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From loss to profit in under three months with an interim CFO in place


Things can get dramatic when the finance manager suddenly resigns, especially if you are owned by a private equity company with a relentless approach to reporting. That was the case when Skovly-Gruppen, in the autumn of 2021, found themselves with a deficit of 14 million pending. The rescue became an interim manager who ensured order in the numbers, fresh capital, and profit during the first months of 2022.

In late autumn 2021, Skovly-Gruppen suddenly found itself in a situation without a finance manager. The company had recently changed the role of the financial manager, and brought in a replacement who left the position within a short time. CEO, Marius Barhaugen, quickly understood that they needed an alternative solution.

– Being left without sufficient resources in the finance department is dramatic for a PE-owned company, where reporting must occur at the agreed time and manner every month. Especially when we were also in the middle of an extensive turnaround, explains Barhaugen.

Barhaugen had heard of the concept of interim managers but had yet to gain experience using or hiring one.

– After a few Google searches and a bit of research, I quickly reached out to several interim management service providers to ensure I had several arrows in my quiver. I did, however, feel that Narve Karlsen, a partner in Interimleder AS, quickly got back to me and had the right candidate - and, not least - the best conditions of all the providers we considered.

The interim CFO started up within a couple of days

Things happened quickly. From the day Interimleder AS presented Carsten Stryhn as the right match, it only took a couple of days for him to start. Stryhn has previously been CFO for companies like Fjellinjen AS, Telenor Satelite Networks AS, and Infostream ASA.

– The information about the position reached me on a Thursday. The following Friday, I met with Marius and Skovly-Gruppen, and the next Tuesday, I started in the role of interim CFO, explains Stryhn and continues:

– As a business developer with a background in auditing and more than 30 years of experience in financial management and reporting, I was confident that I could quickly get control of the company's accounts.

Barhaugen and Skovly-Gruppen are delighted with the choice.

– Carsten settled into the company from day one and made a real difference from day two. He had an impressive toolbox that he diligently used to improve us and clean up the accounts. At the same time, he has been an excellent sparring partner for me, Barhaugen says.

From 14 million in deficit in 2021 to surplus in 2022

According to Barhaugen, Stryhn is an excellent example of how well an interim CFO can work.

– Carsten implemented a comprehensive quality process covering our entire management process early on. We are now looking at the same truths as our owners. That is a strength, not only for the company as a whole but also for me as CEO. Now there is room for me to concentrate on other things in the business.

The interim manager also says he is delighted that after his start on November 23rd, he had control over the reporting on December 15th and secured fresh capital by December 30th.

– The measures and the company's team effort helped us turn Skovly-Gruppen around, from a deficit of 14 million in 2021 to a profit of 1 million as of May 2022, says Stryhn.

And perhaps most importantly, the company had time to find a new, permanent financial manager with the interim manager's assistance.

– Skovly-Gruppen consists of exceptionally brilliant and cooperative people. The company has a bright and exciting future ahead of it, and I look forward to watching its further growth, albeit from the sidelines, concludes Stryhn.

About the Skovly Group:

  • Skovly-Gruppen is a supplier of non-food items to the public and private sectors in Norway.
  • The company has nationwide delivery and more than 30 permanent employees in Norway.
  • The company's total revenue in 2021 was appr. NOK 200 million.
  • They are owned by OptiGroup, Europe's largest wholesaler, which is, in turn, owned by the Nordic private equity company FSN Capital.

Situation and challenge:

  • Barhaugen was hired in June 2021 to carry out a turn-around.
  • In the autumn of 2021, Skovly-Gruppen was suddenly without a finance manager.
  • Reporting had been uneven, and the company made a loss.

Solution and results:

  • Skovly-Gruppen hired an experienced interim finance director with an immediate start.
  • The interim manager quickly got control of the accounts, and the company secured new capital less than one month after start-up.
  • Skovly-Gruppen went from a deficit of 14 million in 2021 to a profit of half a million so far in 2022 (May).
  • Today the company has good processes implemented by the interim manager and a new, permanent finance manager in place - also with the assistance of the interim manager.