John Morris

Providing CFO services and Business Transition Services in Minnesota

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About John

John Morris

Minneapolis, MN CFO

32 Years of Experience

Direct Contact

johnmorris@b2bcfo.com

(612) 385-9199

Universities:

University of Minnesota

Certificates & Licenses:

BSA '80, MBT '86

Organizations:

Financial Executives International

Contact John Morris and receive a free Discovery Analysis™

  • A confidential meeting with the business owner(s), then interview company staff.
  • Look at the company’s financial information and computer systems.
  • Benchmark financial information against industry averages.
  • Create a confidential report of our findings in The Strategy Gameplan™







John’s Bio

John is a roll up the sleeves finance executive who has been helping entrepreneurs grow and manage their businesses for over 30 years. He began his career at Coopers & Lybrand LLP (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) where he rose to be a sought after partner, and regional technology industry leader. He then exercised his entrepreneurial bug and helped form and manage a technology services company which he helped sell after seven years of operating success.

John then joined a software as a service company (SaaS) in the mortgage origination and fulfillment sector. While with the company he led the sale of a joint venture and ultimately the sale of the company twice. Once to a partner and the second time he led the sale of the combined entity to a competitor.

Known for being a strong communicator, principled leader, and problem solver; John has been successful at creating and building businesses and relationships. He is able to create positive relationships and results. He has a proven record of creating and improving business processes to enhance efficiency and leverage capital within complex corporate structures.

John’s experience includes:

  • Creating new business from plan to profitable operation
  • Maintaining and building strong relationships with stakeholders
  • Restructuring equity relationships
  • Creating sustainable business models
  • Implementing and utilizing technology to enhance efficiency and productivity
  • Merger and acquisition planning and execution
  • Strategic planning
  • Business process creation, improvement and measurement
  • Joint venture consulting
  • Capital formation strategy
  • Cash flow consulting
  • Product pricing strategy
  • Intellectual property protection and management

John has a Masters degree in Business Taxation from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota where he also earned his Bachelors degree in Accounting. He a member of Financial Executives International. He and his wife Susan live in Minneapolis.

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Recent Articles

Aug 10John Morris

What I Learned as a Paper Boy | Early Business Lessons

Aug 10John Morris
Newspaper Early Business Lessons

I was sitting at a lunch with clients and their private equity owners and we were having a discussion of first jobs. Many of us had delivered papers as our first jobs. I had not focused on the fundamental, blocking and tackling business lessons we had learned until we were talking about it at the lunch. Not only business lessons, but foundational keep the doors open lessons we had learned from that job. These lessons are as important today as

Jul 26John Morris

What Do Successful Business Leaders Do?

Jul 26John Morris

I have had the good fortune to work with a few really good business leaders and owners; and more than a few not so good business leaders and owners.  And while there are a number of traits that the good leaders possess and use, there are two that I believe are critical: Insane long-term focus on the business strategy Extraordinary devotion and relationships with all employees Focus It’s easy to believe that you are intensely focused on your business strategy

Feb 15John Morris

IRS Repair Regulations

Feb 15John Morris
Monopoly Game Board Income Tax

I have never been overly persuaded by business owners complaining of government over-regulation. I have been a business owner and generally I did not think complying with government regulations created a significant burden. Until now. The beleaguered IRS, resource constrained as it is, has seen fit to create onerous compliance requirements on business. Briefly, taxpayers are required to file a Form 3115 accounting method change application to essentially keep doing what they have always been doing. The accounting method change has to do with accounting for

Jan 17John Morris

What CEO’s Want from CFO’s

Jan 17John Morris
Small CEO At Conference

As I’ve written before, the job of CFO has changed and continues to change. We’re not just the numbers people anymore. We have to turn numbers and data into actionable information. We can’t be the CF nO. We have to find a way to make things happen and face the challenges of limited resources (cash and people). CFO’s have to focus on all parts of the P&L. We have to be comfortable working with the revenue side of the business. We

Jan 3John Morris

New Business Opportunities

Jan 3John Morris
Black And White Thumbs Up

The benefit of experience is the opportunity to make a bunch of mistakes. Wisdom is exhibited by not repeating those mistakes. The benefit of a new year is to start fresh and 2015 promises to be an active year for businesses. The economy continues to improve and it is likely new business deals will be presented to you. Resolve to yourself that you will look at promising business opportunities with a critical eye. Do your due diligence. If a deal reminds you of one

Dec 20John Morris

Stress

Dec 20John Morris
Christmas Lights Snowman And Decorations

As we go deep into the holiday season our stress levels can increase. The combination of closing out the year at work, finalizing plans for business in the new year, and dealing with the myriad of family issues that tend to be exaggerated at the holidays can increase stress. There are also a number of stress reduction techniques to help you get through these challenging times. See this column from Forbes. There are no surprises here, just well-articulated common sense.

