Many businesses require the skills of professionals to oversee and direct financial operations. These professionals are referred to CFOs, chief financial officers, or financial directors (FD).
So what should your Chief Financial Officer be doing for your business…..
1. The CFO should be able to look into to future to see what the future financial needs of the business will be
2. He/She should negotiate funding facilities to ensure the business can manage its cash flow needs
3. The CFO should be able to foresee the future tax consequences and risks of decisions
4. He/She should help the business to achieve the best possible credit scores
5. Identify ways to reduce costs and improve profitability
6. Understand the business owners objective and focus the business on achieving those objectives
7. Ensure financial and regulatory compliance
8. Ensure accurate and timely reporting of management information
9. Evaluate growth opportunities
10. Apply corporate governance
What key questions should you regularly ask your CFO…..
1. What is our cash cycle and how can we improve it – Cash Cycle Blog
2. What Key Performance Indicators should we use and what are they telling us – KPI Blog
3. How can we improve profitability – 15 ways to improve profitability Blog
4. What is our Business Plan and is it the right plan – How can you create a Business Plan
5. Can we reduce Overheads – 10 creative ways to reduce overheads Blog
Many smaller businesses and SME’s can’t afford a Full Time (or even in some cases a Part Time CFO or FD) but they need help with:
• Business Plans
• Budgeting and Forecasting
• Cash Flow Management
• Buy or Rent decisions
• Capital Investment Appraisal
• Accounting Procedures and Systems
• Business Strategy
• Busines Funding and Investment
Virtual FD’s fill this gap because:
1. You only pay for what you need
2. There is no employment contract
3. It provides access to higher level of expertise (in theory)
But be careful who you choose. There is no law preventing anyone from calling themselves an accountant, and as a result small businesses are unknowingly paying someone without the necessary skills to handle their finances and help their business grow.
So what experience does your accountant have to show that they have the skills to be your Virtual FD?
I am sure that in theory they have the technical skills but is that enough?
With the exception of CGMA (CIMA) accountants many accountants in practice have never worked in business let alone been a Finance Director!
I happen to think that time served experience as a CFO does make a difference because it greatly improves your insight and skills.
Would you get on a plane with a Pilot who in theory knew how to fly but had never actually piloted a plane before?
When you choose a Virtual FD you are trusting them with the success of your business. Choose wisely!
CIMA operates a Masters degree standard scheme of qualifying examinations for prospective members. It is active in promoting local education, training and management development operations, the promotion of new techniques through its research foundation and the dissemination of management accounting practices through publications and other media related activities. WIKIPEDIA
Chartered Global Management Accountant™ (CGMA®) is the global designation for management accountants. It’s powered by the resources and expertise of AICPA and CIMA, two of the world’s leading accounting organisations.