Down River Without a Paddle

Written by Carol Coughlin on .

Category: CFO Services 

Client: Services Firm


Growth can be like navigating a river. At first, you have to paddle, working intensely for each inch you travel. Then something happens: your work pays off and you hit a good current. Your growth begins to accelerate, but if you’re not careful, it can quickly carry you away from your goals.

When we first met the CEO of this prestigious professional services company, he was trying to keep up with the rapids of his own growth.

While his company was growing significantly, this CEO lacked the oars to stir the boat. He shared that he:

  • Was significantly under-resourced in the financial areas.
  • Lacked accurate and timely financials, which impacted his ability to make good business decisions.
  • Was too involved in the day-to-day accounting.
  • Needed high-level reporting for each practice group to help enable compensation decisions and tie them to productivity and firm economics.

A major problem, he admitted, was that he had been running the firm as he had when it was significantly smaller.


We didn’t want to slow growth down; we wanted to give this CEO and his firm the tools that would help them manage it more effectively.

BottomLine Growth:

  • Established a robust set of financials that enabled the firm to view gross profit margin by practice group.
  • Tightened internal controls, policies, and procedures.
  • Developed key performance indicators.
  • Restructured roles and responsibilities of the financial team and helped the firm hire a full-time practice manager.
  • Produced, for the first time ever, aged billing statements so the firm could begin collection processes.


Now that the CEO was no longer up the river without a paddle, if you will, he achieved meaningful results: The practice manager has fully taken over the financial and accounting activities, and the CEO no longer has to take away from his billable time to oversee day-to-day financial operations.

The firm has the information it needs to set the stage for compensation decisions related to productivity and value to the firm, and we identified several hundreds of thousands of dollars in billings to be collected from customers.

As one key partner said, “We are ecstatic with the results; it’s like night and day.” 

Navigating growth, especially rapid growth, can be challenging. BottomLine can work with you to implement a sound financial infrastructure to handle the twists and turns with greater confidence and agility. 

*for confidentiality purposes, we do not mention client names

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