Does your strategy guide how you allocate resources? Can every employee articulate your strategy, and do they have what they need to execute it?
At ACS Consulting, strategy is more than a plan, and we have been helping companies in all industries with their strategies since 2006.
Every company wants to create strong and sustainable value for its owners. But that requires making intelligent, often subtle, trade-offs between pursuing growth and focusing on margins, between reinvestment and shareholder payouts, and in how to allocate capital and other resources across the portfolio.
Team-up with ACS to find-out what it takes to build a strong business and get rewarded for it in the capital markets. We work side by side with executives to help their companies create unprecedented value.
We have deep experience in finance, organization design, M&A, investor relations management and change management. We help organizations create competitive advantages through strategic corporate finance.
We take an integrated view that links corporate strategy, financial strategy, transactions and a capital markets perspective to help executives and their teams create value.
We also help companies improve investor relations and effectively respond to activist investors. As you make critical decisions about allocating resources and seizing opportunities, we can help you:
Understand what drives total shareholder return (TSR) in your industry and benchmark your company’s performance against peers, using our TSR diagnostic. We help you enhance your capital markets strategy by pinpointing the root causes of gaps between intrinsic vs. market values and identifying ways to close them. We show you how to use your balance sheet as a strategic weapon, and how to develop your equity story to communicate effectively with investors and analysts.
Master your M&A strategy across the entire process, from valuation considerations, due diligence and preannouncement planning to merger integration, divestitures and separations, and support for selective parts of the IPO process. We have completed more than 100 M&A-related projects; over the course of a decade.
Create and lead a world-class finance function that creates shareholder value by uniting strategy, business planning, resource allocation, performance management and zero-based budgeting. We also help CFOs and other senior executives build winning operating models. Our extensive benchmarking databases help you significantly improve your operating effectiveness and efficiency.
Portfolio Strategy and Capital Allocation
One of the best ways for companies to create superior value is by excelling in portfolio strategy i.e. investing capital across its businesses, products, and initiatives to maximize returns. Companies that don’t systematically allocate capital to their most attractive opportunities risk fall in value.
Qualities of an Effective Portfolio Strategy
A good value creation strategy depends on a clear portfolio strategy and active portfolio management. These require the company to:
Define the value creation roles of the different businesses in the corporate portfolio. Each business in a portfolio has a unique role to play. Do you know which businesses will be your future growth engines? Which will mainly supply cash for other businesses to invest? Which will you need to turn around or consider selling?
Allocate capital differentially across the corporate portfolio. A clear portfolio strategy has an investment thesis for each business unit. Capital allocation depends on the unit’s current performance, future potential, and role in the portfolio. Try viewing it from the perspective of a long-term investor: Will this business be worth more in the future, and what can we do to maximize our return on investment?
Shape and reshape the business portfolio over time through M&A and divestiture. M&A and divestiture are critical parts of active portfolio management. Acquisitions are an important way to strengthen existing businesses or expand into new ones. Meanwhile, selling businesses that no longer fit in the portfolio can improve the value creation potential of the entire portfolio.
Finance Function Excellence
New demands and technologies are pushing the finance organization into the spotlight. There's a growing mandate for CFOs and finance departments to take on more strategic roles, yet too many CFOs still find their finance department stuck in traditional accounting-focused roles.
The finance function has undergone a radical shift in the last decade or so. Investors are more demanding, pushing companies to maximize the value-creation potential of their investments. Inefficient capital allocation is becoming a competitive disadvantage. At the same time, big data, real-time data, and other technological advances are providing new tools for finance to track financial performance. They’re also raising the stakes for excellence in performance management.
In response to this new environment, the role of the CFO is changing. Many of today’s CFOs are more than just traditional bookkeepers; they’re strategic partners to the business and champions of shareholder value.
These roles require the finance organization to develop more sophisticated metrics and models in order to track performance and manage risks. It’s not always easy to determine how far to move or how fast to change. What should be your approach to achieving finance function excellence? And what will it take to get from here to there?
The finance organization has a special role to play in delivering strong and sustainable value creation. It takes the lead in designing and managing many of the value-based processes necessary to implement a value creation strategy.
How ACS can help achieving that financial excellence?
ACS Consulting helps you align your finance function with your company's strategic priorities by defining which finance subfunctions must be world-class, what it will take to build them and how to successfully transform the function.
Over the past decade, ACS has worked on nearly 300 finance projects across industries and regions. Our proprietary approach draws on many aspects of ACS expertise, from Strategy to Digital to Performance Improvement.
With ACS assisting you with the transformation of your finance function, you can expect the following results:
Choose an investment posture that defines which finance subfunctions must be world class to support your strategy.
Use ACS Finance Excellence Diagnostic to determine the gap between the current and desired levels of each function's performance.
