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Why You Need A CFO

Mar 08, 2011

Sometimes the hardest task I have, is to explain to business owners and my networking contacts what exactly a CFO does. In simple terms a CFO is a highly experienced financial executive, who can help drive your business to greater profitability and end value using a variety of techniques and analysis to forecast and shape your financial path.

Have you ever considered that not recognizing the need for and value of a CFO can kill your company.  If you don't have timely financials you trust - how can you begin to manage your business?  It's not just that your financials may not tell you much.  Often they are telling you the wrong things.  Failure to fully understand the company's financials is one of the top 3 causes of small business failure.

And it’s not your CPA's job to produce financial statements.  In an article on Chief Executive Blog, Terry Weaver makes this clear. “First, although there are a lot of exceptions, most CPAs do not have CFO experience. They report the news, they don't forecast or shape the news.” Although your CPA is an excellent resource on taxes and accounting regulation, they may have little experience with running a company – other than a CPA firm. Terry goes on to say, “Secondly, it's generally not their job, as they perceive it. If you hire them to prepare monthly statements and do your taxes, they actually believe you're going to read (and understand) the monthly statements and that the data you gave them to prepare them was accurate. It's like wondering why the scorekeeper at a football game didn't call better plays."

B2B CFO® offers seasoned, highly experienced part-time CFOs, so there's no excuse to run your company with blinders on.  In a sea of economic red ink, many of B2B CFO®'s clients continue to add employees and grow sales, while having access to lines of credit, and developing company value.  Here’s a check list to help you find a trusted CFO partner:

Technician: A professional accounting designation (ACMA, CPA) or demonstrated expertise is a great foundation. Your part-time CFO has to have the accounting, process and tax knowledge needed to steer a company’s finances.

Fund Raiser: A good part-time CFO not only runs the process for fundraising, but should also bring financing into the company. They will have a track record of originating and closing deals and should have a list of potential financing sources that are eager to take a call.

Sales Closer: Your part-time CFO can be a key member of your sales team, available to help negotiate and close sales. The CFO can be actively involved in managing and optimizing your sales pipeline and should be capable of being deeply engaged in sales.

Operator: Your part-time CFO should take a leading role in bringing operational quality into your company. That means installing just the right amount of process, reporting and structure. Not so much that it slows you down, but enough so that you smoothly run and grow the machine.

Lawyer: It will be a long time before you need your own in-house counsel and you don’t want to go to your outside law firm every time you get a maintenance contract to sign. So, choose a part-time CFO who can review legal documents.

IT: You don’t want your part-time CFO installing Outlook upgrades, but you do want someone who’s skilled enough in information technology to take the lead in driving your IT strategy.

Cheapskate: This isn’t usually a problem with CFOs but you want someone who can stretch your dollars by knowing where to cut expenses without harming your business.

Advisor: Your part-time CFO should be a trusted advisor. Running a company can be lonely. Your CFO can be a key, objective source of advice and counsel as you make the big and the small decisions.

As you probably noticed, only one of these points (the 1st one) actually deals with accounting. Despite their accounting beginnings, the best CFOs go far beyond this foundation. They are capable of adding value to every aspect of the business. Judge yours accordingly and make sure you have a high impact B2B CFO®.  Call David Kirkup at 4040 348 0326 to learn how a part-time CFO can help your company.

More from David Kirkup…

About the Author

David has over two and a half decades of business experience and is a proven financial management expert. Working in Europe and the USA, David has served as Divisional CFO at a number of Fortune 500 corporations: including Reuters, Marsh & McClennan, Zurich Insurance and ADP as well as numerous small and mid size companies. As part owner of a small software company, he was heavily involved in the marketing efforts and ultimate sale of the company. As CFO with a national PEO firm he dealt with the credit and financial issues facing hundreds of small business clients. David also spent 5 years in Bermuda managing captive insurance companies.

View David’s Personal Website


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