By Megan Prentiss
Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017
You? Your accountant? Get in a temp? Maybe you need an affordable part time Controller or CFO.
You, the entrepreneur, are already wearing 16 hats, and you have no desire to be accountant. You do not have the time, and sometimes do not have the expertise, to answer questions but what else can you do?
Phone your external accountant? You either do not want to bother them because you don’t want to see another bill from them until next year, when they do your tax OR you know how busy they are and you don’t know when you will receive an answer (maybe next year, when they do your tax). Alternatively you will be sent a junior member of their team who you will have to spend time with explaining your business to, again.
If you can afford to employ a Controller/ Chief Financial Officer that might be the answer but what if you are a small, growing business?
If you have a specific project (e.g. catching up with your books, preparing year end working papers, preparing a cash flow forecast for your bank manager, etc.) then you can phone a temping agency. This can work well for one-off projects but if you need somebody a second time, or a third time, you will probably be sent a different person who you will, again, have to spend time with explaining your business to. Do you really want to discuss your private affairs with yet another person?
There is now a growing number of Accountants who will be your Controller/ Chief Financial Officer on a part time basis. These “virtual CFOs” often charge a similar hourly rate to temp agencies and considerably less than firms of accountants (because they work from your premises and don’t have an expensive office and team to support). They get to know you and your business so you only have to explain yourself once. They will often guarantee a response within 24 hours (if not less) which will reduce any worry or stress caused by your question/ request. They will also accompany you the next time you need to see your bank manager. They will manage your bookkeeper for you and manage whatever administrative tasks are currently bogging you down (including finance, IT, HR and insurance) – giving you back your valuable time. Some virtual CFOs will do all of this for a fixed monthly fee, so you know in advance how much their invaluable services are going to cost you.
How do you find a virtual CFO? Ask your Accountant or bank manager to recommend one for you.
How do you know you have found the right virtual CFO for you? Ask yourself if you like them as a person – if you get on with them then you are more likely to phone them with that quick question and more likely to listen to their answer.
For how many hours per month do you need a virtual CFO? This will depend upon the size and complexity of your business, the knowledge and experience if your bookkeeper and the number of administrative tasks are currently bogging you down (including finance, IT, HR and insurance). A good starting point is 2 days per month.
Can I afford a virtual CFO? You can’t NOT afford one! Asking a virtual CFO to share some of your load should be a cost neutral decision given the amount of time, tax and stress they will save you.
DeSmidt Consulting, Inc.
We are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area; a portion of our work is handled remotely, yet, we are able to talk, meet, and work with you on a regular periodic basis.
PETER DESMIDT has more than 48 years of Accounting, Cost Accounting, and systems implementation (including QuickBooks, Intuit, Enterprise, Passport, RealWorld, Peachtree, Great Plains, Dynamics, Sage, Direct Systems, SouthWare, ACCPAC, and Computer Associates software) experience, as well as management positions with companies like Atlantic Richfield, Signode, Norlin Industries and R.R. Donnelley and Sons.
Peter DeSmidt’s specific experience is as a CFO, Controller, Accounting Manager and Advisory Consultant. He holds a BA Degree majoring in Accounting and an MBA Degree majoring in Accounting and Computer Science. As we are a small business ourselves, we understand what it takes to get a small company off the ground and on the right track.
Contact us for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss the immediate and long term benefits that we can offer you.
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We provide part-time offsite and onsite CFO, Controller, Accounting, Cost Accounting, Forecasting, Inventory Management, Cost Control, QuickBooks Problem Solving, and QuickBooks Training Services to small and medium sized businesses.
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Peter DeSmidt, BA, MBA, PA
QuickBooks Certified Advanced ProAdvisor
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Contact us to inquire about how our CFO and Controller Services may be able to help your business.