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Key roles after going public

We are about to go public and while working on the IPO preparations and processes, I would like to know what are the key positions needed after the IPO. This is my first IPO and I’m not clear on what life will be afterwards. One of the key roles must be the investor relations role, but what are the other key roles in order to be successful after the IPO.


(Controller and VP) |

I would work with your auditors and have an IPO readiness session. They can help you understand where gaps might be in your org structure and help with recommended timing of getting key roles in place.

I've attended a few seminars in this area and the key roles include a SEC Reporting (and/or Accounting Policy - can be combined or separate, depending on size and complexity of your business); Internal Audit/SOX compliance (either in house or outsourced), Investor Relations and Tax.

Topic Expert
Al Cochran
Title: CFO
Company: Amendia, Inc. and Vivex Biomedical, Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Amendia, Inc. and Vivex Biomedical, Inc.) |

I concur with the comments made above and kudos for recognizing the importance of a robust investor relations strategy. I have served as CFO for four public companies and in my most recent position brought on board a VP-IR rather than outsourcing or handling myself. One of the best decisions I've ever made.

The focus on attainment of the business plan is also critical to success as a new public company. A miss can put you in the penalty box from which it could be difficult to recover - executing well demonstrates to investors that the management team understands the business and has good visibility.

Finally, I would suggest establishing a disclosure committee to include operations into the consideration of events that should be considered for disclosure in the periodic filings. Reinforces the criticality of disclosures required of the company as a registrant and the role that operations can play therein.

Good luck and enjoy the ride....

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Great comments! I would also look into the solidifying your analytic and predictive roles (and processes). Your projections and as well as how you analyze past performance will have a major impact on your stock price.

Mitchell Cohen
Title: Advisor and Consultant
Company: Various
(Advisor and Consultant, Various) |

I've been the CFO of 5 public companies and, while I can name many, I'll chip in with the following:

Set a calendar of key dates of when your filings are due. More specifically, if your 10-Q is due 45 days after quarter end, have a set of deliverables that make a realistic timeline of when you can get your draft to the audit committee and auditors so there isn't that stressful close.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Can I reinforce and stress the aforementioned biz plan, specifically budgeting and attaining key figures in that forecasting (sales, net income, EPS) that the "street" finds so important.

Many of the companies today who are not public (and some who are) do a very poor job of forecasting.

(Director of Corporate Accounting) |

If your size allows for it one of the big 4 audit firms will help a lot with the process. They are more expensive than smaller firms but you get what you pay for.

First I would make sure you have a good VP of Finance/Controller with public company experience. The accounting rules and controls required are a lot more onorous than when you were private. The other key people you need are SEC reporting, Tax, internal audit and legal counsel. To do all these things requires a lot so it might be good to hire a key person but outsource some of the work for example hire an internal audit director but outsource the work, at least for a short period of time until you can bring it in house. The internal audit director can work with the firm hired to gain knowledge and make it easier to bring the function back inside. The amount of SOX legwork that needs to be performed prior to going public is a lot. Lastly, investor relations are needed. Some CFOs do that themselves but depending on your size of company it might not require an investor relations person. Other important things you need are audit committees, disclosure committees etc but those are required for a public company. Good luck.

Monica Lopez
Title: Director, Total Rewards
Company: Cloud Peak Energy
(Director, Total Rewards, Cloud Peak Energy) |

I'm a Total Rewards Director for a mining company and was hired shortly after my company went public. That said, the lessons I learned will only apply based on the benefits you choose to offer, compensation philosophy and human resources policies you adopt, i.e., total rewards strategy. If you have a team of HR professionals that don't have public company experience, hire them now--before the IPO and save yourself compliance issues, re-work, legal costs, employee relations issues, etc. Because the HR team that assisted with the IPO and establishment of policies, benefits, compensation structure and the like were not experts in these areas (company was a spin-off and received HR support from parent company), nor had public experience, there were a number of issues I had to unravel and correct. My advise is do it right in the beginning and save money in the long run. Hire the right HR talent far in advance of the IPO to insure the makings of a solid foundation in which to support the business and reward employees.

(Principal Sales Consultant) |

I'm in the same boat. On the verge of going public. Our auditors have referred me to several IPO readiness firms primarily based out of the San Francisco area. My CEO is already adding the following headcount - Investor Relations and Bus. Strategy & Development. We are on the fence on whether to hire an attorney or outsource to our current firm to handle the on-going SEC filings. We know one thing that by going public we will be adding approx. $300k in annual costs for being a public company and maintaining SEC reporting and investor relations.
We are a small start-up and non-revenue generating at this time. My strength is in the details and day to day operations. I am filling my gaps with the IPO readiness firm.

(Managing Director) |

You should be engaging investor relations BEFORE you go public, as much as a year ahead of time. You may leverage your attorneys and auditors for help on SEC filings, but you need to "own" them. Your investors will hold you accountable for them.

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