Situation

Cornerstone was asked by a long-time existing client, to fill a Finance Manager job, starting with an interim assignment. The client is a family-owned company representing premium lifestyle brands from Europe and the United States. They have operations and retail outlets in Asia and have also collaborated with the region’s leading property developers on residential projects that have become the benchmark of luxury of living.

In early 2018, the client was restructuring to create a separate Business Unit within the company.  They were seeking to hire an interim manager for finance/accounting transactions. The company approached Cornerstone/ Totall for that task. After learning the client’s exact requirements and company situation, three candidates were provided in just 48 hours.  The client interviewed those candidates immediately and selected one of the interim executives. In less than three weeks, the interim manager was on board.

Action

At the time the interim was engaged, the company was facing re-structure.  It was the plan to separate the business unit hiring the interim from the parent company.  The interim would need to fully understand the existing finance and accounting systems independently and would work to separate financial data from old systems and establish new ones.

The interim came on board and quickly went to work.  She addressed the highest value issues and methodically worked toward the goal.  The tasks addressed include:

  • Performed a thorough review and assessment of the current daily accounting and finance operations currently in place
  • Worked with the team to execute the re-design and implementation of an improved customized set of Accounting, Finance and Tax “Standard Operating Procedures” (SOPs)
  • Recommended the re-design and implementation of a set of banking/treasury related SOPs with emphasis on internal control and cash flow
  • Managed the design and adjustment of the management accounts and management report of the Company, taking into consideration its current business model in China and also based on its commercial transactions with suppliers/customers and other related parties

Results

In less than three weeks, the interim manager was on board doing the job. In just twelve weeks, she had met the goals of the company and produced the desired results. The company was so pleased with her work and confirmed her to be employed full time and increased her responsibilities to include the human resources function.

In addition to establishing the new finance and accounting systems, our interim also took responsibility for the human resources function, involving a restructure of the company including the recruitment of new people.

After the project was completed, several executives provided feedback to Cornerstone.  Here are some of the actual quotes:

  • “The Head of Finance is the right person to hire”
  • Ask us to “regard the interim manager as a benchmark when we search other functional people.”
  • “Very experienced finance leader”
  • “Hard worker, had a passion for the work”

As per plan, the interim became a full-time employee after 12 weeks.