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Fast Tracking Finance: Preparing Finance Employees for Merger Integration


While change management has been solidified in the business lexicon, many finance executives tend to focus on the dollars and cents aspect of change, giving insufficient attention to the people side. This is especially true in mergers, acquisitions, carve-outs or other organisational restructurings - exactly the situations that call for a particularly strong focus on the workforce. When restructurings are announced, or even rumoured, employees will naturally worry about their job security, whether they will need to relocate and if their workloads will increase. Taxand US discusses the five components of change management that have been proven highly effective when preparing finance employees for a transition.

1. Providing Leadership
The CFO and other executives must provide clear leadership for the organisation before, during and after the transition. Each must be able to clearly articulate the company's strategy, the reason behind the business move, and continuously provide employees with progress updates and frequent reminders of the transaction benefits. In other words, let employees know what's in it for them.

2. Working Together: The Project Management Office
The most effective merger strategies involve full-time, dedicated resources to lead integration activities and support the steering committees. At this stage, finance must work closely with other departments to coordinate integration activities.

3. Engaging Your Employees: Communication
A communications program must be developed and implemented as early as possible to get ahead of the inevitable rumours. In the absence of facts, employees and external parties will often assume the worst. Proactive internal communications can build valued employees' understanding, alignment and trust, which ultimately gains their support. It will also help to preserve the culture the company has worked so hard to build.

4. Preparing Employees for Their Roles: Knowledge Transfer
While training is rarely a high priority during merger integration for finance personnel immersed in integration activities, the CFO should appoint dedicated resources to manage knowledge transfer and training. This prepares employees for their future jobs and shows that the company values their contributions.

5. Governing Employee Placements
There is an opportunity, and sometimes a requirement to meet synergy targets, to reorganize the finance team during the transition. As employees already have full workloads, it is crucial to execute any necessary changes with efficiency.

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Taxand's Take

No matter how seamlessly a transaction is executed, change inevitably presents the possibility of losing valued employees, particularly finance resources. The CFO can increase the likelihood of a successful merger by providing clear leadership, coordinating activities across functions, engaging with and communicating to employees, providing knowledge and training, and placing the right people in the right roles.

Your Taxand Contacts for further queries are:
Joseph Berardino
T. + 1 212 763 1942

Mike Davidson
T. + 1 713 547 3640

Taxand's Take Author