James Costello, Finance Expert in Calgary, AB, Canada
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James Costello

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Calgary, AB, Canada
Toptal Member Since
October 18, 2017

A chartered accountant with 20 years of experience in hotels, casinos, real estate and emerging technologies, James has successfully completed a $4.5 billion real estate joint venture and has provided strategic corporate and governance work, resulting in over $15 billion in transactions. Now freelancing, he enjoys helping entrepreneurial companies plan for strategic growth, capital raises, corporate finance, and M&A transactions.

Career Highlights

Founder | CEO
Pedal Pub Canada
New Globe Consulting, Inc.
Board of Directors
Grey Eagle Resort and Casino

Education Highlights

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA.CA)
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
Bachelor of Management Degree
University of Lethbridge

Certification Highlights

Chartered Corporate Director
Rotman School of Business | Canadian Institute of Chartered Directors
Chartered Professional Accountant
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

Case Studies

Work Experience

Founder | CEO

2017 - PRESENT
Pedal Pub Canada
  • Conceptualized, financed, and launched Pedal Pub Canada, a master franchise development business that has produced exponential returns to investors.
  • Served both as the CEO and the CFO within the business, overseeing the corporate strategy, investor relations, national growth plans, and executive management.
  • Built a ten-year master forecast for national growth beginning in 2019, with exit opportunities at year five onwards.
  • Obtained bank financing as well as an outside third-party equity investment.
  • Hired an executive team by providing equity incentives and growth plans for retention, which resulted in a team of over 30 staff members.
Focus areas: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Franchises, Operations Analytics, Forecasting, Loans, Capital Raising, Budgeting, Cash Flow

Strategic Financial Advisor

2014 - PRESENT
4 Hours Min VC Corporation
  • Identified and sourced SME businesses that have strong management through the transition into an acquisition with cashflow growth opportunities.
  • Offered to purchase letters based on future performance variables to current ownership, enhancing value, and long-term viability of the transition.
  • Developed an industry focus on consumer goods, manufacturing, disruptive technology, and hospitality businesses.
  • Produced future cash flow analysis of individual businesses, consolidated cash flows, and future investment cash flow analysis.
  • Generated overall financial forecasts, monthly budgets, and five-year plan analysis.
  • Built business plans and investor decks to secure financing for multiple acquisition opportunities, helping optimize investor returns and creating financial leverage to enhance investor return profiles.
Focus areas: Fundraising, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Divestiture Planning, Acquisition Analysis, Bank Debt Raises, Syndication, Financial Modeling, Strategic Planning & Execution, Budgeting, Venture Capital, Private Equity Valuation


2020 - 2020
High Growth Franchise Client
  • Created a comprehensive and dynamic forecast model for a 12-week, 12-month, and six-year cashflow across 10 business units and five corporations. Developed a model that allows future business units and dynamic changes to the business.
  • Worked directly with the principal owner and senior leadership to ensure strategy matches financial cashflow plans. Created a model capable of forecast future investment needs.
  • Provided training for a strong handover of materials for the client's future use and longevity of the completed work. Revisited the model multiple times to demonstrate capabilities to the client before ending the engagement.
  • Discussed corporate organizational structure and provided recommendations to streamline taxation and investment purposes.
  • Provided financial expertise on the franchise growth strategy and growth plans based on the FDD review and conversations with business development teams.
Focus areas: Fundraising, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Modeling, Interim CFO, Pitch Deck Consultant, Fractional CFO, Business Modeling, Business Consulting, Business Plan Consulting, CFO


2018 - 2019
Confidential Media Corporation (via Toptal)
  • Completed a global financial reconciliation and consolidation project spanning four years and eight companies.
  • Built a five-year financial model for cash flow projections on a new technology product for board review and investor presentations.
  • Prepared weekly cash flow forecasts and accounts payable summaries for presenting to the CEO, and initiated payments to vendors upon approval.
  • Completed financial accounts submissions for corporations in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia.
  • Performed a significant US tax review dating back four years working with four state authorities, employment authorities, and federal authorities to ensure compliance for a client.
  • Completed forensic audits and implemented new procedures to ensure high levels of internal controls.
Focus areas: Fundraising, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Modeling, Interim CFO, Pitch Deck Consultant, Fractional CFO, Business Modeling, Business Consulting, Business Plan Consulting, Taxation, Budgeting, Board Reporting, Finance Strategy, Financial Controls & Processes, IFRS Consolidation, Cash Flow


