Industry Success Stories
Commercial & Industrial ServicesServing customers in the field is your focus. Building strong Accounting & Finance, Risk & Compliance, and Business & Technology capabilities can help you control your costs and increase profitability.
Helping an owner sell a business and retire
Harold Spiegel, the founder of Preservation Tree Services, Dallas/Fort Worth’s premier professional tree care company, desired to sell his business and retire. Previous attempts to transition the business had not been completed. Aventine Hill Partners was asked to assist with the ownership transition and the structure of the transaction to better assure success.
We provided a CFO Advisor, Michael Welch, to assist Mr. Spiegel and his Key Management Team in a way that positioned Preservation Tree to build on its success and provide Mr. Spiegel with a well-structured exit plan. The scope of work focused on:
- Identifying alternative paths for selling the business and selecting the best options to meet various stakeholder goals
- Recommending an independent appraiser; assuring consistency of financial information utilized by the appraiser; and helping the owner analyze the appraisal results
- Recommending retirement and estate planning strategies for Mr. Spiegel and referring qualified financial management services
- Recommending approaches for retaining key leadership personnel during the process
- Recommending improvements to prepare the company for sale and optimize value.
The assessment considered up to 30 possible sales scenarios and narrowed to the likeliest ones. These ranged from selling the business to the employees or other family members; selling to third parties; or taking the company public by performing a reverse merger with a public shell. Given the diversity of options and stakeholders, Michael recommended and helped the company create an Advisory Board to fully evaluate the options and offers.
Because Preservation Tree had been the focus of Mr. Spiegel’s life for 20 years, Michael spent significant time with Mr. Spiegel reviewing the goals and options, including traveling overseas to the farm where Mr. Spiegel decided to retire. This assured that questions were addressed quickly and in a way that made the process smooth for all parties.
After agreement on a path to exit the business, Michael began executing the action plan and recommendations. This entailed:
- Preparing offer letters to the members of the Key Management Team with details on their new titles, responsibilities, and compensation
- Recommending an Independent Legal Council for the Key Management Team which became the Buyer’s Group
- Assisting Mr. Spiegel’s personal attorney in drafting a new will and estate plan for Mr. Spiegel
- Introducing Mr. Spiegel to a financial planner who prepared a financial plan for his retirement
- Recommending a new tax CPA to represent Mr. Spiegel’s interests in structuring the transaction to minimize tax impacts
- Facilitating interactions with SBA lenders to assist with the transaction
- Negotiating a Purchase and Sale price with the assistance of the Advisory Board
- Reviewing all purchase and sale documents.
The above activities were completed by Michael on a part-time basis, allowing Mr. Spiegel, the Advisory Board, and the Key Management Team to move the transaction at a pace they were comfortable with while assuring the business continued to operate well. This approach was also cost effective including the avoidance of broker’s fees and managing the tax impacts of the transaction, both in the U.S. and abroad.
A.J. Thibodeaux, the CEO and new Partner in Preservation Tree, stated, “We could not have completed this transaction without the assistance of Michael Welch from Aventine Hill Partners. Michael’s attention to detail; ability to bring qualified professionals to the project; patience; and professionalism helped us succeed where we had not before. He both advised Mr. Spiegel with his transition into retirement and assisted the Management Team in implementing a new organization that can drive Preservation Tree’s future growth and profitability.”
Harold Spiegel stated, “Michael Welch from Aventine Hill Partners represented the most important professional relationship of my entire career. The work performed by him offered me a bright future in retirement after building a successful business. I am very grateful for the services he provided me and my Key Management Team.”
Providing a CFO on short notice to assure continuity
An Industrial Services company had its long tenured CFO decide to retire on short notice. A succession plan was not in place. Leadership of the company was concerned that business performance would be impacted in the short term. They came to Aventine Hill Partners for assistance.
One of our CFO Advisors was provided to the company within days of the sitting CFO's retirement announcement. This allowed our Advisor to learn the day-to-day business before the CFO left the company.
Upon the CFO's departure, our Advisor assumed full responsibility for all financial reporting and analysis, management of the accounting team, and management of the banking relationship. This company was able to continue operating normally.
After achieving stability, our CFO Advisor determined that the role could actually be performed on a part-time basis. This provides the company a very experienced CFO in a cost effective way. The company has chosen to operate with a fractional CFO for the foreseeable future.
