River City Six – Brett Frevert
Meet Brett Frevert, managing director of CFO Systems, LLC (CFOSystemsLLC.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
At CFO Systems, our mission is to help our clients grow. We provide financial and HR leadership to CFOs, controllers, and HR directors. We do this on a timeshare, or ‘fractional’ basis, to serve the middle market entity that needs strong leadership at times when it is most crucial, rather than full-time.
How did you get started in the business?
Most of the team “trained” for it during their early careers, with a wide range of roles, employers, and industries. In 2004, we saw a growing wave of middle market entities searching for a CFO, yet what they really needed was a CFO for one-two days or weeks, and a senior accountant for five days or weeks. We created our model to provide that.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Leaving our largest client (40% of revenue) in 2012 to reinvent CFO Systems. That move, however, launched us on a four-year run on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Helping our clients grow! Client growth comes in many ways—financial, intellectual, or efficiency. Examples include helping a client grow revenue from $20 to $110 million, and another client from $17 to $75 million. I was also a part of assisting a client to avoid shutting down a division they had invested $2.8 million into and then guiding that same client to sell the division for $4 million within three years.
Tell us a little about your family.
I have four amazing kids, ranging from 17 to 29 years in age. My youngest just started her senior year; I’m cruising toward my “empty nester” status.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Wow. There are several. Definitely becoming a dad in 1989 and leaving my final ‘job’ in 2004 to launch CFO Systems, with four young kids, and six weeks until Christmas. Also, I would add my China trip in 2012, where I learned the value of extensive thinking time, which completely flipped the CFO Systems model to what it is today.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Something active—DIY projects, Husker sports, thinking time on my Harley, travel, etc.
What are you the most proud of?
Kids and clients. That’s been my phrase for years. My family is my legacy; they are sixth-generation Nebraskans, and my 92-year old father still wakes every day in the house he was born in, half a mile west of the original 1868 homestead.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
From author Stephen R. Covey: “The first thing is to know what the first thing is.” Priorities drive (or lead) our lives. The wisdom is quoted in numerous ways throughout history, whether ancient philosophers, biblical authors, or modern-day self-help gurus. We all have the ability to choose where to invest our time, talent and treasure. It’s up to me to choose wisely.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” I’m a patriot, through and through.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with?
Project Harmony, Youth Frontiers, and Ronald McDonald House.
What is your favorite movie?
Rocky and Remember the Titans.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?
Tip O’Neill. I’d love to know what is was like to work with Reagan, and how was it they got so much done.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?