2014 - 2018
New Globe Consulting, Inc.
  • Raised over $300 million in private equity for small-to-midsized businesses. The businesses included a high-growth coffee roaster, a wholesale food manufacturing business, a golf course resort development, a hemp-processing facility, an organic skincare retail business, an oil rig campsite acquisition, a hotel succession plan, and a marketing agency merger opportunity.
  • Raised over $200 million in debt financing for a number of small companies and for an indigenous First Nation debt restructuring effort, which was valued at over $150 million in debt facilities and successfully reduced their total lending costs by over $500,000 per year.
  • Reduced overheads by 10% in 45 days while serving as the interim CFO for a small consumer goods business.
  • Implemented a new board skills matrix as well as the budgeting and reporting process for a growing local charity.
  • Produced comprehensive business plans, including ten-year forecast models with cash flow, income statements, and balance sheets for a mortgage brokerage, a large-scale mining processing facility, a marketing agency, as well as a coffee roasting business and retail operation.
Focus areas: Venture Capital, Fundraising, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Modeling, Fundraising Consultant, Business Modeling, Forecasting, Budget Management, Budgeting, Strategy, Finance Strategy, CFO, Debt Raises, Private Equity

Board of Directors

2014 - 2017
Grey Eagle Resort and Casino
  • Formalized the board of directors, coordinating regular meetings as well as ensuring comprehensive succession planning strategies and board reporting by senior management. Served as a member of the compensation, audit, and operations committees.
  • Implemented long-range planning and strategy processes to facilitate the board reporting by management. This change improved the communication and strategic direction for operations.
  • Created a protocol for regularly reporting on the strategy-to-actual results, which dramatically increased the controls over budgeting and ownership distribution planning.
  • Opened an event center and hotel; audited construction costs and expenses as well as established management reporting and communication procedures with new staff and ownership.
  • Restructured the reporting and authorization protocols between the management corporation and equity holders. The facilities operated through a third-party hospitality management corporation and ownership was not happy with the processes in place. As a result of the restructuring, the management corporation was able to enhance efficiency, and the ownership group was able to increase their trust in the processes; overhead expenses reduced measurably.
Focus areas: Three-statement Modeling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Modeling, Business Modeling, Cash Flow Forecasting, Investment Summaries, Forecasting, Budget Management, Budget Controls, Budgeting, Finance Strategy

Independent Director

2014 - 2016
Tsuut'ina Nation
  • Planned, recommended, and established the first independent director program for the Tsuut'ina Nation. The program allowed the board to objectively guide the business without the ability to reap any personal financial gain. Acted as the first individual to serve as one of these board members, as the group had previously not allowed non-indigenous members to provide insight and direction to businesses.
  • Created an end-to-end strategy and partnership guideline for a $4.5 billion real estate development project. Completed a real estate partner search by selecting strict criteria, conducting corporate research, and launching a comprehensive request for proposals (RFP) program, securing a joint-venture partnership with Canderel Developments, and negotiating a 20-year deal for a 1,240-acre commercial real estate development.
  • Evaluated the existing businesses owned by the Nation. The businesses included a retail gasoline operation, a retail gift store, a construction contracting agency, and the overall administration facilities operations within the Nation's business. Identified multiple cost-saving opportunities, supplier contract errors, and management inefficiencies. Results included significant loss mitigation and profit increases in some businesses and employment generation in others.
  • Performed a feasibility study for a community center building and provided recommendations on the tendering project. Produced a ten-year financial analysis for demand and cost recovery.
  • Devised a plan to successfully tender new business related to the $5 billion ring-road development. The result was over $50 million in contracted work in the first year and hundreds of jobs for the First Nation group.
  • Planned, recommended, and executed the implementation of the first finance and treasury board for the Canadian First Nation's group. The board was established to provide a better reporting system to the chief and council and to strengthen financial reporting through increased accuracy and internal controls.
Focus areas: Three-statement Modeling, Financial Modeling, Pitch Deck Consultant, Business Modeling, Business Consulting, Financial Restructuring, Debt Restructuring, Operational Finance, Finance, Real Estate, Debt Capital Markets, Debt Raises, Budgeting, Finance Strategy, Distressed/Special Situations, Financial Options


2012 - 2014
Citrus Capital Partners
  • Analyzed possible investment opportunities, developed recommendations on the purchase prices, and presented findings to the investor committee. Produced over 50 proposals to the committee, several of which we placed offers on.
  • Devised and planned the annual, quarterly, and monthly budgets for the organization. This included strategies on how to maximize the cash flow and retained income for future investment purposes.
  • Pursued networking opportunities at conferences and networking events to identify potential new opportunities. Successfully identified over 100 unique opportunities for investment analyses and proposals.
  • Served as interim CFO and CEO for privately-owned investments at times. Attended board meetings and strategy sessions to ensure investments performed to maximum potential. Industries included construction, hotel & golf resorts, and retail operations.
  • Created a business plan and marketing strategy for a private equity corporation, resulting in focused strategy meetings, investment opportunity analyses, high-end branding, corporate gifting and stationery, and a deal-flow opportunities website.
Focus areas: Venture Capital, Fundraising, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Modeling, Fundraising Consultant, Business Modeling, Venture Funding, Capital Budgeting, Cash Flow Forecasting, Investment Memoranda, Investment Summaries, Finance Strategy, Private Equity

