• Robert Patin

Outsourcing the Finance Guy - Considerations for an external CFO

When you think of a business’ executive, you probably picture people in corner suite roles sitting behind a desk all day making all the important decisions. While that is often still the case, one executive position is starting to branch out, even out of the company: Chief Financial Officer.

CFO is a crucial role, but not all businesses have the resources to retain a financial expert full-time with salary and benefits. Instead, business owners are outsourcing CFO positions to someone who can help the company part-time, while their firm pays their salary and benefits.

Retain an expert focused on your financial future

If your business is lucky enough to have an accountant, you’re in good shape compared to many small businesses that do their own bookkeeping. However, accountants and bookkeepers do not serve the same role as a CFO. A CFO takes the financial information about the business (and the industry more broadly) and makes decisions about what direction the company should head. The CFO, along with other executives, help to shape goals the company has for its growth and how the company can achieve those goals.

Attracting and retaining a full-time CFO can be costly, and while many small businesses would benefit from that knowledge they are unable to afford an expert. Some businesses might only have one executive leader. An outsourced CFO allows businesses to have someone making financial-based decisions at the table without paying for a full employee.

Bring fresh perspective to decision making

When you employ a full-time CFO, their whole focus is on your company. He should have previous experience with other organizations, but he’ll be invested in whatever is going on at your company personally and exclusively. An outsourced CFO enjoys some objectivity because she is not a full-time member of the team, and might spot opportunities or weaknesses other executives don’t see. She is also managing other clients simultaneously, giving her new opportunities to learn and develop as an executive. An outsourced CFO is still committed to the success of your business, but that extra distance allows for perspective.

Invest in your company’s financial health

A CFO might seem like a luxury for some businesses, but retaining the help of a CFO is an investment in the business’ growth. A CFO can help prevent costly mistakes that could cost the company more than the price of a CFO, or even put it out of business. While some business owners try the do-it-yourself approach, they may not have the expertise to make data-driven decisions based on the company’s financials. A CFO, even one working part-time, will be solely focused on making recommendations for how you can improve your company’s financial health.

Add a team member without high costs

An outsourced CFO can still be a trusted member of your team, just without the high cost of salary and benefits. If your business is small, adding new employees is a big leap if you don’t know whom you truly need on staff. Still, waiting to add a CFO means missing crucial advice that will help your company grow. An outsourced CFO is a great compromise, adding an expert on staff without committing to salary and benefits in perpetuity. Many outsourced CFOs are flexible and will provide you more support when you need it and less when you don’t.

Does your business need financial guidance, but is unable to employ a full-time CFO? Contact one of our financial experts at Patin and Associates today.


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