Financing Business Growth

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Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Lessons from Best Managed

Kris Tierney (Chief People Officer, Questrade Inc., Winnder since 2011): One of the most important things for businesses in terms of managing their growth is the advice of our Chief Financial Officer – which is cash flow, and really keeping your finger on the pulse of your cash flow, introducing strategies to make sure you’re managing your cash flow well. And for us we manage it practically in real-time. So one of the strategies that our CFO has introduced is for all of our large purchases we go through leasing. And so that gives him a better idea of where we are financially on a month-to-month basis. The finance team develops management reports that can then inform our research and development initiatives and where we want to invest the money.

Cory Bell (President, J.W. Lindsay Enterprises Limited, Winner since 2013): There is nothing wrong with going out and borrowing money. For us working capital is the biggest component of our growth and you know, without solid working capital you can’t get the support that you need behind you to go out and do the larger jobs. So we treat that as sacred. We don’t take a lot of money out of the company. We keep the money in the company and let it grow. And at the same time we leverage where we need to. We have great financial partners that are behind us all the time. It’s our primary focus, finance When you get to a certain point, the financial side of things is number one. You need to have your eye on it every day. We did go out and hire a CFO back when we were a smaller company. We had a controller and recognized that that was going to be an inhibitor to growth, so we went out and got a high-end CFO, and he has made a lot of difference. Just in his reporting, the way we present our data. Sometimes you can present things differently and the balance sheet, income statements, they tell a story, and you can tell that story you a little bit differently depending on what you want people to see.

He has been with us now for about two and a half years, and just from a bottom line perspective, we have increased our margin by 2%. That’s not solely attributed to hiring a CFO. Operationally we are doing some things a little bit differently, but without the CFO we couldn’t have done things differently on an operational basis.

Robert Lashin (CEO and President, Houle Electric Limited, Winner since 2012): Growth for growth sake will actually not work. You have to ensure cash flow. Cash is king. Ensure that your sales are profitable, that you can grow sustainably, that you grow at a pace that ensures that you have the infrastructure there that will allow for you to maintain your profitability and the standardization of the product that your customers expect. Ensure that you keep that.

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