Dec 6John Morris

Lean Finance Departments

Dec 6John Morris
Business People In A Huddle

I’m always suspicious when I start to work with a new client and there is an abundance of finance and accounting personnel. Or alternatively, when a finance chief complains about a lack of resources or time. I’ve never thought that throwing bodies at a problem does much of anything other than build some finance chief’s fiefdom and increase corporate overhead costs. Unless the business is growing or entering new businesses or markets, finance departments should be looking for ways to

Nov 22John Morris

Wages Rising

Nov 22John Morris
Black And White Going Up Sign

If you are a business owner and haven’t already experienced it, get ready for your employment costs to increase. Especially if you employ skilled workers. While the U.S. is not quite at full employment and still not experiencing the kind of robust recovery we had hoped for, the economy has quietly continued to create jobs. The result is fewer available candidates and new upward pressure on wages. See the Bloomberg article. Many companies had been able to satisfy their needs

Nov 8John Morris

Analytics

Nov 8John Morris
Mini Data Workers On Device

I have talked in the past about Big Data; the need for CFO’s to be integral in the process of collecting and analyzing data.  Smart CFO’s then create analytics out of analysis. Analytics can include several different types.  See this article in InformationWeek for a more detailed description of three: Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive.  See the comments at the end for other models of analytics. Briefly, many businesses use descriptive analytics.  They are the run of the mill historical analyses that take

Oct 18John Morris

Work with a CFO, not a CF No

Oct 18John Morris
No Painted In White On Red

Finance departments and CFO’s have had a reputation of answering all requests with no. In fact, many finance departments still have that reputation. We had become CF No’s. It was too easy to respond to any new idea with all of the reasons it could not work. And despite my earlier commentary on August 23, 2014 about “No Being Easy”, that discussion was about making difficult decisions rather than just saying no. What finance people need to do, and most importantly CFO’s,

Sep 13John Morris

Challenges of the M&A Process

Sep 13John Morris
Small Bumpy Road Ahead Sign

I am a veteran of a number of sell side transactions. Seeing a business sale to the end is a landmark achievement. The process is filled with obstacles all the way through. See the FERF Executive Report for a discussion of the various challenges. One of the most significant challenges is to keep business momentum moving forward. This is much easier than it sounds. Business owners must balance the needs of continuing to strategically lead and manage a business, while at the

Aug 23John Morris

“No is easy”

Aug 23John Morris
Easy Button From Staples

…“when yes is not an option” said an associate of mine when he and I were members of the same CFO round table. While this phrase can have many implications, it explains that most decisions are easy, but in reality are difficult to execute. One decision frequently faced by CFO’s is the request to spend when cash is tight and the ROI does not meet minimum parameters. This is especially the case when the request is coming from the CEO.

Aug 16John Morris

Presentation Season

Aug 16John Morris
People At A Meeting

Fall will soon be upon us. For many organizations it is also budget season. That means strategy sessions and budget presentations. We have interminably long slide shows to look forward to. Or do we. I was at a continuing education session this week and someone described what CFO’s do as “creating a story out of the numbers, and finding numbers in the story”. I wish I had thought of this because that is what we do. We have to explain to

Aug 9John Morris

Remote Employees

Aug 9John Morris
Small Laptop And Phone On Table

In my CFO practice I am seeing more and more remote workers as well as geographic disparate hierarchies.  That is, employee’s supervisors resident in one location while the employee is resident in a different location. Such work arrangements will become more common and more global in the future. The millennial generation will continue to seek work practice flexibility.  Further, such arrangements add to employee loyalty and engagement, while helping the organization to reduce real estate costs. With new work arrangements

Aug 2John Morris

Strategic Risk Assessment

Aug 2John Morris
Monopoly Houses On Top Of Poker Chips

When describing what I do as a CFO, I often say we create strategies to convert non-cash assets into cash. For example collecting A/R, minimizing inventory or improving capital equipment utilization. I also add that our job is to mitigate risk. Mitigating risk is really about identifying risk and creating alternatives to reduce the chance of a negative event damaging the organization. Strategic risk is often the most difficult to identify. A company’s leadership team is so tightly attached to

Mar 31John Morris

Big Data

Mar 31John Morris

Every business creates reams of data, essentially “Big Data”.  But it doesn’t mean anything unless information can be gleaned from the data. CFO’s have full access to the financial data; true information comes from layering in operating data.  CFO’s need to be in the business talking to managers; understanding the complete business story. See FEI’s discussion of what leading CFO’s are doing. Collecting data is the first step; understanding and turning it into information is the challenge and goal of