Commercial Real Estate


Primary: Property 

Key Contribution 

Provided urgent senior financial leadership at a time of significant change which ultimately saw the business sold to a multi-national property group and become one of the largest service businesses of its type in the country. 

The Business   

A commercial real estate business, part of a global real estate services group, providing commercial real estate sales agency, property valuation and property management services.  

The Challenge   

The company, which at that stage was closely held, was faced with their Financial Controller exiting the business in a very short time frame. The company then sought to backfill the Financial Controller position with a contract senior commercial finance manager, without any handover familiarisation provided, to ensure the finance function did not falter. 

The Assistance Required   

The company needed a contract senior commercial finance manager to ensure monthly management financial reports continued to be generated, overseas reporting (limited) was maintained, and the small finance team functioned effectively. In addition, due diligence was underway to buy the NZ and Australian businesses and the NZ Financial Controller was required to assist in the provision of the relevant information, as well as being a part of the transitional process from private company to subsidiary of an international real estate conglomerate. 

The Approach   

The local finance function was in free fall and needed to be firstly stabilised and then, once this was achieved, various stakeholder requirements to be addressed. In particular: 

  • Re-establishing prior processes, confirming the data flow into the monthly financial reports, and verifying completeness against previous financial reports; 
  • Providing direction and support for the small finance team. Re-focus them on internal service delivery but otherwise leave the existing structure in place; 
  • Restoring the monthly management accounting regime and the provision of business financial management support to the Managing Director and the senior management team;
  • Once up to speed with the financial system and dynamics of the business, move the focus to the provision of reconciliations, forecasts, and other financial summaries as required for the due diligence process being managed by the Australasian Chief Financial Officer; 
  • Review and improve local financial systems and, working with the Australian associated company, prepare the business for Y2000 compliance; 
  • On the assumption the acquisition of the company would progress, consideration was provided around options to restructure the NZ finance team to ensure it better met the needs of the company as part of an international group with more stringent reporting requirements – the ultimate entity being US listed.  

The Results Delivered 

The Financial Controller contract was renegotiated and extended for a longer term to help with the growth and development of the NZ business. 

Key results delivered during this engagement included: 

  • All targets were met  

The first detailed reporting package, required within 7 days of year end (31 December) with no guidance on its completion, was delivered on time; 

  • New systems were successfully implemented before deadline; 
  • The finance function was not only resurrected as an important adjunct to the company’s growth and success, the Financial Controller was regarded and respected as a key member of the senior management team; 
  • The acquisition proceeded and the NZ finance team was restructured to better meet its responsibilities going forward. 

Client Testimony 

“With the sudden departure of our existing Financial Controller, and with a lot going on in our business at the time, we needed someone urgently to come in and take over the finance and administrative part of our company. The contract Financial Controller was highly recommended by our auditors and he didn’t disappoint, exceeding our expectations.”  

NZ Managing Director, Commercial Real Estate (Multi-National)