Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is it time for a Finance Executive?

Controller. VP of Finance. Director of Accounting. Accountant. Chief Financial Officer, or CFO. No matter what title you give the position, someone in every company wears the executive hat of finance and accounting. This person "deals" with the taxes and tries to keep up with financial reporting, performance improvement, planning, budgeting, treasury/cash management, payroll, AR, AP, collections, contracts, and so many other duties. Most small businesses let this part of the business slack, viewing these functions as necessary evils of doing business, ignoring them as if they might go away.

Just like you know how to make your product or deliver your service better than anyone else, there are others who do all of the things I mentioned above, and more, for a living. They are experts in these things, and they've dedicated their entire career to these things. Even if you know your way around accounting and finance, your most valuable contribution to your business is likely developing new products, innovating service models, and building key relationships to help your business grow.

At some point every business reaches a point where leaving all of the things mentioned above to yourself or other non-executives is no longer acceptable, meaning it will do more damage to your business than the money you think you might save paying a finance executive to help you run your business, maximize your cash flow, and become more profitable.

In a recent article for which I was interviewed by Entrepreneur Magazine, How to Know When to Hire a CFO, I detail the three main criteria every business owner, entrepreneur, and CEO can use to measure when its time to pull the trigger on making all that admin, accounting, and finance stuff a strategic competitive advantage, not a necessary evil of doing business by hiring an executive that manages and leads all of that stuff as his or her profession.