Scott says. “It’s a little bit more of the rolling up the sleeves type thing, right? The PE-grade CFOs, that’s just expected because you have to be engaged in everything because instead of having 500 people on your finance and accounting team, you might only have two to five.”
Mooney recalls multiple past appointments that didn’t work out for that reason.
“I’ve had so many failures trying to bring in big-name large company CFOs who just couldn’t function at a lower middle market size company,” he says. “It wasn’t that they weren’t great. It was that they just weren’t a good fit for a smaller-company environment.”
Relevant Industry Experience
This is an important factor for companies with unique or complex accounting needs or ones within highly regulated industries.
A strong candidate should be able to articulate relevant industry experience in the interview process. Whether manufacturing, software, healthcare, or another area, the interim CFO should be entering familiar territory from day one.
To evaluate this point, Scott says we ask candidates: “What did you do in that industry to make yourself stand out or to prove that you understand that industry and how it works?”
Mooney says interactions with lenders and investors go more smoothly when someone has experience operating under similar capital structures.
“This is particularly true when we think about having done the balance sheet entering a public company operating environment,” he says.
Internal vs. External
While uncommon, there are times when the ideal interim CFO is already on your team.
“It’s going to be a more seamless transition with somebody that comes internally,” Slatton says. “If you have somebody really good that you like that’s internal, use them just because it’s going to be easier.”
More often, though, companies bring in someone new.
“Some of those higher-level kind of CFO skills, you’re not going to find on an internal team,” Slatton says. “Bringing in somebody from the outside allows you to have access to a broader set of skills and brings a fresh perspective.”
Welsh agrees, saying it can be easier for interim CFOs to put their emotions aside and get the job done.
“They can just pick out the issues and deal with it,” she says.
A well-vetted interim CFO search process typically takes up to 90 days from the initial call to their first day of work.
There are times, however, when you need a vacancy filled “yesterday.” At BluWave, we provide two or three best-fit candidates within a single business day. This can cut a process that normally takes three months to a few days.
“Of the several hundred PE-grade CFOs in our network, we select the top two or three choices for a company, and once the negotiation is finalized, they can get to work very fast,” Scott says.
Every candidate in the BluWave network has been pre-vetted with multiple references. And before we recommend someone to a company, they are vetted again to provide the most up-to-date evaluation possible.
As we already mentioned, many candidates can talk the talk, but not walk the walk.
Here are some signals that will help you discount the duds from the outset.
If someone is accustomed to making significantly more money than you can pay, you might want to skip them. While they may claim to be interested, they could use the interim opportunity as a stepping stone to a higher-paying role, leaving you looking for another finance executive sooner than expected.
“In my experience, rarely will the candidate take a meaningful discount and not start looking for the best next role sooner than later,” Mooney says. “You don’t want to be a bridge to somewhere else.”
Another important consideration is location. Or in some cases, relocation.
While the pandemic accustomed companies to remote workforces, there’s value in having your financial leader on-site, even for a few days a week.
In high-stress situations like turnarounds, restructurings or building a finance team from scratch, interim CFOs need to earn trust as fast as possible. This is difficult to achieve working remotely.
“Time and time again we’ve seen projects get down to the finish line and at the end of the day, they say, ‘Well I’m not really ready,’ or ‘We’re not going to move our family,’” Mooney added.
If you’re considering someone who’s out-of-market, confirm early on that they’re willing to work from your office for the majority of the assignment if this is important to you.
While less of a concern for temporary assignments, beware of candidates who routinely spent only a year or two in full-time roles.
The exception would be someone like our interim CFO veteran, who spent years in full-time roles before shifting exclusively to short-term stints. Candidates like him understand how to make the most out of a three- to six-month opportunity.
“I think it’s very valuable to have someone who knows all the things that need to get done,” he says. “Getting everything set up, and then making sure that the management team and the private equity owners have a good open line of communication, and aren’t afraid of one another. I think an interim CFO is in the perfect spot to facilitate that communication.”
Mooney says it’s normal for candidates to have “bumps in the road.” No one’s career is a downhill ride on the yellow-brick road. Hiccups should be the exception, though, and not the rule.
“Be aware of large gaps in employment. Look for track records of being recruited to bigger and better next roles versus leaving roles without a bird in hand,” he says.
If a candidate consistently left full-time jobs without having the next one lined up, dig deeper into why that is, or discount them altogether.
Talk to each man and woman you interview about difficult times in their careers.
If they’re quick to pass the blame, you can expect them to act likewise once hired. You want someone who takes responsibility, not assigns it.
“Look for candidates to own the results and ultimately share what they did to take action and improve the situation,” Mooney says. “Be aware of candidates who repeatedly blamed circumstance and fate.”
BluWave runs multiple reference calls before presenting a candidate to a potential client. Welsh says this is a great way to weed out unqualified options.
