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Building your Finance Team - Do You Need an Accountant? Could You Benefit from a CFO?

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Building your Finance Team - Do You Need an Accountant? Could You Benefit from a CFO?

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: October 20, 2010 Updated: June 6, 2011

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

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

The Benefits of a CFO and how to Find One

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.

Related Articles

*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley


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


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