Insights from Jack Sweeney, Founder of CFO Thought Leader and Middle-Market Executive

Join Ethan Carlson on CFO-Thought-LeaderI had the opportunity to speak with Jack Sweeney, founder and co-host of CFO Thought Leader and Middle-Market Executive, to get some insights about the role of CFOs in the middle-market and the challenges they face.  Jack has many years of experience covering the field of finance, having held senior editorial positions at the CFO Alliance and Business Finance magazine.

Dave Phillips:  Hi Jack, when we met a while back you had recently launched your online publication, Middle-Market Executive. Can you tell us about Middle-Market Executive and how the publication has progressed?

Jack Sweeney:  Hi Dave. Middle-Market Executive officially launched a little more than 18 months ago. Our goal was to highlight the unique challenges facing middle market companies, which are often quite different than those faced by large enterprise firms. More recently, we started a companion publication called CFO Thought Leader. We podcast interviews with CFOs on a variety of topics related to finance leadership in the middle market. We’ve now posted nearly 23 hours of CFO interviews and have achieved some outstanding digital visibility. When users search the words “middle market CFO” today the top three URLs belong to our content.  Essentially, our platforms allow CFOs to master their career narrative and talk about their companies and the key factors that drive their success.

Dave Phillips:  In the numerous interviews you’ve done with CFOs in mid-sized firms, what are some of the common issues that you’ve uncovered?

Jack Sweeney:  Well, when it comes to organizational leadership there’s a kind of new world order taking shape inside middle-market companies and the CFO is often front and center.

During the “Great Recession”, CFOs were increasingly invited to the strategy table to manage company downsizing to better reflect market realities. As the economy has been recovering, they have found that if they want to stay at the table, they need to get out on the frontlines and offer strategic solutions for growing the business and capitalizing on new opportunities. This is indicative of a general shift in expectations for CFOs. Gone are the days were they could remain in the back office and merely run the numbers. They have to be on the forefront of company strategy and proactively collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders. This has pushed a lot of the more traditional CFOs outside of their comfort zones.

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Venture Capital: Accelerating Growth and Financial Performance of Portfolio Companies


Ethan Carlson

Shikhar Gosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard University, reported in late 2012 that up to 75% of venture-backed companies never return cash to their investors. While most venture capital firms accept significant risks in return for the potential of even more significant payouts, there are ways to effectively mitigate those risks. Carlson Management Consulting offers an innovative and cost-effective Accelerated Growth package that delivers the prospect of a much greater success rate. It also enables VC firms to offer additional value to their portfolio companies.

CMC Accelerated Growth services works with VCs and their portfolio companies to improve the financial and operational performance through four (4) areas of focus:

  • Finance Practices
  • Enabling Technologies
  • Human Capital Optimization
  • Thought Leadership

For most early stage companies, especially in software and technology, executive teams are often comprised of domain and technology leaders, not financial planning and analysis experts. CMC leverages deep finance and management consulting experience with fast-moving companies to fill that crucial gap.

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Transforming Manufacturing Finance with Adaptive Insights

Kevin-O'Brien-VP-CPA-at Carlson

Kevin O’Brien, Vice-President

According to a recent article by Bill Greiner in Forbes Magazine, manufacturing in the United States has been growing faster than GDP for the past three years, the first time this has happened in 50 years. As American manufacturing makes a resurgence, the industry has the opportunity and resources to invest in technologies and processes that will further sustain competitiveness and profitability.

As a Platinum Partner of Adaptive Insights and having implemented their Cloud-based Corporate Performance Management solution in multi-plant manufacturing environments, we have distilled the following key opportunities for transforming finance:

  • Standardize and optimize finance practices
  • Empower plant managers, department heads, and other budget stakeholders
  • Consolidate financial data while maintaining a view of individual plants
  • Generate analyzable revenue forecasts at the part or product number level
  • Create driver-based cost of sales from bill of materials schedules

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University Budgeting, Forecasting and Planning with Adaptive Insights

carlson-adaptive-insights-solutions-higher-educationInstitutions of higher education have long experienced the challenges and complexities of budgeting, forecasting, and planning.  The many revenue and expense lines including enrollment, financial aid, endowments and grants make effective financial planning and analysis a daunting task.  Universities may have to track unrestricted, temporary and permanent funds that will require alternate reporting to provide multiple views of their financial statements.  Larger universities may have multiple campuses, scores of departments, and hundreds of business units, all with budget and reporting responsibility.  If the university has a decentralized budgeting process, it can be even more difficult to manage and consolidate budgets across the entire institution.  While some university CFOs presume the expense of alternatives to spreadsheets and legacy enterprise planning software to be too high, many more are realizing the financial, operational, and cost benefits of moving to a Cloud-based performance management solution such as Adaptive Insights.

Some of the key advantages of Adaptive Insights for higher education are as follows:

Process Optimization – due to the number of stakeholders in university budgeting, the process is often cumbersome, time-consuming, and prone to error.  With Adaptive, “best practices” processes such as driver-based budgeting, rolling forecasts, self-service reporting, and streamlined workflows can add new insights and efficiencies.  Costs can be automatically allocated across schools, departments and other overhead locations.  Integration with ERP and other systems automates the population of actuals data into the budget and forecast for variance analysis.

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Kevin O’Brien Joins Carlson Management Consulting to Lead Central Region CPM Team

Kevin-O'Brien-VP-CPA-at Carlson

Kevin O’Brien, Vice-President CMC

Woburn, MA and Waterbury, VT – July 1, 2014 – Carlson Management Consulting (CMC), a leading Cloud solutions and services provider with a growing list of clients nationwide, has announced that Kevin O’Brien has joined CMC to further drive growth of its corporate performance management solutions and services line of business. Kevin comes to CMC from Revolution Group where he was the Adaptive Insights Practice Manager.

“We are very excited to welcome Kevin to the Carlson Management Consulting team,” states Ethan Carlson, CEO of CMC. “He is a proven sales leader and effective communicator who inspires confidence and trust with clients. His strong finance background and implementation experience will bring invaluable credibility when presenting transformational solutions to our customers. As a testament to his capabilities, Kevin was instrumental in Revolution Group’s receipt of two awards from Adaptive Insights.”

Additionally, CMC and Revolution Group have entered into a partnership agreement for the delivery of Adaptive Insights implementation services to existing Revolution clients. The partnership is made possible by both organizations’ commitment to service delivery excellence.

“I’m looking forward to joining CMC’s award-winning team and contributing to the growth of the company and the success of our customers and partners. CMC is one of the top Adaptive Insights partners and has earned its reputation for tackling the most complex implementations. I’m excited about this new challenge and the opportunity to establish CMC as a national firm.”

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