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The Top 10 Signs You Need CFO Services

Posted by Mike Anderson on Fri, Aug 08, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

David Letterman has a popular segment every night on his show of the day's Top Ten list.  Most of the time it is a funny look at some current event, like the Top Ten things a President might say in a particular situation.  I like the issue of a Top Ten list related to sports.  You always strive to be in the Top Ten to get noticed for being the best.  Many businesses also use a Top Ten list to show prospects some of the best reasons that you might want to use that business.  Whatever the source, I think most people are familiar with the Top Ten concept.  So I thought today we might use that concept to identify the Top Ten Signs that your small business would be in need of a Chief Financial Officer.  It is a lighthearted way to look at a serious topic.

The Top Ten Signs you need a CFO:

  1. Your Controller/Accounting Manager is entering more hours than the C- Level staff, combined.
  2. Most of your staff ask if the Controller is living at the office! or
    • Always taking work home; or
    • Never takes a vacation.
  3. The Company is entering into new arenas and the Controller has a “lost in translation” look;
    • Never offering input;
    • Always seeks to research questions since he doesn’t know.
  4. While reviewing year-end detail, you find (or worse your Audit Firm finds) an unusual number of adjusting entries all related to correcting items.
  5. At year end, the auditor asks about which financial framework you are utilizing and if you are compliant with CoSO or DCAA and your controller looks “star struck”!
  6. Invoices to customers are being returned with a short pay due to errors and Government invoices are being rejected causing you cash flow issues or worse!
  7. Some members of management put pressure on the accounting manager or Controller to “do as they say”! And he/she does it without question or push back!
  8. Monthly closings take a month to close!
  9. There is a GAP in applicability of GAAP Pronouncements; they are never reviewed.
  10. Your accounting staff continually look for guidance or have questions but receive a cold shoulder or an “I have no time” response!

If you can identify with any of these symptoms, it might be time to consider discussing either hiring a full time CFO or a "Part-time" CFO.  We have some good resources out there for you to consider in this area including a whitepaper and a web page dedicated specifically to outsourcing CFO services for small businesses.  I know many small businesses where the owner either thinks they can handle the CFO duties themselves (along with all their other responsibilities) or that they can't afford it.  First of all, if they try to do it themselves, it distracts their expertise from other critical areas to the business (such as business development).  If they think they can't afford it, they should consider the high rate of failure of small business due to cash flow and financial related issues.  Give us a call and I would be happy to discuss this with you.

Topics: CFO