FORTIS Restores Accountability with Fractional Controller Placement

Few industries are as stressful as foodservice. Consider these numbers:

Tensions are high by default. So imagine the stress of running a business that offers both a sit-down restaurant experience and catering. Now, think about how you would feel if you entrusted your business financials to someone you can’t depend on for timely or accurate reporting. This was unfortunately the case for Colette’s Catering & Events (Colette’s), who contacted FORTIS to find dependable financial leadership.


Thankfully, FORTIS was able to place a highly skilled fractional controller, who turned things around for the Fullerton, California-based establishment almost immediately. The placement improved the client’s ability to get the financial information they needed to make swift decisions in a demanding market.


Setting the Scene

Colette’s is well-known in the region as a best-in-class catering service—business has gone so well for them, in fact, that they opened Benchmark, a celebrated restaurant in Santa Ana. After parting ways with their financial consultant of 10 years, Colette’s was referred to a consultancy to find a replacement.


“We went through three or four different account managers with this particular firm,” said Leanna Smith, Director of Business Operations for Colette’s Catering & Events. “Each time, I had to retrain them on our business. By the end of our engagement, we still didn’t have the results we were looking for. We knew we needed to make a change.”


That’s when Colette’s turned to FORTIS for help. The business faced significant delays in closing their books, reviewing sales analyses, evaluating KPIs, and other reporting. In fact, when FORTIS engaged with Colette’s during the first week of April, they were still working to close books from previous months.


The caterer’s ambitious business model, which included large-scale catering contracts and multiple venues, required a more attentive and accountable financial executive to keep things running smoothly.


No Time to Lose in Foodservice

FORTIS quickly identified and placed a dedicated fractional controller, who had a strong background as a financial consultant for small businesses. This individual immediately set clear expectations for financial reporting, month-end close processes, and special projects. She meticulously documented her time and managed tasks efficiently, aligning perfectly with Colette’s needs.


By fostering a one-on-one relationship, FORTIS ensured that their expert was fully committed to the client, providing timely updates and on-demand information.


“It’s definitely a huge relief,” Leanna continued. “Kira and the FORTIS team wasted no time in finding a candidate who could meet the expectations of the role and whose communication style was a fit for our owners and our team.”


Fast Results from a Fractional Controller

After just two weeks with the new fractional controller, financial reporting became timely and accurate, giving Colette’s the data they needed to make informed business decisions. They no longer had to chase down information or play financial guessing games that put their business in jeopardy.


This crystal-clear visibility into their finances allowed for a higher caliber of strategic planning. And to top it off, FORTIS’s solution proved to be more cost-effective than the previous provider, adding even more value to the client’s operations.


“Our new fractional controller has gotten up to speed on our business practices and added efficiencies that have resulted in major time savings,” Leanna explained. “And she’s already provided valuable training to our growing accounting team. Had I known this process could produce these results, I would have contacted FORTIS a lot sooner.”


Could a fractional controller or other fractional executive improve your business in a similar way? Check out our blog to learn more about fractional leadership.


FORTIS will be here when you’re ready to move forward:


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Facing a similar challenge with your business?


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