It’s not uncommon for companies to outsource essential business functions, including IT, bookkeeping, marketing, and human resources. In the course of our work with small and medium-sized businesses, we often encounter those who could use the expertise of a CFO but lack the resources to bring one on as a full-time employee. Many business owners don’t realize that, like other business functions, C-level executive roles can also be successfully outsourced. An outsourced CFO provides executive financial guidance that is vital for the success of a growing company. These are some of the ways an outsourced CFO, or virtual CFO, can benefit your business—regardless of size, age, or industry.
What is an outsourced CFO?
Outsourced CFOs provide businesses of all sizes, in any industry, with strategic financial services. Often collaborating virtually, the CFO can be engaged full time, part time, or on an interim basis. You may also hear this role referred to as an outsourced controller, fractional CFO, or virtual CFO; the common business case is a need for financial, operational, and business expertise without hiring a full-time staff member. A virtual arrangement enables the business to tap experts in their industry who are up to date on compliance regulations and best practices, regardless of geography.
What services does an outsourced CFO offer?
Outsourced CFOs can provide many different financial services to help businesses plan and manage growth. Services can range from preparation and review of financial reports, budgeting, and forecasting to complete financial guidance, strategic tax advice, and financial planning. An interim CFO can provide guidance and document preparation and review during audits.
GunnChamberlain has decades of experience working with growing businesses, and our experienced fractional CFOs work with business owners to identify areas of financial opportunity and develop strategic plans and protocols to make the business more efficient. Moreover, we help businesses maintain growth, taking into consideration long-term goals to develop budgets and forecast cash flow.
How do you know when it’s time to hire a CFO?
Some companies find it beneficial to engage a part-time CFO right from the start of the business, before they have the budget or need for a full-time CFO on staff. Other companies find themselves in need of a virtual CFO when they begin to experience substantial growth that brings more complex financial requirements and processes.
Rapid expansion is a common sign that it’s time to bring on the expertise of a CFO. A financial expert will help to manage the growth, deploy the proper assets, manage cash flow, and budget for the corresponding increase in expenses. A CFO can also help identify the right time for a capital raise and ensure your books are in good shape before approaching lenders and investors.
Interim CFOs are a great option during periods of change, financial challenges, or when undergoing an audit. If your business is going through an acquisition, you will find there are a lot of components involved from a tax perspective, as well as financial changes. Having a CFO on your side can help you protect your best interests during the process while keeping an eye on your short-term and long-term goals.
How can a virtual CFO benefit your business?
One of the most notable advantages of outsourcing the CFO role is cost-efficiency. When hiring a full-time CFO, you must consider the total compensation package. For many start-ups, it’s simply not within budget. However, having the financial discipline and expertise of a CFO is vital for any business, and a virtual CFO can bring that expertise within reach. A CFO can help determine when and how to raise capital—whether that’s in the form of taking on debt, bringing on a partner, or seeking investors.
Fractional CFOs can also work with businesses that have taken advantage of one of the pandemic relief programs. Properly accounting for the loans, grants, and credits can be challenging for small business owners. A CFO can help you create a strategic plan for how to use the funds.
GunnChamberlain utilizes a team approach with industry-specialized partners to provide our clients with the best financial advice and guidance. Our goal is to work with business owners to provide financial direction and implement changes to better your organization for long-term growth and stability. If you think your business might be ready for the financial expertise of an outsourced CFO, contact us to schedule a consultation.