Growing small and medium-sized businesses can often find it challenging to hire senior finance professionals, or indeed engage firms with the right mix of international reach and know-how.
That’s why many business owners are now taking full advantage of the cloud and communication tools available to them, working with remote professionals and outsourcing key positions at a fraction of the cost.
One such position that’s growing in popularity is that of the outsourced CFO (Chief Financial Officer), and in this short blog post, we’re going to explain the benefits of bringing one on board. But first…
What is a CFO?
Before we look at the benefits of hiring one, what exactly is a CFO? And how do they differ from an accountant?
Well, an accountant’s primary function is to keep your business compliant. They file returns, create reports, and generally deal with the financial history of your company. A CFO, however, is more interested in the financial future.
They can help you determine and plan your goals, and develop a funding strategy to achieve them. They define the business model, establish cost models and projections, and put processes in place to save and make money. In short, a CFO looks at both the big picture, and the detail behind it.
The benefits of outsourcing your CFO
1. Leadership on tap
With a strong accounting foundation in place, an outsourced CFO can help you shoulder the burden of leading your business. A strategic and skilled financial partner, they can improve short and long-term decision making, oversee growth activities, and implement good governance.
Having someone of that level by your side allows you the opportunity to redirect your focus to more pressing matters, safe in the knowledge that the financial future of your business is in good hands.
How Stepping Stone does it: Through our accounting and compliance services, we have the right platform to provide insights and advice on both growth and governance matters. We provide via is structured periodic reviews, as well as being on call as the needs of the business arise.
2. Adds “bench strength” to your team
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “bench strength”, think of your business as a sports team. The more options you have on your bench and in your squad, the less disruption you’ll face should one of your star players leave.
One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing the CFO position is that they often have the backing of a firm, meaning you have access to all sorts of expertise over and above the individual. And they’re less likely to be poached away for more money when compared to their in-house counterparts!
How Stepping Stone does it: Our virtual CFO service gives you access to a knowledgeable and driven team of experts. You’re essentially getting a “plug and play” finance team, ready when you are.
3. Grows your network
In addition to the point above, working with an outsourced CFO gives you the chance to grow your network and lean on the specialist services and know-how of senior finance professionals. This can be particularly effective if the firm you choose to engage has a global presence, giving you a foot in the door of new and potentially lucrative markets.
How Stepping Stone does it: With offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Dublin, and Dubai, we provide international reach for our clients. With our knowledge and networks in these key hub markets, we always keep an ear to the ground for new opportunities for our clients.
4. An affordable alternative
Hiring someone in-house is always a big undertaking. And hiring a senior finance professional will often require a salary plus benefits matching their expertise and reputation. This typically puts them out of the grasp of most SMEs, which is why outsourcing has become so attractive. You still have access to their game-changing capabilities, without eating into your overheads.
How Stepping Stone does it: In most cases, we work on the basis of a single all-in monthly retainer, which can include accounting and compliance services where needed. There are no lock-in periods or hidden cost for you.
Outsource with Stepping Stone
Today, cloud accounting software has helped small and medium-sized businesses access the kind of in-depth data that was once only the domain of major enterprises.
Likewise, outsourced CFOs can now provide the insight and direction of a C-level hire, without the hefty pay packet. And that could help take your business to the next level.