Building your Finance Team - Do You Need an Accountant? Could You Benefit from a CFO?
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: October 20, 2010, 6:29 am
- Updated: June 6, 2011, 10:14 am
It's often the case that only after having spent countless unproductive hours managing their own books, or burning the midnight oil trying to make sense of business finances that most entrepreneurs come to realize that they need help in the accounting arena.
After all, very few business owners start off as accountants or even have experience in this field and because accounting tasks are often the most confusing aspects of running a business- having an accountant on retainer, or as part of the team, is a must.
But what about a CFO? A CFO can provide many strategic benefits to small business owners, and they can do so without incurring senior management salaries.
Here are some tips for finding and working with an accountant, as well as understanding the strategic benefits that a CFO can provide.
Why and How to Hire an Accountant
An accountant can save you time and clear up much of the confusion that you experience when it comes to managing your finances, but whether you are a sole proprietor or operating an employee-based LLC or corporation, an accountant can provide other benefits too.
In this article-'Selecting a Small Business Accountant
- Accountants often do more than prepare tax forms for their small business clients. They can act as a trusted consultant and advisor to your small business. A good accountant would be able to advise you on growth opportunities, risk management, bookkeeping, and general financial planning.
- If your small business is closely tied to your personal finances, a good accountant can help you make sound judgments that are beneficial to both your personal finances and your small business. This guidance can be especially helpful when you're just starting up and using your own funds to finance business expenses.
- Accountants can serve as a great resource that you can tap into for recommendations on which loans to apply for, banks that satisfy your small business needs, and whatever you need on the finance end.
The article also goes on to provide best practices for choosing an accountant, and what to do if you find your accountant is't a good fit!
Put Your Accountant to Good Use
Do't just use your accountant to help with your tax return. As small business professional, Barbara Weltman, explains, an accountant can help with many areas of your business including improving business cash flow, safeguarding your financial data against theft, choosing the right financing, and even taking stock of your inventory. Read'5 Things to Talk to Your Accountant About
If your business is growing, a CFO (part-time or full time) can act as a trusted advisor and help you plan, model, forecast and prepare for the future.
More than just a numbers person or an unnecessary overhead, a CFO adopts a holistic and multi-faceted role that measures each critical element of a business to deliver a results-based perspective.
A good CFO will work with you or your accountant to understand the drivers for business performance. The'll pick up on signals that might indicate a problem (such as a potential cash flow issue down the line), and essentially help you make the right strategic business decisions.
Finding a CFO needn't mean hiring one on a full-time basis. Part-time or outsourced CFOs could be an option. These are often available from management consulting firms. Another alternative is to seek volunteer experts; organizations like SCORE* can help you establish a volunteer advisory board.
- Manage My Money - Government Resources for Financial Management
- Navigating Business Law on Your Own vs. Hiring a Lawyer - A 101 for Start-Ups
- 5 Tips on Building a Senior Management Team*(from SCORE)
- Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business
- Need Help Starting a Business? Get the Right Kind of Advice & Take Control of Your Start-Up!
- 10 Technology Tools You Can't Run Your Small Business Without
*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.
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