Create a roadmap of initiatives - quick wins, gains in efficiency, and important new or extended capabilities for your most strategic activities.
Reduce risks and ensure that changes stick using our proprietary Results Delivery approach.
Zero Based Budgeting
Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is a sustainable cost philosophy and a continuous, bottom-up approach for rigorously resetting the cost basis, which frees up capital to reinvest for growth. This growth enabler is gaining momentum in a CPG industry burdened by cost pressures.
Zero-based budgeting uncovers cost savings for companies, allowing them to reinvest in long-term sustainable growth opportunities, like innovation and product development, by resetting companies’ cost basis and ensuring it’s kept lean in the long-term. It’s about making smart choices on where to spend.
ZBB is also a cultural change that calls for a new set of roles, responsibilities, and processes. Success depends on accountability, and leadership needs to be invested in the outcomes.
Companies typically cut costs by combing line by line through the budget or via organizational restructuring. Yet the greatest success often comes from doing both. Used together, Zero-based Budgeting (ZBB) and Zero-based Redesign (ZBR) scrutinize every dollar and radically revamp your operating model to transform your company and deliver significant, long-lasting cost savings.
How Zero-Based Budgeting differs from typical cost cutting approaches?
Typical cost cutting approaches:
Are often one-time effort
Focus mostly on non-personnel and personnel costs only
Target the company or functional level overall
Take an isolated view on specific functions
Impact employee morale negatively
Zero Based Budgeting:
Is a continuous approach towards rigorously resetting cost bases
Targets the whole cost base, from non-personnel costs to CAPEX projects
Differentiates targets and cost accountability on budget-owner level
Takes a broader view on budget drivers, from organization setup to trade spent
If done right, stimulates an environment of change and motivates employees
Zero-based budgeting is not a one-time effort. And it isn’t right for every organization. Before choosing whether or not zero-based budgeting is the best approach for your company, be sure to weigh the following advantages and disadvantages:
When done right, zero-based budgeting can significantly reduce costs, and improve efficiency and competitiveness. It has the potential to prevent take overs, identify and grow top performers, and instill a cost-conscious culture throughout the organization.
Zero-based budgeting has a reputation of being extremely aggressive to bleed out an organization, and negatively impacting employee morale. It is extremely important for the company to find the right balance to operate in a successful, sustainable way.
How ACS can help?
At ACS consulting, we tightly link the zero-based budgeting capability to your strategy, ensuring that every dollar works toward your strategic priorities.
We create bespoke solutions that work for each client.
We go beyond the nuts and bolts to build new organizational capabilities, focusing on people, culture and behaviors to drive engagement and unlock organizational energy.
With ACS as your budgeting consultant, you can expect the following results:
Every dollar working
We will ensure every dollar is working toward your strategy.
We will infuse an ownership mindset throughout your organization.
Build new organizational muscles for continuous cost improvement.
Free up significant funds to invest.
M&A and Divestitures
M&A and divestitures are increasingly critical to business success. Why? Growth drives value creation, and acquisitions offer a way to grow when organic growth is limited.
Actively pruning the business portfolio over time also helps a company sustain its capacity to deliver value. It’s not easy as most M&As actually destroy value. The key is to manage corporate transactions as an industrial process, not an occasional activity.
For most companies now, M&A isn't an optional part of their strategy, rather, it's an essential component. ACS M&A strategy & capability helps you improve your odds of successful deals by honing your M&A objectives, building your M&A team and capability, and ensuring you have a repeatable process.
How ACS can help you with M&A success?
We have experience in more than 100 M&A-related projects across a wide range of industries and geographies.
Our M&A assessment tool allows you to prioritize the areas you need to develop so you can build up the M&A muscles of your organization.
We ensure you have a repeatable process that articulates the deal thesis while simultaneously creating the integration thesis and plan.
With ACS consulting as your M&A advisor, you can expect following results:
Articulated M&A strategy that aligns to your overall corporate strategy.
Clear understanding of what your M&A capability should look like.
Deal pipeline and screening process
Robust pipeline and repeatable process for screening potential deals.
ACS will ensure successful and effective post-merger integration
Successful integration is the key that unlocks the full value of your deal. ACS merger Integration helps you mitigate common risks and offers a systematic approach to managing change for your business, people and culture, ensuring results that exceed your deal expectations.
With ACS consulting as your post-merger integration advisor, you can expect following results:
Integration thesis and roadmap
Plan an integration tailored to the deal with the right balance of value and risk.
Achieve or exceed the value enabled by the transaction, while protecting the customer experience.
Aligned operating model
Align your operating model, people, and culture to deliver the strategy.
Sound processes and systems
Install sound business processes and systems for day one and beyond.
Forward looking approach
Make key decisions with a forward looking approach that addresses that addresses risks before they happen.
