“ACME Foods” is a large food processor with two manufacturing plants in NC and an aseptic food processing microwave technology developed at NC State that preserves the color, nutrients, and flavor of foods.
The ChallengeOn December 10, the new CFO and management team for a large manufacturing company found themselves closing fast on an early January board meeting and year-end audit. This new team inherited a company three months in arrears on closing its books and an accounting department bottlenecked by a controller with few documented procedures.
The SolutionRecognizing the time constraints, Rankin McKenzie matched the new management team with Kim Robinson, a controller with experience in both high-growth and large-scale enterprises to triage.Kim worked with the new CFO to prioritize the efforts needed to meet the board and audit deadlines, identified capable, internal talent within the department eager to grow and take on more responsibility, and sussed out the undocumented accounting policies that governed past reporting.
From the controller’s perspective, the key to problem-solving under pressure is knowing the right questions to ask and how to do so in the right order. Assembling the answers then becomes relatively straightforward. The lack of documented close-out procedures for ACME Foods required sourcing information and effectively delegating responsibilities (in this case two plant inventory reconciliations to the financial analyst) allowing Kim to focus on evaluating sourced financial data and preparing month-end journal entries in conjunction with year-end working paper files.
After meeting the aggressive close-out deadlines for the board, Kim effectively managed the year-end audit. The following year, Kim led efforts to upgrade the accounting system and document procedures before naming her successor as full-time controller – the same internal financial analyst with all the moxie.