What Makes for a Good CFO?
Nov 12,2019
Prepared for Smith & Howard by Philip K. Curtis When it comes to Chief Financial Officers, or CFOs as they are commonly called, there is no lack of research material. Google Search alone contains 381 million entries. The Internet is replete with lists of favorable attributes for this important position, so this author will be in good company spelling out his own variation on the theme. Our executive search firm is not unfamiliar with the concept as we have conducted more than 40 CFO assignments over the years for clients ranging from Burger King to Dun & Bradstreet. Each engagement was different, but all stood the test of time. There are no absolutes. No silver bullets. Still, as we see in this piece, by calling on the observations of several real life CFOs, there are some commonalities. In our experience, and in the experience of those who have served in...
4 Tough Questions to Ask Before Expanding to a New Location
Aug 28,2017
Is business going so well that you’re thinking about adding another location? If this is the case, congratulations! But before you start planning the ribbon-cutting ceremony, take a step back and ask yourself some tough questions about whether a new location will grow your company — or stretch it too thin. Here are four to get you started: 1. What’s driving your interest in another location? It’s important to articulate specifically how the new location will help your business move toward its long-term goals. Expanding simply because the time seems right isn’t a compelling enough reason to take on the risk. 2. How solidly is your current location performing? Your time and attention will be diverted while you get the second location up and running. Yet you’ll need to maintain the revenue your first location is generating — especially until the second one is earning enough to support itself. So...
Business Owners: Put Your Successor in a Position to Succeed
Jun 13,2017
When it comes time to transition your role as business owner to someone else, you’ll face many changes. One of them is becoming a mentor. As such, you’ll have to communicate clearly, show some patience and have a clear conception of what you want to accomplish before stepping down. Here are some tips on putting your successor in a position to succeed. Key information Find ways to continuously pass on your knowledge. Too often, vital business knowledge is lost when leadership or ownership changes — causing a difficult and chaotic transition for the successor. Although you can impart a great deal of expertise by mentoring your replacement, you need to do more. For instance, create procedures for you and other executives to share your wisdom. Begin by documenting your business systems, processes and methods through a secure online employee information portal, which provides links to company databases. You also could...
Now Is the Time for a Regulatory Compliance Check For 403(b) Plans
Feb 09,2016
Tax-exempt organizations that sponsor 403(b) plans are being advised to check their plans for possible compliance issues since the IRS recently announced that these plans are on its priorities list for 2016. Below are some questions that 403(b) plan sponsors may want to ask their plan management as part of ensuring the plan is compliant before a possible IRS review:        Has plan management determined (and documented appropriately) if there is a plan audit requirement?If there is first-time audit requirement, has plan management gathered sufficient documentation to support account balances as of the beginning of the plan year?Did the organization report a pension contribution on the Form 990?  If there is no associated Form 5500 filing for the pension plan, then this may be a red flag of a possible missed audit.Does the plan have a formal (e.g., written) plan document?  Do the plan’s day-to-day activities conform to what the plan document...
Changes to the 2015 ERISA Annual Reports (Form 5500)
Feb 09,2016
We wanted to alert sponsors to additional changes anticipated for the 2015 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan (Form 5500) and Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan (Form 5500-SF), based on initial drafts of the 2015 Form 5500 series released in December 2015 by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp (PBGC). Some of the more significant changes on the Form 5500 series are highlighted below:Plan Trust’s Financial ActivitySeveral compliance questions have been added to the 2015 Form 5500 Schedules I and H and Form 5500-SF. While optional for 2015, the IRS nonetheless is encouraging sponsors to answer these questions. Even if a sponsor elects not to respond for 2015, be aware that these questions will likely require additional time and preparation for the 2016 plan filing year when the requirement to answer becomes mandatory.Schedule H and Schedule I, Line 4o and Form...

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