Value Creation Strategy
Every leader wants to build a company that is simultaneously a great business and a great stock. Delivering on either of those aspirations is hard enough; delivering on both is a supremely difficult challenge.
How do you do it? By crafting a comprehensive value creation strategy that aligns business strategy, financial strategy, and investor strategy.
The best way to develop a robust value creation strategy is to take a holistic approach that addresses three important areas of the company i.e. business strategy, financial policies, and interactions with investors.
When building a business strategy, start by developing a fact-based forecast of the cash flow and future performance that each part of the business is likely to contribute. Then, translate those business plans into an estimated contribution to the company’s future TSR. Finally, expand the realm of the possible. Explore alternatives that can take the business beyond the current status quo.
Decisions about how to allocate capital and other resources and what strategic moves are likely to create the most value need to be put into the broader context of creating sustainable competitive advantage. They also need to be assessed against the value creating potential of alternative uses of capital.
Most financially healthy companies generate cash well in excess of their reinvestment needs. What should they do with the excess cash? Although executives often overlook this question, it’s important to strike the right balance between cash kept on the balance sheet, share buybacks, and dividends returned to investors. Getting it right is a powerful way for companies to create alignment with their investors. What’s more, these alternative uses of capital have a direct impact on TSR and an indirect impact on a company’s valuation multiple. Therefore, decisions about a company’s financial policies need to be an explicit part of the company’s value creation strategy.
A good financial strategy should have a clear plan for the balanced use of equity, debt, and free cash flow.
It is the product of many decisions about issues such as capital structure, preferred credit rating, dividend policy, and the company’s share repurchase plan. Instead of approaching these decisions as discrete issues, they should be considered as part of a comprehensive value creation strategy.
A successful value creation strategy needs to reflect the priorities and expectations of the company’s most important investors. Sometimes, that means listening carefully to what your current investors want. Sometimes, it means migrating the investor base to new types of investors who are more likely to be in sync with management’s strategy.
In either case, the trick is to start thinking of investors more like a company thinks of customers.
That is, segment them into different categories based on investment style and priorities, and identify the right investor type for the company. Among the key questions to consider:
Who are our dominant investors right now?
Are they the investors who are likely to support our value creation strategy?
Do current or desired investors find the company’s strategy credible?
What can we do to create better alignment between our strategy and our investor base?
Value-Based Processes & Culture
A company’s value creation strategy is only as strong as its value management capability, which drives a company’s processes and organizational culture. This is the foundation on which everything rests.
At many organizations, the typical planning process results in one-dimensional business plans that are extremely difficult for senior executives to understand and assess. They’re built on best-guess estimates with no transparency on how individual initiatives will contribute to overall results; little or no assessment of the risks inherent in the plan, and a weak link between operating targets and TSR.
A better approach is to follow an iterative process that starts with a base case, a financial projection of the value that a business unit will generate simply by doing business as usual.
Then the company can overlay a series of discrete initiatives that have the potential to improve the base case. Each overlay is associated with a specific amount of TSR it will contribute and a specific timeframe in which that value will be delivered.
One of the great advantages of this approach is that it provides clear guidance for business units in terms of budgets, key performance indicators (KPIs), and management incentives. In effect, it creates a culture where every part of the business has a sense of ownership in the process.
Core Business Growth
Growth is imperative, possible, and perilous. It drives nearly three-quarters of shareholder returns over a ten-year period, but fewer than half the companies that go for growth create value in the process.
While an organization's starting position suggests the most likely paths to growth, true value-creating growth requires two things: defining the right strategy i.e. the vector or direction, and then putting the right amount of thrust behind it.
For businesses in rather advanced stages of the life-cycle, very often the core business is responsible for most of the company’s success to date, and it could propel future growth as well. But only 10% of companies maintain profitable growth for a decade or more.
ACS helps you build and reinforce a repeatable model based on your greatest strengths. Discover how to create a stable platform for expansion and achieve that rarest of feats, sustained, profitable growth. Learn how leading organizations are pivoting successfully from revenue stagnation to value-generating growth. ACS leverages a rich understanding of strategy and the underlying drivers of growth, and brings deep creativity to help clients chart a path to breakthrough growth.
Team up with ACS to find your success path. ACS business & financial advisory capabilities include: business analysis & transformation, budgeting & financial modelling, business valuation, corporate finance, advanced financial management and financial risk management.
Leading change through constant disruption requires a new focus on the people and organizational dimensions of business transformation.
The business world today is facing a new reality, one of economic unpredictability, disruptive technology, globalization, and unprecedentedly fierce competition. In such an environment, the traditional ways of achieving a competitive advantage - such as scale and proprietary assets - are no longer enough. The ability of a company to address these new realities, adapt to the changing conditions, and deliver bold change is increasingly critical to gain competitive advantage. That means more comprehensive and more frequent change programs. Many boards have appointed CEOs and senior executives with that explicit mandate, and almost all leaders recognize the need to take even successful enterprises to new levels of performance.
Despite all the investments, organizational change initiatives have a spotty record i.e. evidence indicates that 50% of change programs fail to achieve their objectives.
The failure rate increases to 75% for more complex programs. The traditional approach to change management is itself in need of change and executives need to understand the stumbling blocks that cause transformation efforts to fail. In global surveys, two factors are increasingly recognized as the leading causes of this failure:
A lack of clearly defined milestones and objectives to gauge progress
Insufficient commitment by senior management
Success requires overcoming these challenges head-on, through a comprehensive and structured change effort that includes the right mix of processes, governance, metrics, and behaviors.
Moreover, building superior and lasting change capabilities has become a competitive advantage. Companies that are ready, willing, and able to face the challenges of change initiatives are better equipped to manage new changes over time.
How ACS can help overcoming these challenges?
Based on over a decade of experience and a careful analysis of many global companies, at ACS, we have developed a differentiated point of view on change initiatives i.e. one that delivers results. We help you move past traditional change management approaches so you can:
Structure, orchestrate and enable the change your organization needs to make, by focusing on the coaching and capability building that are essential to winning buy-in and making change stick. We work with you on every facet of this change approach, and support these efforts with a sophisticated cloud-based tool that helps you track, and accelerate, every facet of your change initiatives.
Re-energize a transformation effort by tackling the single biggest reason transformations stall: lack of energy. ACS helps you renew your commitment to the goal and rekindle excitement throughout the organization. We also help you address the behavioral issues that often hamper any type of change initiative.
Demonstrate the leadership necessary to making change happen, so that the senior team is fully aligned and embodies a shared sense of purpose that inspires the broader organization. Our unique co-creation approach can help you unleash the collective talents and insights of your team, reminding them of what they’ve achieved so far, and motivating them to achieve even more.
Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility
Sustainability is a critical business issue. Competitive advantage flows to companies that know how to do more with less. Winning organizations are embedding sustainability into their business models and governance processes to capture growth opportunities, resource advantages, and cost savings.
The normal rules of business don’t stop when it comes to sustainability and corporate responsibility. ACS helps both private and public-sector companies embed those principles in the core of their strategy, operations and culture to make sustainability a source of ongoing and increasing value.
Sustainability efforts should be anchored in business fundamentals, demonstrate a clear return on investment, and be firmly embedded within your strategy and operations. We can help you address critical issues related to sustainability strategy, the environmental and social impact of operations, stakeholder engagement, and sustainability-related growth and cost opportunities.
How ACS can help anchoring sustainability efforts in your business fundamentals?
At ACS consulting, our distinguished consultants specialize in helping you:
Develop a sustainability strategy that addresses social, environmental and economic issues while focusing on the areas that are integral to your core business strategy and will achieve a positive material impact.
Seize opportunities to make operations more sustainable, particularly for companies in resource-intensive industries.
Optimize the use of natural resources and make supply chains more efficient.
Pursue investment options that account for environmental, social and governance criteria. We help investors of all types, including private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, investment funds and family offices, factor sustainability issues into their decisions.
Organize for success in sustainability, by addressing change management challenges and other potential barriers to results. Only 2% of companies achieve their sustainability goals. We can help you join that elite club by working with you on operating models and governance, impact metrics and incentives, leadership alignment and support, and creating a strong case for change.
Today’s business volatility is unprecedented & transformation is not an option but a business imperative.
Whether the causes of volatility are new technologies and digitalization, globalization, blurred industry boundaries, regulation, energy dynamics, or other factors, the message is clear: transformation isn’t an option, it’s a business imperative. Forward-thinking companies are launching transformations even when they dominate a market, retooling themselves so they stay ahead. The goal is a transformation that’s focused, sustainable, and able to deliver measurable results.
Being the strongest or largest player in an industry no longer ensures success in today's global marketplace. Companies now need a solid transformation strategy to compete in an increasingly complex business environment.
How ACS can help with Full Potential Transformations?
Full Potential Transformations are the core of what we've done at ACS for more than 13 years. If your company is falling short of its full potential, we can guide you on a cross-functional effort to change the financial, operational and strategic trajectory of your business and produce game-changing results.
Corporate leaders have a core set of levers they can pull to help their organizations reach full potential. We guide you through a series of questions to identify, sequence and implement the changes and actions that will put your company on a trajectory toward sustained value creation. Transformation programs can take many forms, from moderate restructurings to full-scale turnarounds, and may be motivated by a desire to expand into uncharted territory or a need to navigate through dire financial and competitive circumstances.
There is, however, one common factor: a readiness to disrupt the status quo in pursuit of growth.
Our approach to transformation relies on experts across a full set of capabilities, supported by our deep experience in the following areas:
Customer Strategy & Marketing