The Nuts and Bolts of a Virtual CFO

Many business owners often struggle to keep up when their business is scaling faster than expected. Your business becomes more complex as you add more equipment, employees, suppliers, vendors, contracts, and other components to the business. If your growth has complicated things to the point that a bookkeeper alone doesn’t feel like a sufficient financial solution, it might be time to hire a virtual CFO.

WHAT IS A VIRTUAL CFO?

Every business can benefit from dedicated financial management expertise, but very few small businesses have the means to hire someone full time—particularly in the lean early years. Unfortunately, it’s those first few years when a company is just starting up that establishing good habits with managing financial resources is so important, and, over time can even make or break a business.

Hiring a virtual CFO is an affordable option for business owners who recognize the need for a financial expert with small business experience. Virtual CFOs provide top level advice just when you need it, offering incredible value and cost savings to companies focused on growth and long term success.

KEY BENEFITS OF A VIRTUAL CFO

  1. High level decision making –

A virtual CFO can analyze your company finances and provide expert advice to help you make more informed, strategic decisions for ongoing profitability. That senior level financial oversight can help you understand any risks or weak spots, identify opportunities, and create a realistic and actionable business plan that steers the company precisely where you want it to go.

  1. Raising business capital –

Finding access to funding is important when it’s time to scale your business, expand operations, launch a new product or service, or invest in a new joint venture. A virtual CFO can suggest the best ways to raise funds, whether that might be seeking venture capital, business loans, industry grants, or crowdfunding. A virtual CFO can also help fine tune your budget to discover ways to cut costs and spend money more wisely.

  1. Managing risk –

Your business is an asset that needs protection from any potential risk that may threaten its ongoing success. A fire or flood, cyber attack, or employee theft can all cause long-term damage if you don’t take steps to protect your business. A virtual CFO can undertake a risk assessment and ensure you are investing wisely, have appropriate insurance and that your sensitive data, equipment and inventory are secure.

  1. Facilitating change –

When a business is in a transition period, it’s valuable to have a part time senior-level manager overseeing the numbers to measure and assess long and short term business performance. If the business is in flux and finds itself in a negative cash-flow position, your virtual CFO can quickly help you determine the key factors and take immediate action to correct.

  1. A custom fit for your business –

When you hire a virtual CFO, you decide how often their services are required and only pay for the services you need. Hiring a financial expert on contract rather is a cost-effective solution for businesses that only need part time support.

THE ONBOARDING PROCESS

Getting a virtual CFO onboarded, systems in place, and everyone up-to-speed often takes three to four months. A weekly meeting cadence is customary for this period. Some of the common activities accomplished during this time are:

  1. Goal Setting – 
    • Your provider should start by understanding your short and long-term goals. Your goals help determine the information you’ll need to hit the milestones en route to achieving them. Your information requirements, in turn, inform the technology, team, and process needed to generate it.
  2. Report Design – 
    • Your provider should be able to present reports which match the way you interpret data. Some owners digest visual data better and will benefit from more charts and graphs. Others are more numbers-data oriented and can consume reports with numerical data only. The service provider will highlight the few key metrics that you need to be watching now and evolve those as your business challenges and opportunities change.
  3. Technology Recommendations – 
    • Your provider may see that your system would work more efficiently with new software with a balance of price, performance, security, and stability.
  4. Rebuild Balance Sheet – 
    • After some analysis, the provider may need to rework your balance sheet to get a more accurate picture of financial reality.
  5. Build or Enhance Financial Processes – 
    • One benefit of hiring a virtual CFO service provider is that you are not only getting their expertise, but you can benefit by borrowing from their knowledge of processes they’ve built or used in other businesses. This onboarding time can be used for restructuring your processes for better productivity.
  6. Roadmap –
    • The Virtual CFO service should be able to give you a 90 to 120 day roadmap of everything that will occur in this time period. This roadmap is a crucial first piece in the engagement with the service provider.

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