Case Study: AHIMA-HCPro Acquisition and the Crucial Role Played by a Team of Interim Executives

AHIMA, a nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers, had a big idea: To expand by buying a for-profit business.

The acquisition target, HCPro, was an industry leader in integrated information, education, training, and consulting products and services in healthcare compliance and revenue cycle management.

The combination, AHIMA CEO Amy Mosser believed, would broaden the reach of both organizations.

But, first came the challenge of the acquisition process – performing due diligence, planning for the integration, and setting a course for the future.

To do that, she needed help in three key areas: financial due diligence, workforce integration planning, and content licensing.

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3 Things Companies Can Learn from How Private Equity Firms Work to Maximize Value

Private equity firms have a simple recipe for making money: They identify companies they believe are undervalued, improve those companies, then sell them for far more than they paid to buy them in the first place.

Knowing how private equity firms work can serve as a roadmap for any company looking to improve operations and maximize value.

Start with these 3 things PE firms do following an acquisition in the lower middle market ($2-$15 million in EBITDA) to improve your own bottom line, whether you plan to continue operating your business or want to ready the company for a future PE investment.

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The Case for Hiring Part-Time or Fractional Executives

Every business owner dreams of gaining major traction in the marketplace. Fast-track growth, however, often comes at a cost. Things get taped together. There’s no process to speak of. Systems? Ha. Things go missing, including clients and team members. Lack of resources means that even the crown jewel – the company’s ability to out-innovate — may be put on hold just to keep up.

When a company grows faster than the capabilities of the leadership team, the company can hit the wall.

Smart fast-growing companies have started looking to part-time or fractional executives to provide C-suite leadership, mentorship, and the operational upgrades needed to help a company break through the ceiling to growth.

Fractional executives bring the fresh perspective of experienced C-level executives quickly and affordably. With a focus on getting results, companies find that renting the rock star exec outweighs getting 100 percent of the time of a lesser light.

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What Is an Interim Executive & Is It the Right Answer for Your Company?

What is an interim executive? It’s a highly knowledgeable and deeply experienced C-suite executive ready to step into a company in need of superior leadership.

As veterans of the interim business, we know that pairing the right interim executive with the right company is a delicate balance. After all, private equity funds or venture capital funds get one use of their dollar. Just one. Fund managers have a sacred charge of evaluating opportunities and investing the funds they’ve been entrusted with by their limited partners in hopes of maximum returns.

Likewise, we get one chance to make a great match. We must identify the interim executive with the right skills and experience and catch that executive during the brief period of time they are in between assignments assessing the next opportunity they want to take on.

So how do we best deploy genius leadership when we only get one chance every day to maximize everyone’s time, unique skillset, and results? We start by being selective about our clients.

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners: Family Business Transition to the Next Generation

There’s bad news and good news when it comes to family business transition to the next generation.

First, the bad news: Only about one-third of businesses survive that transition. Here’s how the Harvard Business Review put it in a 2022 article: “In many family businesses, the tension between the eagerness of the next generation’s leaders to take control, and the founding generation’s willingness to relinquish control, is the source of many failed relationships and companies.”

Now, the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way. With a lot of planning, honest conversation, and realistic expectations, family businesses can survive and thrive for generations to come.

Here, we dive into the challenges of transitioning a family business to second-generation leadership and how to navigate those challenges successfully.

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How Much Does An Interim Executive Cost?

Once owners, board members, and investors figure out exactly what an interim is and how an interim can help, the next question is: How much does an interim executive cost?

The short answer is: There is no off-the-shelf rate card for interim execs. Or more precisely, it doesn’t exist for the best interims in the world.

The first thing to understand about interim executive costs is to know that interim and permanent executive compensation is structured differently.

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Is an Interim Executive the Right Fit for Your Company?

How do you know whether an interim executive will be the right fit for your company’s needs? Ultimately, that’s an individual decision that depends on your company. But generally, when we get a call from an executive, head of human resources, small business owner, or private equity investor, it’s because the organization is in motion. Leadership to drive growth, change, or turnaround is needed. And it’s needed fast.

If you are tasked with bringing in an interim executive, you’ve probably done your research and understand what a true interim executive is, believe you need more than a consultant, and have an idea of how an interim gets compensated.

But still – is contracting with an interim executive the right move for you and your company?

Let’s explore:

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What is an Interim Executive Director and Why Would You Want One?

The concept of an Interim Executive Director (ED) isn’t well-known among nonprofit organizations…yet. But, it’s becoming more mainstream and for many good business reasons.

On average, it takes a Board of Directors 9 months to recruit a new Executive Director. By the time they are on-boarded and contributing, a year may have passed since the departure of the prior nonprofit leader.

While nonprofit board members may step up to “mind the gap,” the truth is that stakeholders — employees, partners, and funders — can lose confidence in your organization during this leadership transition and key employees may leave.

Organizing payroll, developing a budget and/or managing human resources may keep the lights on, but without someone filling the executive director role during the transition period, your organization can be harmed and stymied while the Board is focused on the executive search for a new ED.

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Firing a CEO: The 4 Questions Every Board Should Ask When the CEO Needs to Go

So you’ve made the decision that a change needs to happen at the CEO level, and heaven knows it’s painful! You rely on the CEO as quarterback of the team. It feels like the chief executive is indispensable. But you signed up for service on the board of directors. You know that while corporate governance is a general and varied responsibility, the shareholders trust the board to choose the right CEO. It is, perhaps, the board’s most important decision.

Of course, you’ll go through a permanent search that will be thorough, even if internally focused.

But what happens if you need to fire the CEO and find a new leader right now? Having a CEO exit with no CEO succession plan in place can create a leadership vacuum. The resulting instability within the organization can cause major issues and harm company performance.

The need for a new Chief Executive Officer, the right Chief Executive Officer, is urgent.

After a CEO dismissal, the first thought for many public companies is to look around the boardroom table to see who’s brave enough to be named interim CEO for Sarbanes Oxley compliance.

But, where’s the guts in just appointing a placeholder to keep the seat warm?

The modern world now presents you with a far more robust choice: a true interim CEO. A veteran executive who’s been there, done that. Who is expert at jumping into companies going through points of change. And who is accountable for action and results.

When considering whether to bring on a placeholder versus a true interim CEO until you can hire and onboard a new permanent CEO, here are the questions to ask at your next board meeting.

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Decoding Executive Titles: The Difference Between Interim, Project, Part-Time & Fractional Executives

Interim, acting, project, contract, fractional. The array of titles can make your head spin. But they all point to a specialized type of executive that companies call on when they are going through transformation.

What is an interim executive and how does that differ from a part-time executive, a project executive, or fractional executive?

Let’s break it down.

What is an Interim Executive?

Interim executives are highly-skilled, experienced C-level executives who typically contract to work for a company for a defined period, versus full-time executives who are hired by the company. The defined period can be as little as one month or last as long as two years.

There are highly qualified interim CEOs, interim CFOs, interim COOs, interim CIOs, interim CMOs and CSOs ready to step into a position.

Why would a company choose an interim executive over a full-time executive?

There are many possible reasons, but in all cases, the company needs some kind of change or upgrade.

For example, the organization may have a leadership gap. Maybe the organization is on the wrong track and losing market share. It needs an executive to create an operational roadmap and then execute and implement to ramp up growth.

Maybe it’s a technology or security issue or there’s a need for an effective leader to reposition the company, update the brand, and build out a best-practices sales team to bring it into the new digital era.

In all cases, executives across the C-suite can be drawn on for these types of assignments. There are interim CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs, CMOs, and CSOs.

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