When You Might Use CFO On-Visit/ Part-time CFO/ Virtual CFO?
- When you think your company should be more profitable.
- When you need assistance with strategic planning.
- When you could benefit from an experienced sounding board for discussing ideas.
- When you could use some meaningful financial analysis.
A Part time CFO is also a financial analyst.
- When your financial systems do not produce timely and accurate information for reporting purposes and decision-making.
- When you are spending too much time in accounting and financial management.
- When your systems that measure operations performance do not produce timely and accurate statistics for the purpose of making informed decisions.
- When you are not absolutely certain which factors are most important in driving (or limiting) the growth and profitability of your company; how those Key Performance Indicators should be tracked and analyzed; how they should affect your strategy.
- When you feel like your organization may not be structured in the best way to facilitate growth and efficient operation.
- When your business is growing and you don’t have a growth plan.
- When you need to find outside financing
- When you want to develop an effective incentive compensation program to help drive performance and avoid expensive turnover.
- When you are considering selling your company and you want to put your financial house in order, making your company as attractive and valuable as possible.
- When you need financial projections and “what if” scenarios to project cash flow, profits, growth and the impact of outside economic factors.
- When your policies, procedures and internal controls seem loose and you know you need to tighten them.
- When you would like access to someone who can negotiate with bankers, vendors, regulators, customers, unions or other outside parties.
- When your financial staff could use guidance and training.
- When you would like help identifying risks and opportunities.
A Skilled CFO consultant will provide assistance and guidance in most, if not all, of these areas:
- Assure accurate accounting and timely reporting
- Modify/develop systems, policies and procedures
- Develop strategic business plan
- Identify your business success drivers
- Develop system to measure results against success drivers
- Develop growth plan
- Identify and improve process efficiencies
- Train existing staff
- Assist with simple tax planning
- Develop budgets and forecasts
- Develop treasury plan and manage banking relationships
- Assess/modify internal controls
- Plan acquisitions, perform or direct due diligence, negotiation, assimilation
Just as the skill sets overlap, so do some of the services. Though the overlapping services may be the same, there will be differences in perspective.
For example, if your Certified Accountant (or your auditor) has the requisite experience and creativity to offer strategic planning as a service, he may be able to do so with more objectivity as an outsider. On the other hand, the consultant (who should have significant related experience as part of corporate management) should be in a position to approach strategic planning as more of an insider, bringing more familiarity with the company to the process.
If you decide to bring a consultant into your company, make your selection carefully. Each one has a unique set of skills, experiences, and capabilities. Your level of commitment is not as high as if you were hiring an employee, but this is a key position within your organization.
Though your consultant should come with a broad skill set, there will still be an investment on your part as he learns about your company. The more a consultant knows, the more insightful and helpful he will be. Facts and conditions that may seem disparate to you may help him connect dots that will lead to solutions and improvements. If your company is to receive the greatest benefit possible from this arrangement, it is important that you open your books, records, employees and thoughts to him.
That leads us to one more issue - trust. Of all the things you must consider before bringing in a financial management consultant, none rank higher than trust. But you would not be where you are without being a good judge of character. Go with your instincts. Then trust your new consultant with the information he needs to help your business become bigger, more efficient, and more profitable.
Do you need auditor base accountant, tax advisor or a financial management consultant, neither, or all? Ultimately you are person who can decide.
So how do business owners know when they need the help of a part time CFO?
According to expert of CFO on-visit team, it’s when they:
- Need to project future cash flow, profitability, growth, and the impact of outside factors;
- Think their policies, procedures, and internal controls seem loose and they need to be tightened;
- Find their collections are slow;
- Need to produce more timely and accurate financial information and operational statistics for reporting and decision-making purposes;
- Are not sure which factors are most important to their company’s growth and profitability and don’t know how to track and analyse those factors;
- Find that their company is growing and they need to plan
- Need to know if their company can be more profitable;
- Think the current financial staff would benefit from guidance and training