A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a professional financial leader who works with you to make strategic decisions to guide your business to success. Hiring an outsourced CFO provides you with experienced financial expertise at a small fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time CFO.
The decision to hire financial help is often spurred by growth. If your business is growing but you don’t have the workload or resources to hire a full-time CFO, you might consider bringing fractional or part-time CFO services on board.
In this blog, we’ll provide best practices and other information you can use if you choose to outsource a part-time or fractional CFO.
What should you expect from a part-time CFO
A part-time CFO provides similar services as a full-time CFO. They can be hired for specific projects, set time frames or as a regular part-time resource. You might want to hire them to develop a financial infrastructure for your company or to develop specific financial measures or reports. You may decide to maintain the part-time relationship assigning progressively more responsibilities until you have the need for a long-term full service CFO role.
Regardless of the level of services of the accounting firm, having access to CFO services will provide you the peace of mind that comes with having a professional oversee and improve your company’s finances. Ascension CPA provides that peace of mind.
What specific duties does a part-time CFO have?
As they are working within a set amount of time, you will need to determine specific goals or projects that will provide your company the most efficient use of resources. In general, CFO services include:
Help develop a business strategy to stabilize your company
A CFO can direct the bookkeepers/controller/accountants to produce reliable data that they can use to provide insights and projections to direct the company toward specific goals or create the strategic plan.
Act as a sounding board for making strategic business decisions
The part-time CFO can help with decisions such as securing capital or credit, developing and clarifying business plans, performing market analysis and profitability projections. As much will be riding on these business decisions, make sure your company hires someone you trust who has a solid reputation and client base.
Establish strong financial controls, plans and goals
Risk and cash management will become more prominent once an outsourced CFO has been brought on board. Cash flow will be tracked and more extensive financial services and reporting will be implemented. Financial statements will be reviewed and interpreted regularly. The CFO will provide the lead in the development of the annual budget and accompanying business strategy.
Going above and beyond the norm
There may be an instance where you are searching for CFO services for a particular reason. For example, you need professional financial advice because you are preparing for a merger, acquisition or initial public offering. Or you may be preparing for expansion and want assistance fundraising.
In this case, you may have set fairly high expectations for your part-time CFO. While not all CFOs or CFO service providers offer all of these services, some do provide these options.
Assistance with fundraising and initial public offerings
If your goal is to move your company towards an initial public offering, your part-time CFO can provide invaluable assistance and credibility by making sure all financial and reporting systems are up to the needed standards for public companies. Profitability projections will also play a critical role in the process.
While the outsourced CFO can provide the tools you need for this goal, invariably it should be the business owner who takes the lead and pitches the story of their business in order to close the deal.
Performing board duty
CFOs of larger companies are routinely responsible for presenting financial reports to board meetings or shareholders. An outsourced CFO, on the other hand, will most likely prepare the needed financial information and be in attendance at the meetings, but the CEO will make the presentation.
Help with mergers and acquisitions
An outsourced CFO will make sure your company’s finances and financial reports are up to date and accurate. They can also provide advice and exit planning.
Outsourced CFOs typically don’t…
While outsourced CFOs are usually willing to work with the small business to provide what they need, utilizing them for day to day financial tasks or tax planning is not a prime use of their ability.
If your business needs accounting or bookkeeping help or even a complete finance department, Ascension CPA would be happy to discuss bundling a set of services to get your business on the correct financial path.
How do you find the best outsourced CFO provider
Do your due diligence and conduct research, talk to other business owners for referrals and look for the right fit. Keep in mind that whoever you hire is going to have access to your company’s lifeblood. You need to be able to trust and depend on them. When you are looking for CFO service providers, consider these things.
They have experience in your industry
While this isn’t a make or break requirement, it might give them a leg-up in knowing the pitfalls and financial challenges your company will likely be facing.
They have experience in various industries
While familiarity can be a positive, hiring a CFO who has worked in various industries provides a positive opportunity as well. They will have different business models and concepts they can draw from to use in your company.
They have a positive online presence
Spend some time on a CFO services website reading testimonials, blogs and case studies. That is evidence of their ability and experience. Give them bonus points if they also have good reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Yelp as well as positive customer service marks.
Does their experience match your needs
If you are hiring an outsourced CFO for a specific project such a merger, you will want to look for one who has worked through the process before. This will provide them the experience to hit the ground running when they join your team.
Do you share similar values, communication style, expectations
Remember, for all intents and purposes you are hiring another team member, one at the executive level. Even though they aren’t present all of the time, they are a reflection on your business. Make sure you communicate your expectations with them.
Ascension CPA wants to make sure potential clients know our company’s values. If our values align with what you are looking for, please contact us for a free consultation.
What are the outcomes for a small business that hires an outsourced or part-time CFO
- You will receive professional financial advice
- Your company will be on the path to a better bottom line and improved cash flow through financial planning
- Risk will be reduced
- Costs may be lowered to increase profitability
- Your company will have a long-term financial strategy to help it grow
- You’ll have the peace of mind knowing your company’s finances are in good hands.
- Your risk is lower than waiting to hire a full-time employee. If the outsourced CFO relationship doesn’t work, you can try something different.
Ascension CPA can be your choice
Ascension CPA has the qualified staff and experience to help move your small business to the next level. Our website features many positive testimonials about our services. Our client base has steadily grown through the years, due in part to satisfied clients who refer us to others.
We would love the opportunity to provide CFO services to your business. We are ready to set up a consultation to determine what services will help you meet your financial goals.
Click here to schedule your consultation.