Running a small business is an exciting but challenging venture. As a business owner, you must wear many hats and juggle multiple responsibilities to keep your company running smoothly. However, as your business grows, you may need to consider hiring a controller or chief financial officer (CFO) to help manage your finances.
These professionals can provide valuable insights and strategies to help your business thrive. The Whitlock Co. discusses the top signs that indicate it may be time for your small business to bring on a controller or CFO.
Understanding the Roles of a Controller and CFO in Small Businesses
When managing finances, a controller and a CFO play crucial roles in small businesses. While both positions deal with financial matters, they have distinct responsibilities.
A controller primarily focuses on overseeing day-to-day accounting operations. This role ensures that financial records are accurate, taxes are filed correctly, and compliance with regulations is maintained. Controllers also generate financial reports, monitor cash flow, and provide financial analysis to support decision-making.
Meanwhile, a CFO takes a more strategic approach. They work closely with the CEO or business owner to develop financial strategies and long-term plans. CFOs provide valuable insights into budgeting, forecasting, and risk management. They also evaluate investment opportunities and help secure funding for business growth.
Indications That Your Business May Need a Controller
As your small business grows, there may come a time when the day-to-day financial management becomes overwhelming for you or your team, who may or may not be trained in financial matters. If your staff can’t keep up with ordinary financial tasks, it indicates that your business may need a controller.
Other signs may point to hiring this kind of financial expert.
1. Increasing Complexity
You may need expert assistance if your business is becoming more complex regarding transactions, operations, or regulations. A controller can keep your financial records accurate and meet all compliance requirements.
2. Regular Cash Flow Challenges or Anomalies
Are you constantly struggling to manage cash flow and make your payments on time? A controller can help monitor your cash flow, find areas for improvement, and create strategies to optimize your cash management.
3. Lack of Financial Insights
If you find yourself making critical financial decisions without having a clear understanding of your financial position or future projections, a controller can help derive a strategy based on your current financial position.
4. Inefficient Accounting Processes
If you notice that your accounting processes are inefficient, leading to errors, delays, or duplication of efforts, a controller can help streamline these processes. This role also helps to run any technological tools you need to improve your labor costs by taking care of mundane, automated tasks.
5. Limited Time for Strategic Planning
As a small business owner, you may be consumed with day-to-day tasks, leaving little time for long-term strategy planning. A controller can take on the operational financial tasks, freeing up your time to focus on growing and strategizing for the future.
Signs That Your Small Business Could Benefit From a CFO
As your small business grows, you may reach a point where the complexity and strategic decision-making of your financial operations become overwhelming. This is when bringing in a CFO can be highly beneficial.
Here are some signs that indicate your business may need the expertise of a CFO:
1. Lack of Financial Strategy
If you find yourself making financial decisions without a clear long-term plan or strategy, bringing in a financial expert can help. A CFO can work closely with you to create long-term financial strategies that align with your business goals and help you make informed decisions for sustainable growth based on your current processes and financials. A CFO can suggest improvements now to help you fulfill your objectives.
2. Inability to Secure Funding
Do you need help to secure funding for business expansion or investment opportunities? A CFO can analyze your financials, create compelling presentations for potential investors, and guide you through the funding process, increasing your chances of success.
3. Inadequate Risk Management
A CFO could be beneficial if you need help with how to identify and manage financial risks. Managing risks is one aspect of developing a business plan moving forward.
4. Difficulty in Budgeting and Forecasting
Are you finding it challenging to create accurate budgets and financial forecasts? A CFO can help you develop realistic budgets, perform financial analysis, and create accurate forecasts to guide your business decisions.
5. Complex Financial Reporting
A CFO can streamline the process if you’re struggling with complex financial reporting requirements or finding it difficult to generate meaningful financial reports. A CFO can tap into your current financial tools to give you data-driven insights.
Outsourced Accounting Can Help Your Achieve Business Goals
Hiring a full-time financial expert for your staff takes time and effort. Making the wrong hire can have adverse effects on your company. Instead, consider outsourcing your financial roles to experts in the field. We want you to be able to focus on the heart of your business.
The Whitlock Co. has three levels of service for your business needs. Request a consultation with our team to learn more.