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CLA | Strong, Proactive Leadership Is Key

2021 is certainly a year of transition and change for many manufacturers. Stability and cash management have never been more critical. Kevin Mullin shares some insights from CFOs who have gotten it right in the last eighteen months.


Cash, as they say, is king. During COVID-19, many companies had to close temporarily, while others experienced a major slowdown in revenue-producing activities or a disruption in their supply chain. For many small to mid-market companies, that caused liquidity problems and financial stress.

CFOs who maintained adequate cash reserves or had access to cash (such as a line of credit) wisely positioned their companies to deal with the immediate cash shortage. Many CFOs were proactive with lenders and accountants, and showed a willingness to ask for assistance and educate themselves. These CFOs were able to make quick decisions and take early advantage of loans, grants, working capital resources, and federal legislation such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.


Now that their company’s cash positions are more secure, smart CFOs are focused on stabilizing their business: they are finding ways to increase revenue and decrease operating costs. Companies are adding extra support to profitable revenue streams and spending less time on unprofitable revenue streams maintained during the crisis.

Successful CFOs are focused on financial planning and analysis, while communicating often with all stakeholders. This stabilization period provides them with a good opportunity to clean up a company’s balance sheet, which includes:

  • Re-evaluating investment portfolios
  • Performing a goodwill impairment analysis
  • Refinancing debt
  • Reducing inventory

Position for the new normal

Manufacturers are also now focused on ways to position themselves for the new normal. Many CFOs are undergoing strategic planning with all stakeholders.

The strategic planning efforts vary by company based on industry, geography, and company size. However, using a team approach is often most effective. A company can grow a number of ways in the new normal, but a few ways in particular include:

  • Appropriate resource allocation
  • Wise expenditures decisions
  • Maintaining the ability to adapt quickly
  • Willingness to think outside of the box

Strong CFO leadership

For a small to mid-market company to survive and grow in today’s world, it must have strong financial leadership. Whether it’s a qualified internal CFO or an external outsourced CFO, he or she must be a good communicator, someone who has the ability to inform all stakeholders of the knowns and unknowns — especially during the toughest of times.

How we can help

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, we are here to help your company handle its financial needs, which includes providing outsourced CFO services and real-time scenario modeling. That way, your organization can make better decisions in challenging times.


  • Allyson Baumeister |

Compliments of CliftonLarsonAllen – a member of the EACCNY.