Smaller companies often do not have the resources to hire a CFO, even a fractional one, yet those intent on succeeding, growing, and profitably exiting have financial issues to address that are often more critical to their survival than they would be in a larger company. If you are the owner of such a company, you probably take responsibility for these areas, because it’s your company. The diagram here may give you some helpful ideas about the functions you need to watch over.
For those of you blessed with a trusted bookkeeping department, perhaps even a young controller, it also shows those areas you can assign to someone, and those you had best not delegate unless you can closely follow their progress. Don’t be put off by the size of the list because many of the functions shown probably don’t yet apply to your company. If you don’t expect your company to grow much from current levels, the job gets easier.
At the top of the triangle are the things you may have to do personally, those which require the most financial expertise and business experience. They should also be much less time-consuming than the responsibilities at the bottom of the triangle, unless of course every decision requires a learning experience first. As you go down the triangle, the amount of time that the function requires increases, while also lessening the amount of senior management expertise that is needed to produce acceptable results. Thus, the further down the activity appears in the triangle, the more likely you can assign responsibility to an employee whose time is comparatively less costly, including in some cases part-time and temporary employees.
As with any supervising situation, the prerequisite is having a competent office staff to back you up. Then you will also need clear and unambiguous instructions, which usually means some form of written job descriptions and operating procedures. Your challenge, then, is knowing when to take responsibility for the activity yourself, and when to assign it. And when you assign it, knowing how much oversight is necessary to prevent mistakes. In the final analysis, your ultimate challenge is knowing when you, too, need help to make the right decisions. And then of course knowing where you can go to get the help. That’s where we come in. If we don’t have the answer, we guarantee we know who does, and how to reach them. More often than not, we’ve helped someone in a similar situation and they will tell you we get excellent results in a professional, high integrity, no nonsense way – even if you only need a fraction of our time.
We are Your CFO for Rent.