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TorontoTorontoCalgaryAtlantic Provinces Mon - Fri 10:00-17:00 1 (866) 677-3007 Mon - Fri 10:00-18:00 403-807-1111 Mon - Fri 10:00-18:00 902-830-8868
FEI Canada
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Entrepreneur Successions

Entrepreneur Successions

FEI Canada Entrepreneur Successions Thought Leadership Committee
FEI Canada Entrepreneur Successions Thought Leadership Committee 

Your Entrepreneur Successions Thought Leadership Committee is made up of fellow FEI private company CFO’s who are a resource for private company members seeking guidance on  the challenging issues of entrepreneur successions and transitions. 


  • Provide insights and direction on issues that private company CFO’s face with Entrepreneur Successions including roundtable discussions, links to relevant topical information, answers to some of the most recurring succession & transition questions.
  • Provide you peer to peer direct access to your Entrepreneur Successions Thought Leadership Committee.

Introducing Your Entrepreneur Successions Thought Leadership Committee

Amanda Vella

Senior Director, Business Advisory & Transition Consultant | ATB Financial


Jeff Resnick

CFO | Red-L Distributors Ltd.


Duncan McPhedran

CFO & President | Big Guns Energy Services Inc.

Michael Fricker

Qvella Corporation | CFO

Gerard A. De Souza

Managing Director | Distinct Capital Partners

Kam Thind

CFO of Summit, An Earth Services Company

FEI Canada Private Companies Committee: Entrepreneur Succession Thought Leadership

A platform to help fellow FEI private CFOs with their owners’ “exit” challenges

FEI Canada’s Private Companies Committee is made up of fellow FEI members who work in the private sector and who are predominantly private company CFOs. 

Most of us are not experts in “exit planning” and we certainly don’t have all the answers. 

But we’ve spent most of our entire careers working in the entrepreneurial environment and, as an FEI Canada community, we have a wealth of knowledge and handson experience in dealing with private company owners.
What follows are three general stages of ownership transition that you will face.  
We’ve outlined some key points in each stage, but this is only the starting point for you to reach out to us and have a one-to-one call. Find a Private Companies Committee member by either: 

•  Scrolling through your FEI Private Companies Committee members bio’s, 

•  From the list of FEI Private Companies Committee members noted in each of the three stages below, or,

•  Any of your Entrepreneur Succession Thought Leadership Committee members noted above. 

Every “reach-out” call is within the “safe haven” that is FEI Canada and will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.   


  • Your role as CFO is to mitigate risks. Its important that your business owner understand that in the event something unexpected happens there needs to be a plan in place that ensures the ongoing viability of the company and protects the owner’s wealth. This includes having a contingency plan in place for how the business will operate and that you have an understanding of you owner's ultimate wishes for their company. 
  • Many entrepreneurs will simply not approach the issue of their exit / ownership transition until an event occurs that forces their hand. When these events occur, and a quick sale is necessary, the results could very well be both unpleasant and not maximize the value outcome. Regrettably for the CFO, in cases such as these, efforts to encourage even thinking about an “exit” can prove futile and frustrating for all parties, and as such there is not much a CFO can do.
  • It’s possible however that this topic is weighing on your owner, and they simply have not confided in you – often because they don’t know where to begin. There are non-threatening steps a CFO can take that might get the owner opening up to this. One of the best ways to grab your owner’s attention is to focus on how to maximize their after tax “profits” from selling their company --- every owner enjoys exploring how to get even richer!
  • Ways to get the exit conversation rolling:

    Get the “tax” discussion going.

    The easiest step relates to tax planning – a surprisingly large number of entrepreneurs have not taken the fairly basic steps to maximize their post sale proceeds through taking advantage of Canada Revenue’s Lifetime Capital Gains exemptions for sales of private companies, but this doesn’t happen over night and there are timing rules that could impact this over several years, so moving on this now is critical. Taking this simple step could get the conversation started.
  • Get the “valuation” discussion going.

    Every owner wants to know the value of their company and starting down this road could open up discussions on how planning for an exit, no matter when it occurs, can significantly increase a company’s value. Use FEI’s Private Company Thought Leadership webinars to bring your owner in to learn about how companies are valued (a Private Company M&A Thought Leadership topic) and “war story” roundtables from your Succession Thought Leadership Committee.
  • Explore how to get the ownership transition discussion started and call:


Understanding the process and preparing the company for sale
  • This can be all very intimidating for an owner, to a large part because they are entering into unknow waters. As their CFO, you can be of unmeasurable help to them. As CFO you can help the owner gain an understanding of the various steps of the process, the various players involved and their roles and, as importantly, the timing required (which is always many months more than the owner thinks.)
  • Walking them through this process – from how to get the company ready for sale, helping them understand what drives a company’s valuation, choosing the right sales approach (targeted potential buyers, open market sale, management buyout, generational transfer) and supporting their tax planning goals – are all areas where you, as their CFO, can add real and substantial value.
  • One of the best ways to optimize your company’s full value, and as CFO guide your owner, is to have a clear understanding of the actions that can, and should be, taken several years before you actually put the company on the market to create the most attractive profile for your company including:
  • 1. Creating a track record of increasing or accelerating EBITDA and an issue free balance sheet 2. Improving the intangible value drivers (aka “Goodwill”) through building a strong management team with no reliance on the owner or key employees; a strong documented strategic plan (3-5 years out); strong customer diversification (no customer >15% of revenue); evidence of recurring revenue (sustainable, repeatable, contractual); and a demonstration of strong growth potential. 3. Tax planning will need at least two years to be effective and should be done in conjunction with a team of aligned experts. 4. Structural components of value should be solidified – legal matters attended to / cleansed; deal killers eliminated; redundant assets removed from the company. 5. Owners’ personal financial plans need to be flushed out with the appropriate outside professionals.
  • Explore understanding the process and preparing your company for sale and call:


Selling the Company and exploring options
  • Selling to a Third Party

    Here again you, as the company’s CFO, can take a lead role, be it a sale to a strategic, private equity or others. Your owner will not only be relying on you to get the company “sale ready” but will also need your guidance throughout the sales process from hiring the right advisors, helping pull together the Confidential Information Memorandum, quarterbacking the data room and due diligence support, and helping to evaluate the forthcoming offers.
  • Selling to Management

    Owners often don’t consider giving management a chance to make an offer for the company simply because they don’t believe management is interested since they have never brought it up before. And management often doesn’t express this interest either because they fear that it would be perceived as disloyal, or they simply don’t believe that they could pull a deal together that the owner would accept.
  • The management buyout option is a far greater likelihood than management groups realize and you, as CFO, can take a real leadership role here.
  • Explore the options for selling your Company and call:

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