“It’s a value prop that we have for our clients,” she says. “We always ask for references, and if they’re unwilling to send them, we take that as a red flag and we are unwilling to work with them from there.”
Passive Work Habits
If a candidate doesn’t have a history of getting involved in the day-to-day details, they’re probably not going to accomplish much in a three– to six–month assignment.
“People aren’t looking for an interim executive to come in and bark orders. Anybody can do that,” Scott says. “They’re looking for somebody to come in and really get engaged, understand what’s going on in the business, figure out what’s not working in the finance and accounting department and get that aligned with the business needs as quickly as possible. And you can’t do that sitting back.”
That’s why a candidate needs to express past accomplishments with details.
Bad Cultural Fit
“Every CFO that we’re going to present is qualified,” Slatton says. “It’s more about, can they fit well with the organization and are they going to partner well with the PE firm?”
Welsh agrees, saying there are many qualified finance executives for hire. The more important question, though, is how well they can adapt to a new situation.
“If they can’t earn respect and get people on board with the company mission, they’re not going to be able to move the company in a positive direction,” she says. “You can be the most experienced executive in the world. But ultimately, if you butt heads with the person you’re supposed to be working with, it’s not going to work out.”
Lack of Experience
Welsh, who onboards interim CFOs to the BluWave network, says lesser-known candidates can embellish their background to land a prized opportunity.
That’s why, she says, we ask probing questions before recommending them to a client: “Who have you worked with? When have you worked with them? And how have you worked with them? I think those are very important.”
When candidates see interim opportunities as a chance to build their skillset, it’s a recipe for disaster.
“An interim CFO job probably isn’t the way to learn new types of business models, because interim CFOs need to jump in and know what they’re doing,” Slatton says. “Don’t try to think of an interim opportunity as a stretch opportunity.”
Selecting the right interim executive can be difficult, but with the right evaluation process and support, you’re more likely to hire the best person much faster.
Mooney recently recommended in CFO Magazine eight ways to optimize the process.
Creating an interim CFO scorecard can be a great way to kick off your search process, but don’t hesitate to contact us for help.
“Don’t overly weigh your assessment on any one criteria,” Mooney adds. “When using a structured scorecard-based approach that includes a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s competencies, skills, values, intellect, personality and real-life case-study testing, I think you’re going to find that your success rates are going to go way up.”
If you’re interested in receiving a free copy of BluWave’s PE-grade CFO scorecard, email us at email@example.com.
On October 19th and 20th, 2022, our team had the opportunity to attend and sponsor the PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022. It was PEI’s largest event to date with over 500 PE ops professionals in attendance, a testament to the growing ops function in private equity.
At the conference, our founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, hosted a panel titled, “Unlocking the Due Diligence Imperative to Rapidly Achieve the Value Creation Plan”. The panelists – Cici Zheng of ParkerGale Capital, Marc Jourlait of The Riverside Company, and Kalyan Mukherjee of Apollo Global Management – all shared insightful thoughts on this topic and we have captured some our key takeaways below:
Leveraging Diligence Streams to Inform Value Creation
Overall, value creation plans are being created and put into place earlier in the process than has been done historically.
Benefits include building trust with the management teams and having the time and information upfront to formulate a more fully baked value creation plan.
Ops teams find it critical to work with specialized groups for commercial due diligence that already know and understand the market.
Areas assessed upfront in diligence to help ops teams better understand risk include human capital, technology, operations, and ESG.
Working with Deal Teams & Managing the Diligence Chaos
Ops teams have discovered that working with deal teams from day 1 helps avoid any post-close surprises.
Early work with the deal team helps the ops teams better understand what the deal team is underwriting for, allowing the ops team to better prioritize and position value creation plans.
Many firms are leveraging technology to manage the many diligence processes that are happening at any given time.
We greatly enjoyed learning from these thought leaders and connecting with both familiar as well as new faces at the PEI Operating Partners Forum – New York 2022. You can learn about specific ways we equip PE operating professionals with the exact-fit, specialized third parties they need here. If you have an immediate need we can support, contact us here and we will immediately get started.
Our team had the chance to attend and sponsor ACG M&A East 2022 in Philadelphia on October 17th and 18th. At the conference, our founder & CEO, Sean Mooney, had the opportunity to be one of seven speakers to speak on the topic of “Trends and Best Practices in Value Creation”.
In Sean’s presentation, he shared the most recent data in our Value Creation Index and the functional trends we have been seeing within that- specifically within HR, technology, and sales & marketing. The main points he shared from our data were:
PE firms and their portcos are focusing on data & analytics to help them become more agile and change with the times.
Organizations that traditionally had outside sales are now transitioning to inside sales due to the digital boom.
Marketing functions are becoming more crucial than ever.
PE firms are bringing in wartime generals in place of peacetime ministers for the new now.
