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The Bigger Financial Picture – Is it Time to Hire a CFO and Where Should You Look?

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The Bigger Financial Picture – Is it Time to Hire a CFO and Where Should You Look?

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 11, 2013

So, your business is growing. While you may or may not have an accountant on hand, what about your bigger financial picture? Is it time to hire a Chief Financial Officer?

More than just a bookkeeper, payroll administrator or keeper of P&L and cash flow statements, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can help you plan, model, forecast and make better business decisions. A CFO looks at your business holistically–this includes people, processes and systems–and ensures that together you have accurate financial information to plan for the future.

A CFO will also work with you or your accountant to understand the drivers for business performance. They’ll pick up on signals that might indicate a problem (such as a potential cash flow issue down the line), and help you make informed decisions about reaching your business goals.

Are You Ready for a CFO?

We all have sleepless nights worrying about the direction of our business; when cash flow will take a turn for the better; or where our next higher margin client is coming from. And being a small business owner, wearing all those hats, it isn’t easy to step away from the day-to-day details and look at your business as a whole.

A CFO can help with these worries–and needn’t break the bank in the process.

How to Cost-Effectively Hire a CFO

If your business is growing fast, then you could consider hiring a CFO on a part-time or as-needed basis and start delegating some of that financial angst. Management consulting firms often offer this type of service. If budget really is an issue, consider the volunteer services of SCORE.

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE mentors deliver free, confidential, valuable advice for your business needs across diverse industries and business functions including finance, marketing, operations, technology and more. Connect with a mentor here.  

Not Quite There Yet? Consider an Accountant

If you are still in start-up or growth mode—or feel you’d benefit with the help of someone to take care of your daily financial obligations such as account payables and receivables, payroll, taxes, and make sound judgments to benefit your personal and business finances—then you should really consider hiring an accountant. If you already have one, consider leaning on their services a little more.

An accountant can save you time and clear up much of the confusion that you experience when it comes to managing your finances. This blog offers tips on finding and interviewing potential accountants: How to Find an Accountant Who Can Help Your Small Business over the Long Haul.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

This is an excellent post. Many small businesses we talk to in the Upper Midwest currently just use a bookkeeper which helps somewhat but isn't a replacement for having a good accountant. I recommend that most small businesses save their bookkeeper money for spending on an accountant. Thanks for sharing.
Very important to have a CFO. I agree if you are a small business you may not need one full time but to at least have one part time is extremely beneficial.
In today's fast moving and complex economy, we feel that just about every small business can benefit from a part-time CFO. There is no substitute for regular monthly analysis and advice from a professional. While there are many volunteers available that may be able to help on an occasional basis, there are increasingly accounting professionals that are specifically profiled and suited to helping smaller firms on a regular monthly part-time basis. The questions are, where to find one, who to select, and how much will it cost? There is good advice on this issue in SBA Small Business Learning Center: Training, Tools and Answers via Your Desktop, a nonprofit free SMB information resource SBA Small Business Learning Center: Training, Tools and Answers via Your Desktop, and Analytix Solutions is an example of a private firm that is specifically targeted to serving small firms in this professional part-time CFO capacity.
Definitely, your thought is actionable as the finance are the wheels which run the business and making it sound through experts like CFO or the CFA professionals is needed in order to make the business grow.

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