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Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Ask yourself the following questions:

· Is cash tight?

· Are you frustrated with the state of your organization's finances?

· Do you need confidence that you're tracking the right metrics?

· Tired of flying blind financially?

· Need help interpreting the data?

You're not alone.

A lot of small business owners are secretly embarrassed that they don't have a firm grip on their finances. As a result, more and more of them are doing something about it.

These savvy leaders are filling that financial insight gap by bringing in CFO expertise.

You may be wondering how, specifically, an outsourced CFO service can give you an advantage in your market. Here are seven ways small businesses typically use outsourced CFOs:

1. Redesigning the entire accounting process. When you bring in an experienced outsourced CFO, you're not only getting someone with helpful knowledge; you're getting someone who can implement processes which have been proven to work in other organizations. You might be surprised by the number of errors which can be eliminated and how much your financial team efficiency can improve.

2. Overhauling reporting. Many organizations lack financial clarity because they don't get the right reports on a regular basis. An outsourced CFO service will often come in and adjust or completely rebuild weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reports to deliver data which informs decisions. This may involve tracking new or different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPIs to watch often vary by industry and business size/growth stage, so look for a resource with experience in your industry if possible.

3. Coaching the CEO/Owner. CEOs who are not financially-oriented look at numbers and see numbers. An outsourced CFO can teach you how to look at numbers and see the story behind the numbers. You will not only get immediate insights from the CFO, you'll get the training which will help you become the data-driven CEO you've always wanted to be.

4. Replacing technology platform(s). CFOs are often called on to audit and/or replace financial software platforms which should streamline processes and enable a business to scale. That's a tall task and one that will have long-term implications, for good or bad. These outsourced CFOs are tasked with implementing and integrating all the solutions required for financial insights and tax compliance.

5. Navigating a cash crisis. It is not uncommon for small businesses to seek CFO services when their backs are against the wall. A top-notch outsourced CFO has been in the trenches before and can jump in and prioritize tasks by greatest impact to keep the lights on. The outsourced CFO can also put cash management controls in place to ensure the business is never blindsided by a cash crisis again. These controls give you the time to respond if a crisis is on the horizon.

6. Managing key stakeholder relations. When there's skin in the game, people get demanding. Some CEOs have the financial acumen to deliver the right package of reports to and field tough questions from boards, investors, or banks. But there's nothing wrong with bringing in a pro to help you navigate those important relationships.

7. Raising capital. Some outsourced CFO service providers may be willing to hit the road with you as you pitch for capital. Others can prepare your financials in a way that will attract capital, even if they don't actively participate in those pitches and negotiations. Either way, find an outsourced CFO with experience in fundraising, preferably in your industry.

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