Business owners, from those who run traditional brick and mortar businesses to e-commerce businesses, know that they need their accountant's expertise for one main reason: Taxes. Other entrepreneurs may have experienced the need and expense of a CPA signed financial statement required by their bank. And while this work is the bread and butter of what accountants do, these are not the only beneficial services accountants can provide.
However, to be able to truly appreciate and understand these additional services, we need to talk a little about the business structure of large companies. Large companies have a senior management team. This team usually gets paid big bucks and they have "Chief" in their title. The three senior managers that are seen in most large companies are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Chief Operations Officer (COO). There are many other important positions, but for my purposes these are the positions that I want to highlight.
The CEO sets the strategy and direction as well as the culture of the company. They build and lead their team and determine the success or failure of the company. The Chief Operations Officer is the second in command and in charge of daily operations, while the CFO has three main duties: controllership duties, treasury duties and economic strategy and forecasting.
Controllership duties are the backward looking part of a CFO's job. As a controller, the CFO is responsible for tracking and reporting accurate and timely historical financial information for the company. This information is important because it is what many decisions are based on. The CFO also uses this information for their treasury duties. Treasury duties include overseeing how a business finances its overall operations and growth by using different sources of funds as well as maintaining the company's current financial condition. Not only is a CFO responsible for a company's past and present financial situation, they are also an important part of a company's financial future. The CFO accomplishes this task by utilizing economic strategy and forecasting. They must be able to identify and report on what areas of a company are most/least efficient and how to capitalize on this information.
In your business you are, without doubt, the CEO and COO. You know more about your business and the operations than any other person. You probably started your business in your garage or basement, built your own website and started selling your products or services in some sort of internet marketplace - all by yourself.
In the early stages of an internet startup company, you were probably acting as your CFO as well, if you were preparing your own tax return. However, as soon as you went to a professional for help with your bookkeeping or to prepare your tax return, you gave the title of CFO to that other person.
As you grow, if you haven't already felt it, you will find that some decisions require additional information before you are ready to pick your direction or to even define the problem. That information is needed from your accounting records and interpreted by someone with expertise. This is where a CFO comes in.
The true functions of a CFO at a large company is to oversee all financial matters of the company: past, present, and future, and help the CEO make decision for directing the company. Since you are a small internet company, you probably don't need someone to oversee your finances 24/7 nor do you need someone pulling reports daily to fill your inbox. Instead, you need limited help with large decisions. In comes the CPA's other function: Part Time CFO.
Many services that CPAs offer aren't necessarily explicit. Usually, the Part Time CFO role comes in during the year end tax meeting when you have a question and the CPA offers a solution. A good CPA will be more explicit and at least explain some services. However, the Part Time CFO functions are as unique as and tailored to the businesses requesting them. CPAs should be offering free consultations or free phone calls to help explain other services that could benefit your business.
Explicit services that we offer at Cyberspace CPAs as a Part Time CFO are:
Again we cannot stress more the need for two way communication when offering Part Time CFO services. Each business and the owner have unique needs, many of those needs are not foreseeable at the present time. We can tailor a package of CFO services to you and work on a billing method that meets both our needs. Call now for a free consultation.
We thank you for your time and research as you consider us for your Part Time CFO needs.