What was initially a stressful period for the leadership of this company became an opportunity to realize the value of a more flexible model for obtaining high quality CFO support. Learn more about our CFO Advisory services.
Quickly creating new budget, forecast, and financial statement packages
Commercial & Industrial Services Success Stories | Aventine Hill Partners
When a privately held industrial services company was acquired by a private equity firm, new reporting and planning requirements were placed on the Accounting and Finance team. The company needed to quickly produce a detailed budget and forecast as well as put together formal financial statement packages. They turned to Aventine Hill Partners for help.
We first approached the most critical issue, which was the budget. The acquiring firm needed one immediately and no formal model or methodology was in place. Our financial analysis consultant worked with the Chief Financial Officers of both companies to create an initial 12-month budget that met the new parent company’s requirements. A new budget process and repeatable methodology was recommended and implemented.
The next issue was to generate a forecast. Our consultant built from scratch two new models to generate accurate cash and profit and loss forecasts. Both models were automated to reduce manual inputs and tied into an interface with the company’s accounting software.
Next, the company needed to produce financial statement packages consisting of a balance sheet and profit and loss statement comparing actuals to prior year, budget, and forecast. Our consultant created a new model that interfaced with the accounting system and the budget and forecast models. This model was highly automated to virtually eliminate manual entries and adjustments.
With help from Aventine Hill Partners, this company was able to quickly and accurately meet all of the new planning and reporting requirements that were placed on it. And, it implemented flexible, sustainable models and processes so it could continue to meet these requirements in the future. Learn more about our Financial Analysis, Planning, and Modeling services.
Simplifying financial accounting and reporting processes
Commercial & Industrial Services| Aventine Hill Partners
A privately held company providing maintenance services was having difficulties due to key issues in their financial accounting and reporting processes. The accounting team was stretched and not available to take on any wide-scale process improvements. The company chose Aventine Hill Partners to streamline their accounting and reporting operations.
Using one of our experienced accounting and finance consultants, we assessed the existing processes from basic record keeping of detailed accounts to periodic reports for management. After reviewing and prioritizing the weaknesses, we recommended and implemented quick, critical improvements that would make the most significant positive effects for company management and the employees performing the work. Several longstanding issues between the company, its CPA firm, and its bank were fully resolved, improving these important relationships. To help the company continue to improve, we created a roadmap of specific items that needed to be addressed over the next twelve months.
Aventine Hill Partners helped this privately held company improve critical accounting and reporting processes, giving them the efficiency they needed to handle sustained growth. Learn more about our Business Process Improvement capabilities.
Project and Interim Solutions
Improving policies and controls documentation quickly and cost effectivelyA Fortune 500 company had developed numerous department policies and internal controls over many years. There were inconsistencies and gaps between the policies and the company’s internal controls documentation. The Director of Internal Controls selected Aventine Hill to standardize the policies and ensure that all cross-references to internal controls were accurate.
We provided a consultant who was experienced both as a controller with expertise in internal controls requirements and as a business analyst with highly developed flowcharting and documentation skills.
After an initial orientation on the company’s controls and inventory of policies, the consultant recommended and aligned with the Director of Internal Controls on a practical approach, a standard policy format, and the level of detail to include in the updated policies. Our consultant was then able to work independently to review approximately 250 policies and reconcile them to the internal controls defined for the company.
- Where a policy tied back to an internal control, the policy was updated to clearly describe the control so that cross-references between the controls and policies were 100% consistent. In some cases, improvements to controls documentation were also recommended.
- As the work proceeded, the company requested to also reconcile the detail procedures and forms referenced in the policies and controls. A more thorough inventory was assembled and variances identified.
- Recommendations were made to consolidate overlapping and duplicate procedures and forms. Updates were drafted to ensure procedures and forms were fully consistent with the policies and easier to maintain.
- All policy and procedure drafts were reviewed and approved by department policy owners in addition to the Internal Controls department.
This company successfully updated hundreds of policies and procedures quickly and cost effectively. Providing a single experienced consultant with broad analytical and documentation skills and extensive knowledge of controls allowed the project to begin producing tangible results quicker than if duties were split between multiple specialists who were less experienced.
The project was more cost effective because almost all hours worked were directly related to creating the deliverables since coordination among multiple people was not required, and fewer questions needed to be asked of department policy owners.
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