Human Capital

DLC Consulting Model Lures Finance Execs

Corporate clients attracted, too. After recession slowdown, the CFO services firm looks to expand sharply from -- and within -- its California and Midwest bases.

By Roy Harris

Among the models that exist for companies providing CFO services to client companies, DLC Inc. thinks it has the best -– both for its clients and for the finance executives it provides to them as consultants.

All its 150 employees, says DLC chief executive Tom Sweeney, have worked at Fortune 1000 companies, and are either experienced Big-Four CPAs or MBAs from Top-25 schools, with many of them having both backgrounds. And while DLC is filling the particular needs of corporate clients by placing finance consultants with them, it seems at least as interested in expanding the experience base of its consulting force through a sort of targeted on-the-job training.

That’s because, Sweeney says, by strategically assigning its people “we are able to leverage our consultants’ current skill and experience to provide them exposure to new industries, software environments, and functional disciplines.”

He adds, “The thing that’s really unique about our firm is the employment model and the operating model, and how they work together. It’s the intersection of them that creates value.” And both Sweeney and his CFO, Brad Gray, had personal experience with the DLC consulting system before moving into their current jobs. So they should know first-hand.

A ‘Project-Based’ Approach

The educational background and the years of finance experience its consultants have may offer some level of assurance when clients call looking for finance help. But many of those clients also are drawn to the “project-based” thrust at DLC, rather than the more common “rent-a-CFO” approach.

"Generally speaking, the work that we do falls under the purview of the CFO," Sweeney says. But "compared to many of DLC's competitors, who offer broader services that extend beyond operational finance and accounting, DLC has maintained its decidedly narrow focus on serving the CFO.” It supplies “traditional planning and analytics, accounting and reporting, financial systems implementation support, and transaction service support," according to the CEO. "On any given day our work could include a vast array of services like building a strategic planning process, filing an S-1 to take a company public, working on the largest SAP implementation in SAP history, preparing a company for sale, or integrating a merger.”

Combining DLC’s focused project approach with a “lean operating model provides client assurance that they are paying for results rather than overhead,” he adds. Whatever the job its consultants do for companies, they always search for opportunities that involve “reengineering, streamlining, creating efficiencies, and eliminating redundant work streams.”

DLC’s current or past client list includes companies like Allergan, Avery Dennison, Exelon, Google, Kraft Foods, Levi Strauss, Oakley, Qualcomm, Quest Diagnostics, Salesforce.com, Union Bank of California, Walgreens and Warner Bros. In addition, it serves a number of private equity clients, venture capital firms and hedge funds. “Private equity firms rely on us to provide interim CFO services, to build reporting capability and infrastructure, to assist with buy- and sell-side due diligence, and to integrate new acquisitions,” says Sweeney.