11.09.2020

Secure solvency, shape the future!

Securing liquidity is one of the core tasks in acute crisis management and ensures the vital functions of a company. With sustainable instruments, future potential can also be developed in this area. Five questions to Christoph Oberhaus.

Liquidität sichern, Zukunft gestalten

What do you stand for, Christoph? What are your tasks?

Christoph Oberhaus: Based also on my experience from CFO activities in large corporations, I stand for profitable growth with a clear focus on liquidity. Restructuring topics ranging from classic programmes to reduce material and personnel costs to measures to secure liquidity to avoid insolvency are also part of my portfolio.

Is liquidity and general immediate financial measures still an issue at the current stage of Corona crisis?

Christoph Oberhaus: Liquidity must be the top priority in a crisis. As an entrepreneur, once you have created transparency for yourself about all crisis measures and initiated the first measures – also of a communicative nature – you should turn your attention to liquidity. The motto is: liquidity before profitability. The basis for transparency in a company is the so-called 13-week cash forecast. If it is not available, every CFO should urgently consider introducing it. Depending on the level of liquidity, a variety of measures can be derived from it, e.g. working capital optimisation, which includes the optimisation of receivables and liabilities. This includes, among other things, stringent accounts receivable management or the use of the payment terms agreed with suppliers.

Do you use a special methodology for analysis and development?

Liquidity before profitability!

Christoph Oberhaus

Christoph Oberhaus: Yes, firstly the 13-week cash forecast described above. All measures should be systematically derived from this forecast. What does systematic mean? The Boston Consulting Group speaks of the 4 “R’s”: reaction, recession planning, rebound planning and reimagine. That describes it very well. The management must react quickly, initiate measures to secure the company in the recession, but also keep an eye on the phase of “rebound” or “recovery” and plan and initiate measures already today. This is followed by rethinking all value drivers and the business model – reimagine. In this phase, the company should, at the latest, tackle measures to realign the supply chain, new target markets or a revision of the product range. Remote workstation capability should also be on the agenda.

In which particular areas can benefits be expected?

Christoph Oberhaus: By being well prepared and understanding their own situation, companies achieve advantages in communication and negotiation with their stakeholders, i.e. banks, suppliers, landlords and employees. In general, open and rapid communication is the cornerstone of all activities. This can also create room for growth and change in the future.

Can a stabilisation and simultaneous further development in the financial sector also generate further benefits? 

Christoph Oberhaus: Definitely, because the basis and goal of further development is comprehensive knowledge of one’s own company in all its facets: Value creation, value drivers, suppliers, employees, profitability, liquidity and financing requirements. This is the basis of reliable and sustainable business. And thus, on the one hand, the basis for a clear multi-year plan, which also includes inorganic growth as an option. On the other hand, it can be the basis for possible succession planning or a change in the company structure by adding PE investors.

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Photo: Anja Micke
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Christoph Oberhaus
The graduate economist is an experienced CFO in portfolio companies of private equity funds. He worked for a top management consultancy for several years and assumed management responsibility in financial positions of large corporations. As a strategic-operational CFO, he leads entrepreneurial organisations and helps employees and shareholders to create value and achieve sustainable growth.
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