What does a part-time CFO do? And how do you know if you need one? We’ll tell you 4 key responsibilities of a part-time CFO to help you decide if you need one.
If you are an ambitious, owner operated firm and you’re serious about your financial performance, it may be time to consider hiring a part-time CFO.
This is a great option for small to mid-sized firms that have a capable in-house finance team, but lack the financial expertise required to grow.
Generally, firms seek out part-time CFO services for two reasons:
- To improve their financial performance; and
- To act as a coach and mentor to their in-house finance team.
But what exactly does a part-time CFO do?
When we think of creative firms, we think of the entrepreneurs that make them spark and less about the finance people that keep their businesses running.
These entrepreneurs are your marketing gurus, master strategists, design aficionados, and architecture authorities.
They know their craft and they excel at it. The creative piece is what excites them about their business and what generates the most value for their firm.
Finance is not necessarily their thing, but they know it is important. They know that they need help, but they’re not sure what a part-time CFO does or how a part-time CFO can benefit their firm.
Hiring a bookkeeper seems like the obvious choice for most small agencies.
And, it’s not a bad approach per se. Bookkeepers do provide needed data and in a firm’s infancy, that may seem like enough.
Bookkeeping in isolation is a historical based approach that won’t cut it for today’s creative firms. This is something that every CFO should know.
Think of it this way, if you’re always looking in the rearview mirror, you’ll eventually hit something ahead. Hard.
What does a Part-time CFO DO? 4 MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PART-TIME CFO
- Review Financial Statements and Benchmark
- Review and Optimize Management Reporting
- Review Financial People, Processes and Technologies
- Be An Extension of Your Leadership Team
1. Review Financial Statements and Benchmark
A part-time CFO will evaluate your historical financial performance and benchmark your performance to understand your firm’s trends and to understand your performance vs. best practice. A part-time CFO will also help you understand your performance in the following areas:
- Profitability and the drivers impacting your performance
- Trends in cash management and opportunities to improve
- Capacity review and determining the opportunity cost of unrealized capacity
- Trends in client performance including an understanding of economic dependence
2. Review and Optimize Management Reporting
Your ability to lead your firm with intention will depend on the quality of the data you receive and the frequency with which you get it. A part-time CFO will work with your accounting team to translate your accounting data into insights you can lead with. A part-time CFO will also provide:
- A review of your current reporting framework and suggestions on how to improve your reporting in order to improve its effectiveness
- One on one support with your in-house team to implement best practice reporting into your business
- Monthly management reporting, delivered on time
- Presentation of results to the management team, together with discussion re risks and opportunities
3. Review Financial People, Processes and Technology
A part-time CFO will work directly with your in-house team to paint a picture of what good looks like and provide coaching to your team to achieve this goal. While doing so, they will also work to streamline your financial processes, review your technology and where required, make suggestions on improvements.
4. Be an Extension of Your Leadership Team
A part-time CFO will leverage their experience to benefit your small business. A part-time CFO will provide on-demand financial leadership, a coach and mentor to your in-house team and an accountability partner to keep pushing you and your management team to realize your financial goals.
At Finally we strongly believe that a part-time CFO is not a luxury, it’s a necessity to guide small creative businesses to financial success.
As we like to say, good finance brings good finance.
READY TO HIRE A PART-TIME CFO?
We provide part-time CFO and advisory services to marketers, designers and architects. Check out the five questions to ask yourself before hiring a CFO, and if you think we’d make a good partner, contact us.