Private businesses will often have three different types of financial people who work in their companies. These three positions are bookkeepers, controllers and chief financial officers. All three are used at different times in the development of a business.
I’m a big fan of renting a CFO versus owning a CFO in most companies. There are several reasons I believe this is a good idea. Among them are having your rent a CFO start moving your company from the usual tactical measurements to strategic ones that can dramatically drive the value of your company.
One of those strategic activities is in the realm of installing and measuring KPI’s in your company. A good rent a CFO should have a very strong skill set in developing KPI’s (key performance indicators) as well as putting together the drivers the make the KPI’s move. In fact, I think this is one of the most useful things a CFO can do for any company.
Most of our Clients are relatively small (under $10,000,000 in sales per year). As a result they often don’t have sophisticated financial reporting or analysis in their company. In fact, many of them don’t even have bookkeepers that can provide them with accurate numbers.
In addition, I often find that our business owner Clients don’t have the ability and have never learned how to read their complete financial statements. Most of them can read their profit and loss statement; some understand their balance sheet and almost none can explain their cash flow statement. And, I think of all the reports a private business owner can get, the cash flow statement is the most important.