In addition to Sean’s talk, we were able to listen to insights from Dave Helgerson of Hamilton Lane, Dan Kessler of Energage, Justin Kulla of TZP Group, Keith Scandone of O3, Christopher Simmons of LLR Partners, and Laura Queen of 29Bison. The main topics of their discussions were ESG, DEI, talent & culture, and digitization & customer experience. We have shared our key takeaways below:
The ESG mandate from LPs is growing.
The 3 key factors to ESG are framework, investment process, and organizational guide.
Implementing ESG can be a competitive advantage that allows you to unlock opportunities that no one else sees.
DEI is an ongoing journey, not a destination.
DEI is all about problem-solving.
Talent & culture
Capturing the voices of employees is soon to be the biggest trend in diligence – unhappy employees without a voice can become the biggest issue post-close.
Implementing frameworks to assess and drive culture initiatives is critical.
Digitization & customer experience
Customer experience is a journey, not a funnel.
Putting your customers at the center of your business model is a constant that will never change.
We greatly enjoyed learning from these thought leaders and connecting with both familiar as well as new faces at ACG M&A East 2022. If you are in need of third-party resources for your ESG, DEI, talent, or digitization needs, give us a shout and we will be happy to quickly hop-to.
The pandemic has both accentuated and accelerated PE’s greatest challenges, and human capital is challenge #1. PE human capital leaders have quickly become the busiest people in the industry, demonstrated by our BluWave Activity Index which shows that 42% of PE projects in Q1 ‘22 were related to human capital, which was up from 36% in the previous quarter. Our key takeaways from the conference below share how talent leaders are staying busy and how they are creating efficiencies to drive more value while they are in such high demand:
1. The Need for a Data-Driven Approach to Talent
Business leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance and value of quickly getting the right talent in place across all organizations. According to McKinsey, organizations that get talent right in the first year see 2.5x ROI on their initial investment. Getting talent right is not just a necessity for the C-suite, 90% of critical talent needs in a company lie below the C-suite.
With so much at stake if you get talent wrong, many PE firms and proactive businesses are taking a data-driven approach to human capital in order to have best practices to track against.
Not only does getting the right talent in place quickly improve ROI, it is also crucial to enable companies to deliver on their value creation plans. One way firms are ensuring they get the talent they need is by developing great relationships with their recruiting firms. This allows recruiters to gain a sense for what “talent for that specific firm” looks like.
While human capital is critical to value creation, everyone is fishing in the same pond for talent, creating difficulties in getting the talent you need. One solution to this is to take a holistic approach to talent identification & recruitment in which you identify the key targeted areas for value creation in a portfolio company and then systematically focus and prioritize solving the talent that will have an impact on the biggest value creation opportunities. This has been called the “Talent to Value” approach.
3. Growing Emphasis on Culture and DE&I
There is a growing emphasis on culture and DE&I in private equity
On the DE&I side, each firm needs to take a personalized approach that works for them. A good starting point is to take an initial framework and gather data internally to make sure everyone is included and heard. Then, needs should be measured on a quarterly basis to see how you are improving over time.
On the culture side, a focus on internal company culture will help with recruitment & retention efforts, which ultimately, will help you advance your value creation plans. One way to do this is to assess what currently sets your culture apart and then build on it from there. Additionally, interviews should be assessing if candidates have cultural alignment, as much as they are assessing if they have skill and will.
Balancing the art and science of connecting talent to value, amidst a tight market will be the key driver to success as we head into the second half of 2022. If we can be of any assistance, please let us know.
Additionally, you may be interested in checking out some of our human capital specific resources, which can be found here:
It was refreshing to be back in person with hundreds of PE ops partners to learn from their first-hand perspectives. Key takeaways included:
Executing value creation means that human capital remains a top priority for PE firms.
Ensuring the right management team and board leadership are in place allows for efficient execution against the value creation plan. Resource scarcity has had an immense impact on firms’ abilities to implement and execute plans. Industry leaders discussed tips for how PE firms can source and retain the right people at our recent human capital forum.
Leveraging technology to increase efficiencies is non-negotiable.
The aforementioned human capital challenges have tremendously accelerated digital transformation plans. PE firms are laser-focused on leveraging technology to increase efficiencies and reduce manual tasks to align with value creation plans. This allows portcos to reallocate resources to higher impact areas and rely on technology to solve for the monotonous, repeatable workflow.
Building trust with portcos’ management teams early on is essential.
Trusted partnerships between PE firms and their portfolio companies are vital to a successful investment. Building executive buy-in earlier on in the diligence process with a people-centric approach puts PE firms in a win-win situation. When the (right) management team has ownership in the decision-making process, this creates invaluable efficiencies between the PE firm and portco leadership teams.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of these, contact us here. You can also check out some of these resources: