(BY FAST COMPANY | KEVAN LEE 04.07.14 5:39 AM)
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(BY FAST COMPANY | KEVAN LEE 04.07.14 5:39 AM)
Adding a talented full-time CFO to manage a small or medium-sized company’s high-finances such as acquisitions, banking/investor relationships, strategic financial analysis/planning, and financial policy (including oversight of a controller/bookkeeper) is not cheap.
Now, let’s be clear: the important duties of a bookkeeper, accounting manager, and controller are not necessarily interchangeable with the duties of a CFO, as Janine Popick, CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse can attest. The latter is where big picture strategic insights and analysis, competitive advantages, and proper policies are best formulated. It is where a finance guru seems to "think different," to reference Steve Jobs' statement.
Likewise, a quality CFO or Investment Banking Kiosk should be able to understand business models and value drivers, distill and communicate these concepts, and devise and oversee implementation of improvements (including financial/accounting policy and scalable systems). One alternative objective measurement to assess the latent talent of a potential CFO (or CEO for that matter) is to determine whether that individual is a good investor (this prowess is a direct relation to one’s ability to refine business models, assess competitors, and implement winning strategies/tactics), which is one of the rarest talents in the marketplace (less than 1% of professional investors can perform better than a common index over a 10 year period).
Nevertheless, how do some savvy Silicon Valley emerging growth companies leverage this talent affordably? Answer: Investment Banking Kiosks and Remote Contract CFOs.
Accordingly, here are the Top 4 Questions for owners/operators, boards of directors, and CEOs to ask to decide whether their organization can create value by using a Remote Contract CFO or Investment Banking Kiosk (Coventry League provides both, incidentally):
All this said, Coventry League would gladly provide counsel regarding the use of contract CFOs, investment banks, investment banking kiosks, and other business related initiatives. Of course, we can provide referrals or guidance to other firms and talent–since we may not necessarily be the best fit for each and every potential client.
So, please use the contact form or our direct email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request more information, receive a quote, and retain our services.
And, as always, Compete Like a Champion.
When in doubt, follow the money. Accordingly, the recent confrontation between Russia and the Ukraine (and the West) has a lot to do about natural gas and energy, proxies for money. And, apparently, Putin and the Russians are not known to be lenient with buyers who get too far behind in paying their bills, as was the case back in 2009 when Russia basically shut off the gas to Ukraine and much of the EU. So, one can expect some form of monetary bailout for the Ukraine so it can pay Russia for past due bills and to assuage Russia's concerns regarding trade account delinquencies.
As such, below is a chart that depicts the reliance by Ukraine and Western Europe on natural gas provided by Russia. It seems, in this instance, Russia is holding all the good cards, as they say.
Nevertheless, Russia and Western Europe (especially Germany) have been circumventing distribution routes through Ukraine and Belarus since 2009, as the illustration below depicts (circa 2009; natural gas capacity in billion cubic meters – “bcm” – for the Nord Stream, Belarus Route, and the Ukraine Route).
Map of Seattle by Lonely Planet
Below is a mini-curation of a few interesting articles addressing Barriers to Entry, Shorting Restaurant Chains, Keynesians, and our Emerald City - Seattle:
Interest rate spikes, currency devaluations, too-big-to-fails, the SEC and investment theses. These are just a few topics addressed by David Einhorn, co-founder of investment firm Greenlight Capital.
Remember Mr. Einhorn? He is the manager who uncovered alleged fraud at companies such as Allied Capital and Lehman Brothers. Before everyone and their brother realized these allegations were substantiated with clear and verifiable facts, the messenger was vilified.
Given this backdrop, what are some of Einhorn’s opinions and trades of recent? First, he is expecting a major currency collapse and a surge in interest rates in the next 3-5 years (see footnote below). This is evidenced by his large allocation to gold and comments citing imprudent government deficits, among other examples.
Regarding the SEC, Einhorn is unyielding, opining in front of Congress about the SEC’s “crooked culture and lack of enforcement.” Furthermore, he does not leave doubt regarding his thoughts about too-big-to-fail companies: “break them up.” Edward Harrison, founder of the blog Credit Writedowns, summarizes these topics in an article at Seeking Alpha.
For practical investment insights, Einhorn rarely disappoints. Recently he and other investors presented Vodafone Group (UK: VOD) as being undervalued (Jan 2010).
Einhorn’s thesis is based on Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. Essentially, the trade is considered a “5.5% Inflation Protected Bond with Free Non-Expiring Call Options.” Market Folly summarizes the trade, including the slide below:
Lastly, it may be worth the effort to conduct due diligence on Moody’s (NYSE: MCO). Buffett has been dumping shares, while Einhorn has been increasing his short position...
Note: Einhorn’s interest rate thesis does not contradict our belief presented earlier this year regarding near-term deflation.