Case study: Interim CFO at Picsolve US
Paul Smith, Managing Partner of Odgers Interim US, speaks to Dave Bronson about his recent assignment with Picsolve North America as interim CFO and his transition to taking on the role permanently
Picsolve is the leading image capture partner for the leisure and entertainment industry. In recent years, the UK-based photography company expanded its global offering with a US division. In December 2019, Picsolve North America looked to strengthen its finance leadership after a regional change in management. The finance function had points of structural weakness which needed to be addressed in order to meet the needs of the organization as it continued to establish and grow across the country.
The US subsidiary was overseen by, and reported to, the UK head office. This dependency ‘across the pond’ however, was becoming increasingly difficult for the US finance function as the two businesses had different systems and processes in place. This fragmented approach led to breakdowns in communication and increasing frustration in both countries. The organization needed to coordinate systems and processes to ensure there was a simplified and consistent approach to reporting and communications.
In order to address the organization’s structural and operational finance challenges, Picsolve North America turned to Odgers Interim US to find an experienced finance executive capable of leading the function’s transformation. Dave Bronson, a finance leader with over 20 years of experience, was selected to take on the role in an interim capacity. Dave has experience of developing financial solutions to drive growth and profitability in challenging and competitive markets spanning many industries, from healthcare to real estate and construction. More recently Dave has undertaken consultancy work, focusing on finance transformation and turnaround projects. All of this made him the perfect fit to take on the role of interim CFO at Picsolve North America.
During the initial months of the assignment, Dave focused on the internal accounting challenges of the finance function. Working closely with the head of finance and the managing director of Picsolve North America, Dave identified the principal challenges the function was facing and led a restructuring program to redistribute resource for increased efficiency and cost-savings.
Embedded within this piece of work, Dave planned and started to implement an overhaul of the legacy accounting systems to deliver upgraded software across the function. The new technology would not only simplify accounting processes but also enable the function to increase reporting capabilities and establish tighter internal controls.
As in most interim executive assignments, the remit of the role changed significantly just a few months into the assignment. After Dave’s initial turnaround program, Picsolve made the decision to expand the position, looking for someone to oversee the ‘new look’ fit-for-purpose finance team in a permanent capacity.
There was an unsuccessful search process because the selected candidates did not meet the specification and remit required and as a result Dave was offered, and accepted, the position to lead the finance function as the permanent Picsolve North America CFO. This appointment was particularly critical as the organization had made the decision to shift away from centralized-UK oversight to place more onus on in-country leadership.
The groundwork Dave laid in the restructuring program became mission-critical when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. As an organization within a cyclical industry with the biggest trading months over the summer period, Picsolve was facing real disruption which ultimately resulted in liquidity challenges. In the face of such uncertainty, the financial response of the company was pivotal in securing organizational viability. Dave concentrated his efforts on securing support through the available government business schemes, such as the furlough program and payment protection loans – the latter being a crucial feat because his application was approved despite complications with being a foreign-owned entity. Through his quick action to secure financial support, Dave was able to protect a great number of jobs and stabilize the company as it moves into a recovery period with various sites starting to re-open.
For more information please contact Paul Smith.