Sarbanes Oxley Compliance – Global Insurance Company

A publicly traded Global Insurance Company required assistance with its Sarbanes Oxley compliance obligations. They needed help in documenting and testing the internal controls of the Bank.

Relevante provided a professional who led the preparation, review, testing, and documentation of the internal controls in compliance with the requirements as mandated by Sarbanes-Oxley Legislation. Our consultant effectively met the client’s needs of these regulations while satisfying mandates from the company’s audit committee and with the external auditors. Relevante’s consultant developed the frame work tool to assist the Bank with future testing of its identified Key Controls.

Systems Implementation: Leading Manufacturing Conglomerate

A leading manufacturing conglomerate was preparing to spin-off a subsidiary and needed to prepare detailed financial records for the subsidiary as a stand-alone entity on an historical as well as go-forward basis. The company chose to implement SAP FI/CO as its primary financial management system. They needed to transfer all of the historical information from legacy systems to the new system, design customized reports for each operating and management team, validate all data inputs and outputs and prepare the company’s financial accounting processes for SEC reporting – all within 12 months. Three months into the project, the project management team realized that they were behind schedule and did not have the right people in the right place to get the job done. They turned to Relevante for help.

Working with the client, Relevante deployed a team of experienced SAP FI/CO professionals to work with the plant managers, technologist, process engineers and financial reporting professionals at the clients facilities in several states. The consultants’ knowledge of SAP FI/CO from a user’s perspective combined with strong IT systems implementation experience allowed them to interact effectively with all constituents involved in the process. They spent several months working alongside the users and trouble shooting with the technologist to ensure that the system worked as it should and the users were getting the reports they needed. By utilizing Relevante, the client was able to obtain consultants that could easily fit into a large company manufacturing environment, that had the right combination of financial and technology skills and had experience working in a team-oriented, results driven environment.

The client obtained these much needed resources in days. The project got back on track and achieved all critical milestones. Relevante delivered success and the client was satisfied.

Construction Audit: Ivy League University

An Ivy League university needed help in completing a comprehensive internal audit of its more than 30 construction projects with committed endowed funds totaling over $900 million. Relevante personnel assisted in:

  • Developing a comprehensive internal audit program for all construction projects throughout the university.
  • Implementing guidelines for managing change orders to projects – change orders had been identified as the key reason for many of the projects going over budget.
  • Developed reporting guidelines to keep various constituents appraised of the status of various construction projects.
Corporate Finance: Various Clients

Relevante has provided due diligence support to numerous M&A transactions on both the buy-side and sell-side. Furthermore, on behalf of a potential private equity investor, Relevante performed a due diligence investigation to assess the financial position and financial operations and agreement schedule preparation for one of its portfolio companies. The particular due diligence allowed the portfolio company to execute its investor’s growth strategy without distracting the company’s time constrained and inexperienced financial staff.

Relevante’s professionals provided the valuation analysis that guided several growth by acquisition strategies to execute projects ranging from $0 to over $200 million in annual revenues in diverse companies operating in 48 states with over 2000 employees. Relevante professionals also identified appropriate liquidation of assets along the way.

Relevante’s team has provided analytical support to numerous M&A transactions on both the buy-side and sell-side. Industries have included financial services, travel and hospitality, retail, publishing, distribution, professional services, and general industry.
Relevante executed the financial integration plan to consolidate three different financial systems from three different corporate acquisitions completed within a six month time period. The consolidation included synchronizing the general ledgers, modifying internal controls and processes, preparing clean opening balances, reconciling transferred account data and report analysis, and retraining corporate staff.

Relevante professionals have provided post-closing reviews for diverse businesses in manufacturing, distribution and services. Specifically, Relevante has worked with corporate clients to administer certain definitive agreement closing conditions including, but not limited to, fixed asset and software licensing audits, closing binder preparation and accounting system integration planning.

Account Analysis: Global Engineering Components Manufacturer

An engineering components major required assistance with its account analysis, GL scrutiny & budget reporting functions.

A Relevante professional stepped in and assisted the client’s accounting team by performing a variety of accounting functions including:

  • Bank reconciliations
  • General ledger analysis
  • Ad hoc invoice research
  • Journal entries
  • Audit information requests
  • Conversion of budget information into a new account structure
  • Generating budget reports for management

The assistance provided by the Relevante professional allowed the senior accounting professionals of the company to focus on annual year end and tax package requirements.

Account Reconcilation: Premier University

Universities in Pennsylvania to focus on Cash reconciliations. Within two weeks, more than 80% of the Bank and Cash related reconciliations and reports were being handled or prepared by the Relevante Consultant including researching wires and resolving $2.6m in outstanding checks, properly identified by cost center. Other reports required special access which the institution gave only to permanent staff. By the end of September, the client was back on track to meeting scheduled deadlines for Bank and Cash reconciliations / Reports.

The client was quite impressed with the proficiency with which the Relevante Consultant had worked on Bank and Cash reconciliations, analysis and reports. The scope of the Relevante Consultant’s work was broadened to include fixed asset accounting and reconciliation. By the end of mid-October, 2006 the Fixed asset Inventory reports for July, August and September had been completed to reflect all acquisitions, additions, transfers and disposals for the current fiscal year. All reconciliations had been completed with no outstanding differences; prepared all necessary journal entries needed to reclass expense items or include capital expenditure items; properly identified and recorded all disposals that had occurred during the year. During the last two weeks in October 2006, Relevante Consultants helped the client to re-organize the records.

Sarbanes Oxley Compliance – Fortune 500 Utility Company

A fortune 500 unregulated utility company in the power generation and natural gas delivery industry required assistance to comply with quarterly testing of hedge (in)effectiveness in accordance with FAS 133 ” Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities “.

