Name the most critical milestones for any growing organization, and going public and making acquisitions come to mind.
Reaching these milestones for U.S. companies involves a complicated process of regulatory filings and certifications, all of which are necessary to reduce risk to stakeholders, preserve competition and prevent fraud.
Four years ago, Taylor Morrison, one of the largest home-builders in the United States, decided it was time to go public. Having endured a long period of stagnation in the building market, company executives were excited about the possibilities for growth in the recovering economy. They just didn’t want to make any missteps.
The executive team was aware of Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) regulations passed in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the complexities surrounding the preparation of financial disclosures by newly public companies.
However, they didn’t have all the infrastructure and resources to meet all the requirements, especially with regard to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance, without assistance. Recognizing the need for the initial public offering (IPO) process to go smoothly at each stage, company executives sought assistance from Protiviti, recognizing the firm’s experience in helping organizations with precisely these kinds of filings
In a stress-saving move, Taylor Morrison had decided to get its pre-IPO act together early instead of at the last minute. The company retained Protiviti nearly a year in advance of the scheduled IPO date. “The earlier you start, the better you are from a compliance standpoint,” one stakeholder said of the decision.
The filing took nine months – a typical period for a public offering that isn’t forced or rushed. In this period, Protiviti helped Taylor Morrison successfully meet SOX and other critical compliance requirements, close all deficiencies from an internal audit perspective, and install additional company-wide controls to maintain ongoing compliance.
“We couldn’t have gone through the IPO without help,” remarked the company CFO. “Closing and meeting our quarterly deadlines demanded persistence, attention to detail and plain old professionalism, and the Protiviti team was able to deliver this.”
The collaboration didn’t end there. Following Taylor Morrison’s successful IPO in 2013, the company pursued a growth plan involving multistate acquisitions.
This meant Taylor Morrison needed even tighter controls to ensure not only efficiency, but also better visibility into all its operations.
To smooth the wrinkles during this growth stage, Taylor Morrison retained the Protiviti team on an ongoing basis, expanding their duties to perform risk management, segregation of duties, and other operational audits. The company also tapped into Protiviti’s IT resources to help it design and develop the processes and controls necessary to manage a centralized IT infrastructure, greatly facilitating the transition of new acquisitions into the company’s IT “family.”
“We feel a lot more comfortable now with the new system,” said the company’s chief information officer. “We have engaged our Protiviti advisory team to assist with IT vulnerability assessments and other projects as the need arises.”
An IPO is often just the first step in a series of growth decisions a company makes. As a longtime homebuilder, Taylor Morrison understands the value of having the right expertise at its side so that it can face changes and the future with confidence.