Situation

Local interim CFO knows Brazilian accounting and German business culture.

The German company G has a production site in Brazil. The site is 200 kilometers away from São Paulo in the Brazilian hinterland. Communication between G and her Brazilian subsidiary does not work in finance. The German managers speak English and the Brazilian Portuguese. You can only communicate with interpreters on site.

Accounting is carried out in accordance with Brazilian accounting law. The Brazilian financial reports and financial statements in Germany are understood only with corresponding explanations. However, the financial reports are incomprehensible in Portuguese and due to the different accounting systems for G.

The German inquiries and the Portuguese answers lead to frustrations on both sides. There is a loss of confidence at G, are the numbers correct, is there manipulation or inconsistencies? A financial manager sent by Germany cannot answer these questions. Due to the lack of English knowledge in the financial sector of the Brazilian subsidiary, he is unable to communicate with the employees in the financial sector. Despite everything, one would like to stick to the Brazilian chief executive officer.

Approach

Local interim CFO restructures accounting. He introduces a new reporting system and negotiates very successfully on tax liabilities and looming penalties caused by years of faulty invoicing.

Now only one expert who takes over day-to-day business in the financial sector of the subsidiary helps. In doing so, he has to revise the internal processes as well as the reporting to Germany. Someone who speaks Portuguese and English is familiar with Brazilian laws and regulations and their almost monthly changes. Above all, he must know the acting authorities and persons.

We are looking for a Brazilian interim CFO, who, from his own experience, also knows the German business culture. An expert who knows exactly what the reporting to Germany must look like, draws up a corresponding proposal and coordinates with G.

Result

By analyzing the interim CFO, it quickly becomes clear that there are no inconsistencies. The cause of the frustration is reporting that is not based on end-to-end accounting systems. In doing so, the interim manager, who resides in Brazil, quickly and for the first time notices that tax regulations have been violated in invoicing for years due to the system. This regularly carries heavy financial penalties in Brazil.

The interim CFO introduces a consistent accounting system with correct invoicing and trains employees in Brazil with in-house resources. He will continue to run the financial sector for a few more months until all parties are safe in the handling of the new reporting system and, on the basis of his current experience, are negotiating a medium-serving settlement of the tax requirements. With the strengthened structure in accounting, the Brazilian CEO is regaining the trust of the parent company.

Conclusion: Only an interim CFO who is an expert in international reporting in finance, knows both cultures and has language skills can rebuild the lost trust within six months.

A quality interim management provider with an international network can find such a local expert in Brazil within a few days.

Summarized by: Mr. Blanke and Brazil expert Peter Roebel