While the term “virtual CFO” may be overused to a certain extent, it's frequently referenced because it is an important role in today's business environment. Many small and medium-sized businesses may not have the in-house financial staff necessary to take the business to the next level. This can often be because the size of the company does not support the cost or dedication of time of a full-time chief financial officer (CFO). Many companies have a good bookkeeper or accountant but don't have that person who can bridge the gap between the numbers, operations and strategy.
What is a virtual CFO?
A virtual CFO is someone who serves part-time as the CFO of a business. A CFO's main roles are to oversee all things financial in a company – think accurate financial reporting – and to be responsible for tying together finances, strategy and financial forecasting. These items go hand-in-hand as you need accurate historical data to know where you've been to realistically plan and lay out a road map to where you want to be. The combination of these items can really help propel a company to the next level in profitability and growth.
What a virtual CFO is not
A virtual CFO does not do day-to-day accounting data entry or reconciliation. That is the role of a bookkeeper or controller. A virtual CFO may work closely with the accounting staff. A virtual CFO is not dedicated to one company but will be able to pull experience from working with other companies to benefit the companies engaged.
Advantages and disadvantages of virtual versus in-house (full-time)
A virtual CFO can be more cost effective than a full-time CFO as the partial allocation will reduce costs. You can get someone with a strong skill set who can bring experiences from working with other clients. A virtual CFO isn't as dedicated to a company as a full-time one would be. While virtual CFOs can be real responsive, they can't always drop other things they are working on and one company isn't that person's only focus.
How can a virtual CFO drive value for your business?
A virtual CFO can add to the bottom line of a business in three main ways:
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