Outsource your CFO
We operate in a style of business where software lives in the cloud, people work remotely, and business is done on mobile devices. Professional service providers are also adapting to this environment.
This will provide context as to why, if and how to engage with an outsourced CFO and eliminate ambiguity to what that relationship necessitates. In case you don’t want to read to the bottom, an outsourced CFO will be your financial advisor who will go beyond to stand alongside you as a partner. If you’re ready to move beyond bookkeeping and understand the ins and outs of your business, you’re ready for a CFO.
Data vs. Information — the bookkeeping function of accounting is imperative to any company, though it should not be the ultimate goal. Bookkeeping ensures that your records are complete in order to produce financial statements and pertinent tax filings. Bookkeeping (data) is the most basic accounting function a business can perform, which neglects a wealth of analysis (information) that can be gained from looking at patterns and trends. By using an outsourced CFO, you’ll save on the costly overhead of employing full-time personnel and leverage the knowledge of a professional who consistently works in multiple businesses and industries.
You’re an early-stage or small business. The definition of a small business is a broad concept and loosely defined. The Small Business Administration’s definition changes based on industry, employee base, and revenue. Let me give you a perspective on what an early-stage or small business means to me.
- Early-stage is a business that is newly established. I’m expanding upon the typical definition of early-stage, though, a company in this stage may be in the idea/business planning, pre-revenue, bootstrapping or recently funded.
- Small business is established. There is a customer base that has adopted your products or services, a staff for which a founder has delegated some of the business function and internal business processes that create business routine and productivity. Further, the small business may look to grow the existing operations or expand into new revenue streams.
Similar to an employee, you must provide framework and direction for your CFO. Services to expect include budgeting, cash management, financial reporting, margin analysis, planning for fundraising, and business processes/internal controls creation and implementation.
I’m of the belief that an outsourced CFO should not be an hourly rate situation because you as the business owner should feel comfortable emailing, calling or texting without concern of tenths of an hour added on your next bill. Rather, establish a reasonable flat rate that may be reassessed on a periodic basis so all parties are finding benefit in the relationship and deliverables.
To engage with an outsourced CFO, sit down and have a conversation about your business. Explain your business model, customers, staff and challenges you face. This initial discussion should be at no charge to your business. Most importantly, ask how your CFO will add value to the business and to you, the business owner.