CFO Services to Improve Bottom Line

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Published: 06th November 2012
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For any company, solid financial management practices are necessary to ensure profitability. As a business owner, where should you focus your efforts- on client deliverables, or on managing your revenue well? CFO services could be a solution to that issue.

Management of Funds

CFO services involve a careful scrutiny of your accounts, including profits and losses. Although this may sound obvious, it is easy to neglect regular account-keeping especially when your focus may be on meeting client requirements. Managing funds is an indispensable part of generating profits. Profitability does not come only from your customers. Practices such as managing costs, reducing unnecessary expenses, and enhancing productivity also play an active role in increasing your profits.

CFO services provide a detailed scrutiny of your revenue sources, revenue generation methods, and costs associated with revenue generation to determine areas that may be leading to decreased profitability. At a minimum, you should be able to answer the following questions about your finances:

- Are your account sheets updated and accurate?
- Do they reflect profits and losses accurately?
- Are you able to identify your overhead expenses correctly?
- Are there overhead costs that could be curtailed?

Managing Overheads

It is important to note that while overhead is necessary for a business to function, it may not be directly involved in revenue or profit generation. Thus, your travel expenses, phone bills, and client entertainment could all be categorized as overhead expenses. However, controlling overhead is not the only way to reduce costs; in fact, cutting too much overhead could negatively impact your revenue stream. For example, if your business offering is such that it requires significant client interaction, then reducing client entertainment overhead expenses may not be the best option for you. Professional CFO services can help you decide if your overhead requires curtailing or not; and if it does, you have access to the expertise to advise you in deciding on how much you need to reduce your expenses.

Managing Debtors

Each time you present a client with an invoice for services rendered, it means your customer is yet to pay you. Unless there is a very strict policy for Cash on Delivery, it is highly likely that a business incurs several invoices per day, amounting to a significant number per month. Each invoice represents customers who are debtors of your company. A collection of these invoices, or a list of your debtors, can be termed as a statement. A statement also contains other details, such as amount owed, date, and amount paid. Debtor aging is an important aspect of this statement. Age here refers to the amount of time a debt has remained unpaid.

When you hire professional CFO services, you are better informed about the state of your company's finances, and hence better prepared to reclaim the money. When debtor age goes beyond a limit that you fix, 30 days for example, you can contact your debtors and follow up on payment.

General Expenses Management

How do you decide whether your business is utilizing resources optimally? Or that the rates you have established for your services are competitive? When you hire professional CFO services, you are provided with informed advice on these types of questions. The CFO researches your accounts thoroughly and undertakes a detailed analysis around the general expenses incurred by your business. The professional CFO is well-positioned to guide you in managing your company's general expenses, including taking corrective action when needed.

Outsourcing the CFO

If you are a start-up or a small to mid-size business, you do not need to hire a full time CFO. Instead, consider outsourcing this function. Ideally, investigate providers with experience managing requirements of businesses similar to yours. This will give you added leverage in the form of their experience and expertise.

Shop around before you finalize your decision on a part-time CFO services provider. Some providers also offer scalability a big benefit for small to medium-sized businesses and startups. Scalability allows you to tap into industry-standard services and infrastructure while paying only for the services you actually use. Thus, it produces immense savings on investing in infrastructure costs and costs associated with hiring and retaining trained employees.

When you outsource your CFO requirements, you receive the dual benefit of direct profitability through smart financial management combined with savings on investment costs otherwise spent on funding a dedicated CFO position in your company.

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