An outsourced CFO? But what is it? Who is it? Why do it? From when? Many questions to which I will try to provide some answers.
To make the question easier, there are 2 main roles in an administrative and financial department:
The first exists in all companies, large or small. The second starts to appear at a certain size.
Both roles have to be held anyway. When the company is smaller the CFO does everything. When it grows, he will start to surround himself…
Even the smallest structures have administrative tasks:
That’s it: all this work must be done. The chartered accountant if he does the bookkeeping for you, will do the accounting and grumble if there are missing parts (every chartered accountant likes to grumble about parts it’s our life) but he will not manage these elements. So who will? Yes you, the manager.
When you are alone or with one employee and little flow it poses few problems. But let’s say that beyond 4/5 employees and 300kEuros of turnover, you reach a volume where it becomes a part-time job (at least) and especially it becomes very time-consuming if it is not done regularly (every day).
The right person is the accounting (or administrative) secretary: she manages this part, prepares the documents, follows the requests, manages the grumbling accountant, etc. You can do it but is it an optimal management of your time?
If your company grows, so does the job of your office manager. It becomes a whole position. Then one person on the customers and one on the suppliers etc. The volume to be processed grows and so does your department.
But a second set of problems starts to appear. Problems that are much more technical and that the office manager will not be able to manage. And that’s where the CFO comes in:
It’s harder to quantify and it’s difficult to give a rule but let’s say that when you enter the SME category (more than 10 employees 2M euros) these issues are definitely there. When you go from VSE to SME the need appears gradually (the border is porous).
A full-time CFO is expensive. Let’s say that beyond 5/6 M euros and / or 50 employees you will have a full-time CFO. A shared CFO can be interesting when you are no longer a small business but do not yet have the financial basis to have someone full time.
It is an intervention that will start periodically (often it starts 1 day a week).
There are different profiles. Two main ones can be distinguished.
It may be a former CFO who has decided to switch to this way of working (they often have experience which allows them to take things in hand and have an impact more quickly). The question then arises as to their financial, tax or social knowledge.
A chartered accountant can also manage this kind of problem. He will be more at ease with all the technical tax and social issues, negotiations with banks. However, he may lack the business knowledge of your sector (figures are not everything either). In short, it will be a question of arbitration according to the specificity of your activity.
They can intervene at different times: