CFO Corner: Lori Copeland and Coping With Management Changes

08.11.2011

What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months, and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership?

Aegis Health Group welcomed a new president this spring. A change in leader­ship often means a different view of the company’s direction as well as new areas of focus or growth. I viewed this change as an opportunity to look for ways for the company to develop and financially align with new partnerships by offering guidance from a financial perspective. It can also be challeng­ing to serve as the board of directors’ point person with the new president through his transition as well as working with him on the financial details of the business.

What has made your company stand out and be successful financially?

Aegis Health Group has many financial strengths, including:
• Fiscally responsible department managers and employees
• Sound expense management system using established controls and processes
• Conservative balance sheet and strong cash reserves
• 18-year history of audited financials
• Excellent banking relationship
• Dedicated accounting team
• Constant attention to detail

What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your position?
The value of managing cash flow. It is imperative to maintain a strong cash position for reserves, growth and shareholder distributions.

How do you prepare for board meetings and what information is most important for you to present?

The most critical information I provide for the board includes a review of financials and an explanation of variances. In preparation for the board meeting, I review Aegis’ banking relationships, major contracts and potential challenges. From there, I discuss the agenda with the chairman, meet with the company president to discuss our presentations and prepare board packets to distribute prior to the meetings. I believe it is important that the board is always kept informed and never encounters a surprise during a board meeting.

What advice do you have for other CFOs?

Maintain a strong board and banking relation­ships. Keep a clean balance sheet. Build a team that shares your values, ethics and commitment to detail.

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