Why every business needs a CFO (and how small businesses can ‘rent a slice’ of one)

Larger businesses have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on staff. But what can small and medium sized businesses do in this regard?

Clearly, larger businesses can afford in-house CFOs. But it goes beyond an affordability issue: large, successful businesses also understand how crucial the CFO role is to their business performance.

Yellow tractor toy carrying a wooden block of letter C along with the wooden block letter F and O

The CFO in a business:

  • Keeps a close eye on the numbers and trends
  • Alerts management when preventative actions are required
  • Helps management create sound forecasts and plans
  • Ensures the cash inflows and outflows are managed well so the business never runs out of cash or needs to borrow in haste
  • Reports on revenues achieved compared with targets
  • Gives solid information on a range of key performance indicators (KPIs) to the business decision makers
  • Helps management with decision making.

This is management input that all businesses require, regardless of their size.

But how can small and medium sized businesses access CFO-level input and guidance?

The answer: you out-source it. You get a part-time, out-sourced CFO until you can afford one full-time.

That’s where we play a role for many of our business clients.

Our ‘Your CFO’ service has been developed with input from our clients to make sure it’s the ideal mix of support services and affordability.

As your CFO, we roll up our sleeves and work with you in management meetings throughout the year on:

  • Cash flow – Efficient management of cash flow to provide cash for saving or investing in growth
  • Profitability – Identifying key drivers of profit and focusing on these
  • Business value – Growing a valuable and saleable business asset
  • Structure management – Staying on top of risk and taxation issues.

As business owners, we all need to measure and monitor KPIs. That is, the handful of numbers that really matter in running our businesses.

It is also important that you have a ‘KPI dashboard’ to display your KPI targets, compared with your current KPI performance. This helps tremendously in monitoring and managing your business’s performance and, ultimately, hitting your targets.

As your outsourced CFO, we will bring to each meeting clear financial reports and easy-to-understand KPI information, as well as our commercial experience to interpret the information, make suggestions and help guide your decision making.

Hand of a man holding a mobile phone with CFO icons concept

Items discussed at each meeting include:

  • Profit (historical and future)
  • Cash flow (historical and future)
  • KPIs: A mixture of focusing on lead indicators, which drive performance, and lag indicators, which measure the outcomes
  • Marketing activity and effectiveness
  • Operational efficiencies such as work in progress or workflow
  • Financial indicators such as debtors, inventory and stock turnover (depending on your industry and type of business)
  • Team efficiencies, knowledge management, morale and safety.

By helping with your forward planning for achieving the next period’s targets and by being a sounding board for you as you strive to meet your targets, our ‘Your CFO’ service and support gives you a crystal clear focus for what needs to be done to achieve the goals of your business.

Your next stepContact us for a no cost and no obligation meeting to discuss how we can work with you as your outsourced CFO. We’ll outline for you what’s included and what costs are involved so you can see how the service can be comfortably included in your budget.