Which outsourced CFO services can benefit your company? It depends on your goals. Unlike controllers and CPAs who typically have a more straightforward job description of record-keeping, bookkeeping, and tax management, an outsourced CFO’s role changes based on the current needs, challenges, or goals of an organization.
Most Common Outsourced CFO Services
Outsourced CFO companies are organizations who provide as-needed, part-time, or short-term CFO services to businesses. They are often called upon to elevate a company’s financial strategy by implementing advanced forecasts or systems, help a company overcome a financial challenge such as cash flow issues or unsustainable growth, get through an event such as an audit or capital raise, or to help achieve a goal such as preparing for a strategic exit or an IPO.
Preferred CFO has an elite team of some of the most experienced outsourced CFOs in the industry. These experts have decades of experience providing CFO services to hundreds of clients in dozens and industries.
Below is a list of some of the most common outsourced CFO services:
1 – Financial Strategy
The greatest benefit a CFO will bring to your organization is a higher level of financial strategy. While most other finance roles in your organization involve maintaining past and present financial records, a CFO is focused on the detailed short- and long-term strategy of your organization. An outsourced CFO is an expert in long-term planning and figuring out what, exactly, is needed to take your company from where it is now to where you’d like to be.
2 – Short- and Long-Term Forecasting
A financial forecast is one of the most important tools an organization can have. It is the detailed financial and operational roadmap giving a step-by-step guide to take you from where you are now to achieve your goals. A financial forecast requires analysis, strategy, and practicality. It requires strategic understanding of the current and future capabilities of your company, mastery of financial algorithms and trends, as well as in-depth analysis of the competitive landscape within your industry.
3 – Financial Systems Strategy & Design
If your financial management software and internal systems are incapable of keeping up with your growth, are incompatible with your other operational and/or sales systems and processes, or lack features essential to your business, it may be time to reevaluate. While outsourced CFOs don’t typically implement the actual system, they can help to analyze your current systems, assess your current and future needs, design a systems combination that will work best for your organization’s current and future growth (including tiers of implementation, if needed), help select and negotiate with a provider, help ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible, and help train personnel on the new systems to maximize understanding, comfort, and utilization.
4 – Budgeting
While a forecast is typically a 5- or 10-year projection of costs and operations, a budget plans out in detail your projected financials. Even though this is a shorter timeframe than the strategic forecast, a budget is imperative to the day-to-day actions of an organization. This budget helps guide the year’s financial decisions while keeping the organization on track to reach its goals. A strategic CFO will often use a forecast as a rolling budget to help ensure your financial performance is in line with your company goals and roadmap.
5 – Facilitating & Interpreting Financial Reporting
Finances are imperative to the daily operations of an organization, and financial reports keep you apprised of your current (and future) standings. Many outsourced CFO services include financial report facilitation, interpretation, and drill-down. Let a CFO analyze your reports and give you the most important takeaways in a way that best supports your business needs. This gives you an opportunity to ask questions, re-strategize when needed, stay aware of the goings-on, and to have the information you need to make your essential business decisions.
If you don’t currently have a reliable system for timely, accurate financial reporting, your outsourced CFO will also help put a reporting system in place.
6 – Raising Capital
Raising capital is typically very stressful for an organization, but an outsourced CFO can offer services to make the process go more smoothly. An outsourced CFO usually brings with him or her a network of financiers to whom they can introduce you. An outsourced CFO can also:
- Ensure your current accounting and financials are conducive to positive conversations with potential investors or lenders
- Provide financial statements, reports, and documents for due diligence
- Assist in structuring capital including determining how much financing you need and what mix of debt and equity financing is best for your goals
- Bring confidence, reputation, and professionalism to your organization by having an experienced CFO representing you and your business.
- Term sheet review and negotiation
7 – Capital Structure
How much financing do you need, and what combination of debt and equity will help you uphold company value while achieving the growth you desire? An outsourced CFO provides services to help you determine what capital structure is ideal for your organization.
8 – Interim CFO Services
If your company is in transition, facing a challenge, or is in the process of hiring a full-time in-house CFO, and interim CFO can help support your organization in the meantime. Many companies also hire an outsourced CFO for an interim role preceding the need for a full-time CFO. In these cases, an outsourced CFO can not only provide as-needed CFO strategy and services as your company grows, but can also help hire and orient a full-time CFO for your company.
9 – Cash Flow Analysis & Restructuring
Cash flow is one of the most common (and influential) challenges businesses face. Solving cash flow issues involves more than just simply bringing in more revenue–it requires understanding what you’re spending and where you’re spending it, and knowing which expenses are essential for your organization’s growth and which can be let go or modified. Outsourced CFOs take a deep dive into your financials to figure out how to maximize your bottom line. This may include:
- Renegotiating vendor contracts
- Restructuring client contracts
- Ensuring pricing is aligned with company & industry trends
- Analyzing commission structures
- Supply chain management
- Attributing costs to revenues
10 – Making Cost Cuts
Outsourced CFOs can usually make more (and better) strategic cost cuts than an in-house team, which makes it one of the popular outsourced CFO services. The reason an outsourced CFO can be more effective is because:
- They will have expansive experience with a variety of companies in your industry so they have a deep understanding of benchmarks to which they can compare your costs.
- They are more objective. Where managers or teams may have more of an interest in particular projects or initiatives that may influence their cost-cutting strategy, outsourced CFOs have no such biases and make decisions based on data and experience.
- Cost cuts will be more objective. Cost-cutting isn’t a simple “big numbers are bad, small numbers are good” game. To achieve cost cutting that is sustainable and that drives company goals as opposed to undermining them, thoughtful consideration, data analysis, and objectivity needs to take place.
11 – Facilitating Mergers & Acquisitions
Whether your transaction includes a merger, acquisition, or partial, public, entity or asset sale, helpful CFO outsourcing services may include:
- preliminary analysis and reporting
- stabilizing financial functions
- advising key team members during the sales process
- preparing relevant documentation
How can we help?
While this list discusses our most common services, our outsourced CFOs have a notable combination of project expertise. Even if you don’t see your particular challenge or goal on our list, our CFOs can likely still help. Our outsourced CFOs are experts in financial strategy, industry analysis, optimizing systems, and maximizing profits. Whether you’re facing an existing challenge such as cash flow problems or sustaining growth or looking to achieve a goal such as raising capital or accelerating growth, our CFOs can help.
Contact us today to speak with one of our financial experts.
About the Author
Michael Flint is an experienced CFO with over 20 years of experience in senior financial management. His expertise includes high-level financial strategy, budgeting and forecasting, business process and systems improvement/automation, technical accounting compliance, maximizing growth, raising capital, and strategizing for a strategic exit. Michael is a VentureCapital.org Mentor and holds a Master’s in Accounting from Brigham Young Utah.
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