It’s often assumed “CFO services” are similar, if not the same, as those services provided by a CPA or bookkeeping firm. The services are complementary, and really have very little overlap. Below are what I consider the Top 5 CFO Services, and as you’ll see, they do not included preparing your tax returns or making regular journal entries into your books.
1. Finding Cash for Your Business
Banks lend money based on the ability to repay. When your financial records, including a cash forecast, demonstrate that you are in control of your business (and it’s not controlling you) the bank is more inclined to support your requests. So the first step in getting more cash is to improve the quality, accuracy and timeliness of your financial statements. A CFO can help with that.
2. Banking and Lending Relationships
Strong banking and lending relationships are based on trust and good communications between the banker (lender) and the borrower. Providing lenders with accurate and timely financial statements, good cash flow and income projections, and keeping them informed about major business decisions and activities will go a long way in developing trust and cementing a strong relationship.
3. Cash Flow Management
By properly managing cash flow, it can be seen where there will be excesses or shortfalls. If the result is a deficit, the shortfall can be covered through borrowing, stretching vendor payment terms, or by offering customers a discount for prompt payment. Being able to see in advance where there will be shortfalls in cash flow, one can begin to work with a banker or other funding source to bridge the deficit in advance of a crisis.
4. Strategic Financial Planning
Assumptions for budgets (static) and forecasts (dynamic) should be prepared and reviewed to actual performance on a monthly basis. Test various combinations of assumptions to evaluate the results under various scenarios. This provides the sensitivity data that helps determine latitude when making decisions in a business. This sensitivity analysis is an essential element in business financial planning but it is often overlooked.
5. Business Exit Strategies
There are various business plan exit strategies, so determining which is best depends on the entrepreneur’s goals and the successful implementation of a business plan designed to achieve those goals. Whether it’s a stock or asset transaction, valuation is a critical component of an exit. Moreover, buyers will require that a due diligence be completed on their target acquisitions, but the seller should also consider their own due diligence on the buyers. The exit can be complicated and emotional, so having a CFO or other trusted advisor is essential.
These are but a few of the services a CFO can provide to emerging and mid-market companies. Other frequent services include, but are not limited to, gross profit optimization, expense reduction, timely and accurate financial statements, working capital improvement, and increased sales.
If you wish to discuss your business, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call (814-880-8835).