It was a moment of insight that Heather Dixon remembers having not once but twice during the untold number of hours she has spent in examining how divisional numbers were being “rolled up” to be reported.
In the process of rolling up certain numbers, Dixon noted that parts of a division’s business would be exhibiting outstanding performance, but when the division reported its results, the parts were frequently hidden.
Observes Dixon: “These divisions were really doing a lot better than how things appeared on the page.”Read More
For Dixon, whose resume includes chief accounting officer stints at both Aetna and Walgreens, the reported numbers were frequently not the problem—instead, it was how the companies were accustomed to explaining their results.
As Dixon explains it, a moment of divisional insight at different companies prompted finance to mobilize a company-wide effort “to tell the story better.”
Says Dixon: “We went through a recalibration internally when we said, ‘Let’s look at all of the things that we do as a company and pull them apart and figure out how to put them together in the right way.’”
According to Dixon, “the right way” is an approach that helps investors to better understand the company.
“If the market understands what you’re doing and they understand the pieces of your company, they can give you a multiple that values each division of your company separately—and they can really expand these multiples for the segments that exhibit performance that deserves higher numbers,” she notes.
What began as an examination of how one division rolled up its numbers ultimately became a wake-up call for the company’s reporting at large:
“What I have twice seen in my experience is that we were able to take the multiple for the overall company up. Again, same company, same building blocks, higher multiple—all because we decided to report the information in a little bit of a different way.” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Everside Health … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Dixon: We effectively help companies to manage the total cost of care for their employees. Many employers are self-insured for the health insurance benefits that they provide to their employees and the dependents of their employees. Over 100 million Americans get their insurance through these types of arrangements. These employers are on the hook, so to speak, for the cost of healthcare for their employees. These healthcare costs are going up—up and to the right, to use finance terms—in a very significant way. They go up, on average, around 6%, 7%, maybe 8% per year. If you’re a CFO and you’re looking at costs that are coming through your P&L, you’re seeing something that just keeps going up every year—so you need to look at ways to manage this. What we do is to come in and really help to manage these costs for the employers by providing primary care to their employee base and their dependents as well, as the front door to doing it all.Read More
We typically save employers 17% by Year 3, about 31% by Year 5. These are big numbers. When you think of the cost of healthcare in this country, you realize that these are really big numbers, numbers that are achieved just by engaging early and often and providing really good care—starting with primary care—to their employee and dependent base. This has also made a huge difference in the lives of the employees. It keeps them happy at work. It keeps them at work, certainly, in these days when we especially need to keep people healthy, but it also really does help companies to manage their total cost of care and keep their employees healthy all the time.
We are a high-growth company. I want to make sure that I support the growth in the business. I’m always there to support us when we have great opportunities, so this would really be my first priority. The second would be to really help to drive the business through usable, real-time, very quick insights. Gone are the days of saying, “Gosh, we’ll get you the financial results in 20 days or 15 days.” Today, we need to be nimble, and I would say that finance people aren’t generally known for being agile and nimble. They’re pretty fixed, usually reliable, usually predictable—but we need to move outside of this comfort zone and really become a real-time partner to the business and be able to provide real-time insights at the right level, so that as a business we can make the right decisions in a timely manner.
“Be bold with career choices. Be confident in your ability and don’t underestimate yourself. You won’t know what you are capable of until you try.” -Heather Dixon, CFO, Everside Health
Everside Health | www.eversidehealth.com | Denver, Colorado.