The company needed to both satisfy the disclosure requirements for ineffectiveness of hedges and their effect on ‘Other Comprehensive Income’ and to develop and document testing procedures on how the ineffectiveness was arrived at and substantiated.

The procedures were for inclusion for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

Both requirements were met within the company’s filing schedule and to internal and external satisfaction.

Strategic Accounting & Financial Support: Leading Not-for-Profit Professional Association

A large not-for-profit professional association was in need of financial leadership and strategic financial support. The company required strategic accounting and consulting services to support its finance and accounting department.

Relevante’s professionals stepped in and assisted the client’s finance & accounting team by performing a variety of functions including:

  • Interim CFO
  • Interim Accounting Personnel
  • Implementing monthly accounting close process
  • Upgrading Great Plains Accounting System
  • Implementing Bottom Up Budget Process
  • Consulted to establish an Audit Committee for the Board of Directors
  • Redesigning and implementing the chart of accounts and cost center structure
  • Providing finance and accounting education to the board, management and the accounting and finance teams
  • Re-negotiating the banking lines and banking relationships

Relevante’s team also did a critical assessment of the existing accounting team and made recommendations for the appropriate level and competencies of personnel. In addition, Relevante has been the internal point person liaison with the external audit firm for the annual external audit and filing of the tax returns. Relevante’s professionals were also extensively involved in the introducing a new financial analysis discipline and process which assisted the management in pricing decision-making.

With Relevante’s guidance, the client’s profits and cash flows improved, turning a sizable loss into a significant positive residual.

Sarbanes Oxley Compliance – Fortune 500 Health Insurance Company

A Fortune 500 Health Insurance Company required assistance in completing its annual audit schedule. The department had fallen behind due to unanticipated involvement in Sarbanes-Oxley testing earlier in the year.

The Relevante consultant was able to accomplish a major corporate audit and a SAS 70 review encompassing activity in four different cities. The latter was both a very high priority for the client, and highly sensitive. The client was short two auditors within the department. The Relevante professional was able to accomplish these reviews in a span of fifteen weeks, and kept the company within the required external and internal filing schedules.

Account Reconciliation-Leading Semiconductor Equipment Supplier

The accounting department of a leading supplier of semiconductor assembly equipments required assistance with reconciling over 150 accounts. The company’s accounting staff noted differences, exceptions and charge-offs to various accounts but they were not often followed up by reconciliation. This led to a large number of reconciliations being pending for a long time.

The company requested Relevante to assist with the reconciliation efforts and propose new formats for the reconciliations.

Relevante’s consultant began the assignment by creating templates for certain types of reconciliations such as Prepaid and Accruals in the appropriate formats for both corporate accounts and Test accounts. The consultant also proposed creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in template format to attach to each reconciliation describing each account, its purpose, data source, user, person approving, etc. for all corporate reconciliations.

Our consultant ensured that all reconciliations were up to date in quick time for the quarterly audit. The consultant also followed up with discussions with the Finance Director to set in place a process for a timely & orderly reconciliation process in future.

Corporate Accounting Assistant Manager Backfill- Major Dairy Products Chain

A major dairy products chain undertook the project of converting from a legacy system (Ross) to SAP for all its accounting and reporting systems. It was scheduled to be a three year project starting with the Corporate Accounting general ledger system and would subsequently be rolled out to the 520 stores for reporting purposes in separate phases.

The company requested Relevante to backfill for the Corporate Accounting Assistant Manager. Relevante’s consultant undertook day to day responsibilities which included: managing & coordinating the preparation of monthly, quarterly and annual consolidated financial statements, the quarterly Shareholders Report as well as the monthly Key Financial and Statistical Information provided to the Board of Directors.

Other activities that Relevante’s consultant was involved with included:

  • Oversight of all aspects of the automated financial and tax Fixed Asset system (GEAC).
  • Analysis of certain key corporate accounting reserves (closed stores, legal contingencies, environmental liabilities and dead site costs).
  • Cash flow and qualitative analyses to assess the need to record the impairment of long-lived assets (SFAS 121).
  • Assist the Corporate Accounting Manager and Controller in fulfilling all requirements associated with the annual external audit of the Company’s financial statements.
  • Calculated executive stock options and coordinated the exercise of these options with the legal department.
  • Generated and distributed the Weekly Fuel Gross Profit Estimate, and reconciled differences between estimated and actual gross profit.

The SAP conversion took place in June 2006 but it was not a seamless transition. The client went directly into production in SAP without running a parallel close. The actual to budget reporting package (BW) was inaccurate and the majority of the BW reports were not even written. The consultant assisted the BW team in writing the revised actual to budget reports and also assisted with problems in the Payables module which resulted in rectifying an exorbitant monthly accrual.

There was a smooth transition upon the return of the incumbent Assistant Manager. The consultant worked with the incumbent to address any and all transitional issues. Even though the client is in a cost containment mode, the consultant communicated his desire to return for any future engagements.

Financial Analysis: Global Leader in Aerospace Systems

Business Challenge – Publicly traded, global leader in supplying and overhauling aerospace systems and components. They required analysis and reporting assistance with the year-end 10K report.

Relevante Solution – The Relevante consultant assisted corporate finance in the preparation of 4th quarter time reporting and year-end 10K. The consultant’s services included the preparation of schedules, MD&A comments on acquisitions, the review of footnotes, and the compilation of work papers. The consultant also created a spreadsheet for 10K work papers. Additionally the consultant reviewed the Income Statement and Balance Sheet and provided comments variances and fluctuations for the Controller.

Value Delivered – Our consultant allowed the client to timely and successfully file their 10K. Relevante’s consultant also developed an organized frame-work enabling the client to reduce the time required for future quarter-end analysis.

Technologies Used – Excel & Word