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This page provides case studies for some of my past clients. These are real-life situations for real companies. In each case, I used my time-tested and proven methodologies to assess each organization's situation; to identify causes of internal dysfunctions and external influences; to recommend solutions; to implement new procedures and controls; to hire and train staff (where necessary); to train/coach relevant organizational members; and to ensure my client was prepared for independence.
Each case study includes at least one testimonial indicating the client's level of satisfaction. Note: Names are not included in these summaries to protect the privacy of both the companies and individuals involved.
CASE STUDY - NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION (NPO)
PROBLEM: This client, a non-profit organization (NPO) and grant recipient for a departmental federal agency, was in a desperate position when I was hired. The organization was being audited by the departmental Office of the Inspector General (IG) for more than $2M in contested expenses, sufficient to force the closure of the NPO. Records were in disarray and the organization was unable to sufficiently explain its expenses against grant requirements. The relationship between the NPO staff and the IG staff was prickly and the prognosis was dire.
ACTION: I collected all the available expense records and worked with NPO staff to match each expense to its appropriate grant budget line. NPO leadership were so pleased with my support that, when the IG questioned the budget line for my support, the NPO Director responded, "I don't care if I have to pay Nancy out of my own pocket. She stays."
RESULT: Within a few weeks, we eliminated the contested expenses and relations between the IG and NPO were dramatically improved. I helped restore the IG's confidence in the NPO's financial reporting, leading to subsequent awards of an additional $2.5M in grant funding to the NPO by the granting agency.
“Because of Nancy I can sleep at night, knowing my company finances are getting back on track.”
– President of a large non-profit
CASE STUDY - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY
PROBLEM: This client, an internal cost center for a departmental federal agency, asked me to review its pricing strategy. As a cost center, this client received its funding, not from congress and taxes, but by charging its customers (agency offices) for the services it provided. The client was required to recover 100% of its costs without creating a profit. Management had no visibility into the status of the cost center during the year - only when a post-year review was completed were managers able to assess their financial status. Contractor staff were hired on the basis of friendship, not qualifications. Monthly customer reports (from internal systems) were so confusing that neither staff nor customers understood them. Customers were frustrated by what they believed were exorbitant costs and confusing statements. Employees were afraid to speak with customers because they could not explain customer charges.
ACTION: After reviewing the organization's situation, I established a plan to:
RESULT: An initial $12K contract for my assessment turned into 15 years of support for the organization's financial and budget operations. I hired a team of financial, procurement, and IT specialists to run the day-to-day operations. As a result of our support, my client gained control of their pricing and revenues and met every budget target for the next 15 years, the full duration of multiple support contracts. Specific results included:
- Assess and correct pricing errors
I performed a detailed activity-based-cost (ABC) analysis to determine the actual costs of providing each service.
- Identify and rectify staff training shortcomings
By reviewing the tasks and output of each contract employee, I discovered where staff had inadequate backgrounds and training. I sat at the desks of several departed employees to discover what tasks they performed and where they impacted the organization's financial status. As an example, I discovered two unpaid invoices totaling $2M at the bottom of a drawer, where the employee had put them because she didn't know what to do with them!
- Implement control procedures
I implemented procedures to track incoming invoices. A tracking database was created into which staff entered each invoice, with target payment date, as it arrived. Each invoice was tagged to the appropriate contract task to ensure the availability of existing funds. Daily reports showed available balances by task, payment status of invoices, and other related information.
- Improve management and customer reporting
I brought in an IT specialist with a financial background, who created a financial management application that tracked invoices, contracts, customer agreements and integrated data from multiple external systems.
- Through my Activity-Based-Cost (ABC) cost model, I quickly discovered that, where the manager thought he was making money, he was actually losing money. And where he thought he was losing money, he was actually making a profit. My cost model provided accurate pricing to recover the actual costs of each service. While pricing changed for individual services, overall costs to the center's clients were kept stable.
- I hired new staff and trained existing staff in standard industry practices in each functional area. This improved accuracy of both business operations and relations with customers of the client.
- As a result of the internal controls and systems I implemented, the client gained control over expenses and revenue. Funding status was monitored daily so to ensure sufficient funding to meet obligations. Invoices were paid on time. During the 15 years that my team supported this client, we never missed a budget target and never had a cost over-run.
- The Financial Management System developed by my team provided control over processes and data, and restored confidence in the financial applications of this center, providing clear accounting of services rendered to customers and accurate, timely customer and managment reporting.
“Nancy saved the government $50M over 10 years. The savings achieved by Nancy and her team more than offset her cost.”
– Cabinet-level Federal agency manager
"Nancy's on-site, proactive management of contract tasks and company staff, and her no-nonsense responsiveness to customer business issues and requirements are hallmarks of her team's positive interaction with an array of technical, professional and executive contacts. This sound working relationship has been fostered with her staff, who clearly project these same positive working relationship attributes. Both this writer and the cadre of contracting officers with whom she interfaces continually have the highest regard for her work and working relationships."
– Client Program Manager
CASE STUDY - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY
I was hired to provide a 'Switzerland' approach - an honest broker to solve problems between the federal government and one of its major contractors. A major system upgrade of the departmental accounting system was behind schedule and over budget. Management was coming under intense pressure to meet schedule budget and timelines.
I worked closely with the federal program manager responsible for this project. Together we reviewed the contract activities and accomplishments against the project statement of work, and I recommended that the agency replace the contractor. We evaluated several alternative vendors and one was chosen to replace the existing vendor. Throughout the project, I monitored vendor progress with the federal program manager to ensure that any deviations to schedule or funding was quickly mitigated.
The new vendor performed successfully and the project was completed within budget and schedule constraints. I received an award from this client for my support on this project.
"Nancy and her team consistently provided a wealth of information and recommendations for change which will allowed us to successfully transition the program. This included the creation of a communications management process that facilitated the monitoring and revision of all channels of communication within the program office, agencies and other stakeholders. Given what I know today about Nancy's ability to execute what she promised in her proposal, I definitely would award to her today given that I had a choice."
– Federal Agency Contracting Officer
CASE STUDY - SMALL BUSINESS
I worked as a subcontractor for this small business. The owner of the firm was so impressed with my work that he asked me to help him restore order to his own company. His controller had quit several months earlier. All he knew was that many bills were past due and he could not determine his company's financial status. Most of his contracts were with the federal government and he was concerned about losing his sources of revenue because he could not adequately track expenses against contract funds.
For several months there was no accounting support. All the records were in disarray and the owner had no idea where he stood financially. There was no financial tracking and many bills were past due. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy.
I rebuilt the company's records from the time of the controller's departure. I created a set of practices to establish the internal controls required to maintain financial stability and integrity. I also interviewed and hired a new controller and trained her to follow the company-specific processes we had established.
The company's financial stability was restored. Past due bills were paid, and expenses were properly recorded against relevant accounts. The new controller successfully performed her work so that the company could continue to meet both internal and contractual obligations.
"I hired Nancy because of her performance as a subcontractor. Her work was outstanding and always accurate. I was confident that she could help me restore the financial stability of my company. I wasn't disappointed. She very quickly figured out what the old controller had done and how to pick up the pieces after this person left. Without her help, we would have gone out of business. Her assistance was invaluable."
– Company Owner