Authored Content by Matt Schoenholtz, Client Accounting Services Partner
In working with clients, I like to use the term "The ART of Accounting" to explain to them exactly why having an accounting partner is so important. If you are a business owner who has been keeping records, but they are neither Accurate, Relevant, or Timely, then they are of little use to you or your business when you're strategizing, making decisions, or selling your business.
Every organization must have a member who can advise leadership on how to translate the growth and strategic needs into a financial plan—that is to say, someone who understands The ART of Accounting. However, not every organization requires—or can afford—a full-time CFO.
The solution? An outsourced CFO puts flexibility and control into Leadership's hands. Like the full-time counterpoint, an outsourced CFO will focus on improving current operations and productivity, but they also examine your organization's financial goals to help create a plan aimed at higher profits and long-term growth.
What are the benefits of outsourcing CFO Services?
Potential Cost Savings. Simply put, hiring a full-time CFO is expensive. For many organizations—especially small and start-up businesses—hiring a CFO likely means working a six-figure salary into the budget, and that’s not always feasible. With an outsourced CFO, you’ll pay a monthly or hourly fee for the services that will vary depending on the work you need them to do or oversee, allowing you to plan within your budget.
Expert Knowledge. Outsourced CFOs are professional individuals or organizations with proven experience and access to updated software and technology. By contracting an outsourced CFO, your company will be able to utilize knowledge and skills that normally take years to develop. This will translate into accurate, relevant and timely financial information that will allow you to make decision. Although it may take a while to introduce an outsourced CFO to your financial history, they have the proven processes to help you meet your financial goals, often in an accelerated time frame with less of a learning curve than a new hire.
Business Continuity. An outsourced CFO is a great hedge against turnover. With an impartial perspective not always available in small and family-run businesses, an outsourced CFO can offer more unbiased, expert financial advice. And in the event of a controller or CFO transition or leave of absence, you'll always have someone who knows your business and can jump in at a moment’s notice.
Focus. Every business owner should be involved in their financial planning and decision-making, but not every business owner has the time or resources to understand every aspect of their company's financial information. An outsourced CFO will help you look at your company’s past, present, and future to create a strategic plan that is smart, efficient, and cost-effective. An outsourced CFO's knowledge of processes, compliance and regulations will serve your organization's goals and allow you to focus on other aspects of your business.
Selecting the right outsourced CFO
If you've made the decision to work with an outsourced CFO, the next step is to select who you'll be working with. Before making that decision, you should consider how providers differ—and how you can get the most out of your partnership.
Acumen. Before you begin working with an outsourced CFO, you should speak to several references, including other CEOs who have used their services. An outsourced CFO should be reputable, adaptable, and responsible. The best way to check their ability is by talking to others who have benefitted from their role.
It goes without saying the best outsourced CFO is someone who already knows your business. If you’re already working with Mowery & Schoenfeld, we can act as your outsourced CFO partner. Our team’s understanding of your business will strengthen the critical strategic decisions your business needs to make to succeed.
Length of Relationship. In selecting an outsourced CFO, are you looking for a quick fix or an extended engagement? Outsourced CFOs may be hired because you're looking for temporary guidance or going through a complicated issue such as a merger or operational change. But if you're looking for a more long-term partnership, you want to look for a partner who can help develop growth, raise capital, and potentially help you sell your business someday.
Goals. Are you a startup, preparing for a sale, or just looking for financials that are accurate, relevant, and timely? Whatever the case, keep in mind an outsourced CFO’s goals are always going to be in alignment with your own because they will want a long-term relationship. At this stage, it is becoming rarer and rarer to find employees that want long-term relationships with their employer so having a third-party partner is a great hedge against future turnover. By working with an outsourced CFO, you’ll have a long-term, strategic partner who is invested in your business’s success—through the good times and the bad.
Client Accounting Services Partner
After serving as the financial leader for multiple organizations, Matt joined the Specialized Accounting team of Mowery & Schoenfeld. In his role as a CAS partner, Matt serves as an outsourced CFO and advisor for our clients. He specializes in consulting with businesses on their daily accounting, as well as overall strategic, operational, and financial planning.