Group Financial Controller

2009 - 2012
Universal Pictures International UK
  • Performed an in-depth analysis of contracts and royalty programs to assess corporate liability, increasing overall corporate income by over 3% (measured in millions of US dollars) for the global organization.
  • Executed annual budget planning process across multiple departments; consolidated information across global market producers (outside of USA) into a single budget for the CFO.
  • Worked closely with CFO to assess new acting talent by analyzing long-term revenue generation based on acquisition costs for the individuals and by creating a 10-to-15 year revenue analysis. Efforts enhanced talent agents' ability to assess the investment opportunity from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective.
  • Produced detailed cash flow reports from over 15 global divisions to maximize cash flow and payment timing.
  • Created templated financial reporting packages, including instruction manuals for replacement staff, for succession planning of the entire finance department.
  • Helped owners sell the business, which resulted in GE divesting 50% of their holdings to Comcast. Specific work included the maximization of cash flows and earnings to enhance the sale price and the review of accrued liabilities to minimize expense impact.
Focus areas: Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Financial Modeling, Business Modeling, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Strategy, Finance Strategy, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), Cost Estimation, Budgeting

Senior Assurance

2006 - 2009
  • Audited over 100 clients, including US corporations reporting in US GAAP. Clients consisted of construction, real estate, oil and gas services, as well as exploration and production companies.
  • Compiled private business financial statements (including cash flow, income statements, and balance sheets), tax filings, sales tax work as well as additional financial analyses such as ratio analyses.
  • Mentored ten junior accounting staff.
  • Secured a large new client for the firm in the first year of employment, a rare achievement for a first-year associate.
Focus areas: Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Three-statement Modeling, Taxation, Finance Strategy, Distressed/Special Situations, Financial Model Auditing, IFRS Audit Planning, Management, Audits
2014 - 2016

Institute of Corporate Directors Designation (ICD.D) in Directors Education

Rotman School of Management - Toronto, Ontario

2006 - 2008

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA.CA) in Accounting

Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants - Edmonton, Alberta

1998 - 2005

Bachelor of Management Degree in Accounting

University of Lethbridge - Lethbridge, Canada


Chartered Corporate Director

Rotman School of Business | Canadian Institute of Chartered Directors


Chartered Professional Accountant

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada


Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Data Analysis, P&L Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Three-statement Modeling, Credit/Debt, Cash Flow, Forecasting, Accounting, Cash Flow Forecasting, Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial Modeling, Fundraising, Seed Fundraising, Financial Advisory, CFO, CPA, Budgeting, Valuation, Private Company Valuation, Taxation, Finance Strategy, Investment Summaries, Investment Memoranda, Capital Budgeting, Venture Funding, Cost Estimation, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), IFRS Audit Planning, Financial Model Auditing, Budget Controls, Financial Options, Operational Finance, Debt Restructuring, Financial Restructuring, Capital Raising, Private Equity Valuation, Bank Debt Raises, Feasibility, Debt Raises

Output Software

Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, WhatsApp, Excel 2016, Microsoft Outlook, Prezi, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Apple Pages, Apple Numbers

Data & Analysis Software

Intuit QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, Bloomberg, SAS, Salesforce

Industry Expertise

High-tech Startups, Casinos & Gaming, Hospitality, Hotels & Lodging, Restaurants & Dining, Real Estate, Banking & Finance, Franchises, Venture Capital, Financial Services, Consumer Products, Retail & Wholesale, Music, Film & Television, Technology, Oil & Gas, Logistics, Canadian Tax Law, Debt Capital Markets, Commercial Real Estate

Geographic Expertise

Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany


Business Modeling, Startups, Lean Startups, Business Planning, Price Negotiations, Cost Analysis, Fractional CFO, Business Models, Financing, FMCG, Business Strategy, Business Consulting, Pitch Deck Consultant, Google Drive, MacOS, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Annual Budgets, Early-stage Venture Capital, Business Plan Consulting, Audits, Models, Fundraising Consultant, Pitch Decks, Advisory, Cash Flow Management, Financials, Growth Strategy, Interim CFO, Augmented Reality (AR), Music Streaming, Video Production, Skype for Business, Media, US GAAP, IFRS Financial Reporting, IFRS Consolidation, Strategy, Budget Management, Management, Distressed/Special Situations, Finance, Loans, Operations Analytics, Financial Controls & Processes, Board Reporting, Strategic Planning & Execution, Syndication, Acquisition Analysis, Divestiture Planning, Indian Companies Act, Development, Analysis, PV Analysis, Internet Surveys, Feasibility Studies, Business Feasibilities, Company Strategy, Organizational Design, Organizational Readiness, Instruction & Coaching, Executive Coaching, Human Resources (HR)

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