Finance is a mission-critical function for any company. The financial pressures on companies are unabating throughout their life cycle, whether they are in early-stage development, mid-stage growth, turnaround, or late-stage exit. It is critical that any company has a comprehensive and detailed Financial Management System, including financial analysis of current operations, feasibility studies of projected growth plans, cashflow proformas, an understanding of its current and anticipated capital structure, and careful management of the capital raising and M&A process. Companies that lack in-depth financial management systems are more likely to fail than those who have these systems in place, despite having great products. Companies with strong financial management systems have a distinctive competitive advantage over those firms that lack these systems, due to having more efficient operations; a clearer understanding of their sources of profitability; a more efficient capital structure; a better awareness of the financial risks entailed in future growth plans; and greater access to capital.
Dr. Keysser has over 35 years of professional experience as an investment banker and a business financing consultant, including serving as Managing Director for Dain Rauscher and SVP and Principal at Miller & Schroeder Financial. He is a Professor of Finance at Saint Mary’s University, in their MBA program, teaching courses in Corporate Finance, International Finance, Financial Institutions, Investment Banking, Government Finance, and Managerial Accounting. He is also on the adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, teaching International Finance.
His personal achievements include raising over $3 billion of capital in over 250 engagements; structuring complex financial analyses and projections for early-stage and mid-stage technology companies; developing complex financial management systems for technology companies; raising debt and equity capital; and advising in M&A transactions. His service skills incorporate (a) financial analysis; (b) feasibility studies and proformas; (c) capital structure review; (d) project management in M&A and investment banking; (e) turnaround management; (f) financial management and capital budgeting; (g) raising capital; and (h) interim CFO services.
The essence of a successful Financial Management System for a company, as provided by Dr. Keysser, is having an in-depth understanding of the details of the financial operations of the company. This includes understanding the precise sources of profits and losses at a micro level, the company’s current capital structure of debt and equity, the financial implications of management policies (such as terms of sales, and leasing versus purchasing), the measurable costs and risks of future growth plans, the weighted average costs of all capital raised including the opportunity cost of using retained earnings, and the opportunities for an M&A transaction, buy-side or sell-side. The company may choose to use an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, in some cases, but much of what is defined as financial management can be accomplished without an expensive ERP system, especially for small capital-constrained companies.
A successful Financial Management System therefore incorporates (a) developing an understanding, at a micro-level, of the sources and causes of the company’s profits and losses (as broken by product, location, marketing campaign, sales distribution, and other metrics); (b) examining the company’s capital structure of debt and equity and calculating the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) of the company; (c) reviewing all growth strategies and opportunities through feasibility studies and discounted cash flow (DCF) analyses of their future operations and strategies; (d) examining different options for raising the External Funds Needed (EFN) for future growth strategies; (e) reviewing the company’s foreign exchange (FX) practices and policies, including mitigating exposure risks; (f) reviewing, on a continual basis, the opportunities for an M&A transaction; and (g) analyzing the company’s dividend policies.
Companies can elect whether they just require Appleton Greene for advice and support with the Bronze Client Service, for research and performance analysis with the Silver Client Service, for facilitating departmental workshops with the Gold Client Service, or for complete process planning, development, implementation, management and review, with the Platinum Client Service. Ultimately, there is a service to suit every situation and every budget and clients can elect to either upgrade or downgrade from one service to another as and when required, providing complete flexibility in order to ensure that the right level of support is available over a sustainable period of time, enabling the organization to compensate for any prescriptive or emergent changes relating to: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Information Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing; or Production.
Following a rigorous Financial Management System strategy increases the odds that any company, no matter where it is in its life-cycle, will be successful and prevail in a highly competitive and uncertain industry. It is a very structured approach, yet flexible enough to continually adapt to changes in the company’s competitive, financial and regulatory environment.
Dr. Keysser’s Unique Service Proposition (USP) is to assist his clients in developing a holistic understanding of every aspect of their Financial Management System, and how this System integrates with and coordinates with all other elements of the company – sales and marketing, growth planning and management, operations, human resources. Finance becomes the linchpin on which all other elements ride. Proper financial management, including access to capital, ensures that all other parts of the company, from sales through delivery, have the capital resources to function correctly, and the access to capital needed for expansion. A company with a robust well-managed Financial Management System has the resources needed to prosper; a company without this system will continually struggle to survive.
A good example of this was Dr. Keysser’s work with a bio-pharma company that was at a relatively early stage in its development, with a strong IP portfolio, an array of new pharmaceuticals with very interesting potential, a continual need for additional capital for R&D, a relatively inexperienced financial team, and a C-level team whose strengths lay more in biopharma than in financial management. As their financial consultant and investment banker, Dr. Keysser assisted them in developing a robust financial management system, project their future capital needs, and interact with the investor community, including bringing in two funding offers from major credible funding sources.
“Dr. Keysser was instrumental in assisting us to develop a growth strategy for our rapidly expanding plastic case market. We were very successful at the time in other areas of plastics manufacturing, but this was a new venture for us, to reflect a shift in the overall market demand for plastic products. He helped us to identify and analyze an opportunity for a new out-state manufacturing facility to accomplish this growth, including developing a feasibility study and a financial analysis of the potential growth from this opportunity. He helped us to review our existing financial and capital structure, and recommended an approach for raising the needed capital. He then generated the external funding needed, through raising $10M of senior debt, to successfully implement this strategy.”
“Dr. Keysser brought an idea to us of refinancing some of our existing stores to take advantage of reduced interest rates, and a very strong demand in the market for our proposed type of debt. At the time, there were advantages within the tax code that made those financing methods feasible, but those provisions were scheduled to be reduced in the near future. He assisted us in analyzing the net impact on our bottom line of undertaking these refinancings. He was a key figure in this strategy, recommending options for lowering our costs of capital and our operating costs, and reminding us of the time-urgency of concluding these refinancings before the announced change in tax law. He then conducted the refinancings of seven of our stores in four different states, which contributed significantly to our cost savings.”
“Dr. Keysser served as our financial advisor and investment banker, and assisted us in developing very detailed and comprehensive financial models and p