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What to expect from a part-time CFO

This post is by Giles Ellis, an experienced business coach and Director at GECA Chartered Accountants. GECA offer Virtual Finance and Business Advisory Services.

vCFO Hand ShakingLifting your business to the next level

If you’re a small-to-medium business, the thought of hiring a CFO, even part-time, may sound excessive – aren’t they for big corporations? Would you have enough for them to do? 

But if your business is entering a period of rapid growth, a part-time CFO could be exactly what you need. After all, if you’re trying to move up to the next level in business, who better to talk to than someone who’s already been there? 

Having access to an expert with experience in bigger, more established companies can help you make the right decisions and avoid expensive mistakes. They can provide everything from operational support to in-depth strategic analysis and can find new ways to move your business forward.  

Bringing on a CFO part-time means you get access to high-level finance expertise when you need it, without paying an unnecessary full-time salary. 

More than just accounting services 

These days, CFOs offer far more than simple bookkeeping or accounting services. They deliver invaluable strategic analysis. This can have a huge impact on your performance, profitability, and long-term business success. 

When you hire a part-time CFO, the scope of duties will depend on the size of your business, your specific needs, the industry you’re working in, and your overall business strategy. Generally, they will work to shape your company’s finance strategy and provide day-to-day support for your financial operations. 

A CFO should also be able to help with business planning and forecasting, tax planning, risk management, compliance, auditing and reporting, investment, working capital management, and general budgeting. 

As an experienced finance expert, your CFO will act as your company representative and help you communicate and negotiate with lenders, investors, and auditors more effectively. They may work with your board of directors to hammer out financial details. They’ll be in the ideal position to offer advice and guidance around any business decisions – mergers, sales, acquisitions, or any other major changes.

A new perspective 

A good part-time CFO isn’t there to simply tick the finance box and go along with every idea the CEO comes up with. They act as more of a strategic partner to the CEO or business owner, using insight and perspective to identify opportunities and offer solutions. 

When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, so an outside perspective can be incredibly valuable. A good part-time CFO will act as a sounding board for your questions and problems, but should also be able to spot issues, boost efficiency, and identify opportunities that you may not have considered. As money experts, they’re the most likely to notice when your strategy isn’t on a firm financial footing and should be able to help you shift your vision to match your financial reality. 

Even though your part-time CFO wouldn’t be working in your business every day, they should be able to offer their own expert opinions on company decisions. More importantly, they can speak up if they disagree. It’s not about negativity, it’s about challenging assumptions and pushing your business forward. 

Face challenges with a part-time CFO

Growth is positive, but it can also mean rapid change and serious business challenges. If you’re struggling to keep up, working with a part-time CFO can help make sure you make the right decisions and avoid financial pitfalls. 

Need help navigating your business through a growth period? Talk to the team at GECA about our part-time CFO services.