IMPACT CFO Services ®
An outsourced CFO can help an entrepreneur a great deal, but let’s be honest. The longer the CFO is involved with a business, implementing the six essential business scoreboards, the more valuable the CFO will become. As your CFO begins to understand how your business operates, and as that understanding deepens each day, like any other employee you might hire, your CFO is overcoming the learning curve associated with the inner workings of your company, increasing the value he or she might be able to bring to your organization. Lots of consultants will do a month or two’s worth of work and then leave, just as they were starting to overcome that learning curve. But our clients find they usually want us to stick around as their outsourced or part-time CFO. Our responsibilities include overseeing all of the reporting functions of the firm and being part of the executive leadership team, specifically advising the CEO and the rest of the executive team. There are many benefits that come from having a CFO as part of your team. Because this is what we do, I will discuss all of these benefits in the context of the feedback we regularly receive from our clients.
Accounting/Finance Executive Leadership: When we begin working for clients, we immediately begin training and developing their staff to improve the reporting functions of the firm, with the initial focus on the six essential business scoreboards. That turns into a longer term development of the staff to be more productive and add more value to their employer, providing them a long-term career track within which they can grow professionally. We have a similar impact in the software and processes of each company with which we work. We ensure your company maximizes its software and processes to help keep labor costs as low as possible.
Relationship Manager with Outside Professionals: Entrepreneurs quickly realize they have to represent themselves to and manage their relationships with many different outside professionals, including bankers, CPAs, attorneys, insurance agents, payroll providers, consultants, and more. Each of these professionals speak a certain language and are trying to accomplish certain objectives that may conflict with yours from time to time when it comes to doing business with them. Most entrepreneurs do not have the time nor do they want to become an expert in all of these fields to the extent required to effectively manage them. They want to spend time growing their business, and that, quite honestly, is where they will have the most impact. Handing these relationships off to others in your organization is not always the best idea. They may not have very much experience and may poorly represent your business and interests when working and negotiating with these professionals. A part-time CFO, however, can not only manage these relationships effectively, but he or she might even be able to get more from your current and future business dealings with them. Another group that entrepreneurs struggle to understand and receive the most value from are CPAs. Similar to the direct relationship we have with our clients’ bankers, we are often the direct contact for the CPA. And there are two kinds of CPAs, tax and attestation. The tax CPA prepares your tax return(s) and helps with tax planning and other tax-related issues. The attestation CPA, which can be the same person as the tax CPA, performs consolidations, reviews, and audits of your firm. Our clients often are strong candidates to raise equity capital to start, grow, or accelerate their businesses. Collectively our staff has been involved in helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from the role of finance executive or CFO for these companies. Investors especially want to know that the financial and accounting side of the business is well-run with a CFO at the helm.
Trusted Advisor & Sounding Board: Owning and running a business is a difficult undertaking. You are immediately expected to make lots of decisions and become an expert in a lot of different areas. Many entrepreneurs do not have other executive-level people in their organizations because their businesses are not large enough to support the cost. As a result, these entrepreneurs have no one they can talk to that understand their business from the inside and remain impartial to the nature of the conversation they might need to have to make an important decision. We have many examples from our years of being able to fill this role for our clients. In each scenario, the business owner or entrepreneur brings the CFO in for all major decisions as well as for advice on other lots of other matters, including human resources, legal, marketing, sales, and more. The reason the CFO becomes a sounding board and trusted advisor has one common thread--because the CFO knows the business inside-and-out and exists to serve its best interest. This trust is earned, and it is appreciated by every business using a part-time CFO.
Strategic Implementer: Talking about strategy is nice, but entrepreneurial companies need people working for them who know how to roll up their shirt sleeves and get things done. Figuring out the big picture of where the company wants to go is great, but that vision and strategy needs to be broken down into implementable tactics. A part-time CFO needs to help the company accomplish this. Entrance & Exit Developer: Getting into and out of businesses can be a complex process. The CFO can and should help you through any mergers, acquisitions, startups, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and exits. All of our CFOs have consulted multiple business on the issues surrounding these transactions, including exhaustive due diligence and terms negotiations. Since we use the IMPACT criteria to judge the six scoreboards, we can apply the same criteria to the CFO services every business needs. I have made the assumption the CFO is female, although gender is not important. Results are what matter.
IMPACT TEST Is the CFO Insightful? I sure hope so. With sometimes decades of experience in business, meeting with talking to your CFO should always generate strategic thought and insight. They’ll be brutally honest when needed, and they will help you direct and guide your business. Is the CFO Meaningful? The CFO needs to focus on the pivotal performance drivers of the company and be a protector and champion of the business model espoused by your company. The advice and recommendation she gives should help you improve the areas of your business that will have the most lasting and value-added impact. Is the CFO Precise? Yes, everyone expects their CFO to be exact. She’s not perfect, but she should be held to a very high standard in this regard. Is the CFO Accessible? Having a part-time CFO should not feel like your relationship with your tax CPA. She should be coming into your business regularly and proactively initiating meetings. With no more than a dozen clients, she should always be able to respond to you within a few hours via text, email, or phone. This refers to physical accessibility. Your CFO should also be intellectually accessible. She should speak in a way that you understand and take time to explain things that may be new to you or more complex than you are used to. They also should devote strategic thought to your business regularly. This means they should be proactively making observations, suggestions, and recommendations with your best interest in mind. Is the CFO Comparative? With both breadth and depth of experience, your CFO should be able to draw upon experiences and perspectives that will help your business. She will help you put your business into context with the economy, your industry, and the overall business community in which you operate. Is the CFO Timely? It will be a refreshing experience for you to work with another executive so closely. She will keep her commitments and help you hold others in your organization to do the same.
|IMPACT CFO Services®|
|Insightful||Will foster strategic insights through analysis and business acumen|
|Meaningful||Processes high volumes of information, pulling the most impactful and relevant|
|Precise||Knows how to replace ambiguity with accuracy|
|Accessible||Intellectual, financial executive mindshare|
|Comparitive||Prior months, prior years, seasonal periods, etc.|