questions to ask when hiring a virtual

4 Most Important Questions to Ask an Outsourced CFO

Feeling like your company is growing and it’s time to hire an expert to come in and deal with the financial side of things is both exciting and daunting for most small business owners. Finding the right CFO to help with your financial operations can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

As a business owner myself, I get it—your business is your baby and you’re careful about who you allow to see your real operations behind the scenes. Asking the right questions can help you find the right fit in a virtual CFO for your company.

Hiring the wrong person to your team can have a massive impact on your business, but the impact of hiring the wrong outsourced CFO can be catastrophic to your business’ success. Finding the right person to help you solve your biggest financial challenges is something you don’t want to rush through. 

What’s the best way to find a virtual CFO to help you grow? Ask these questions when looking to hire a virtual CFO to make sure you’re finding the right fit for your business and challenges. 

1. Have You Worked With Businesses Facing Similar Challenges?

The key to finding the right outsourced CFO for you is knowing that financial fundamentals don’t change significantly between businesses and industries. Instead, it’s all about experience solving the problems your business faces. When small businesses find they need a CFO, they tend to be experiencing a lot of the same problems, regardless of their industry or business model.

One of the biggest assumptions you can make is that you need a virtual CFO that’s worked in your industry or business niche before and it’s a common mistake. While knowledge of your industry can be helpful, a great CFO understands more about how to overcome the challenges you’re facing. 

You don’t want to just hire any virtual CFOs that just look good on paper, you want to know what their experience is when it comes to being able to help you tackle your biggest problems. Ask questions about the kinds of challenges their past clients have faced, how they solve those problems, and how they can help you do the same. Having a clear understanding of the financial advice they can provide will help you find the right outsourced CFO for your business.

I’ve worked with a wide variety of businesses from retail shops to million dollar companies. I’ve even worked with groups like the US military, large universities, start up businesses, and marketing agencies. As a business owner myself, I am very aware of the different ways to help build a successful business with your business model in mind. 

2. What Level of Service Do You Provide?

It’s not just about what virtual CFO services you can expect but also the level of service offered. Not all outsourced CFOs offer the same services or level of service so finding the right fit for your needs is a question you need to ask.

Not every business owner needs a full time CFO and may require different services—it’s all about the specific benefits you’re hoping to get from working with a CFO. That’s why I offer four different services to my clients that they can choose from depending on what their needs are: 

  • Not Rocket Finance: training modules and resources to improve your business financial literacy and understanding of core business finance concepts
  • Action Plan: a one-week intensive to clean up your financials and operations to create lean efficiencies in your business
  • Virtual CFO & Advisory: full service financial advisory services for established businesses looking to solve specific financial and operational problems

You’ll want to ask other questions to understand exactly what level of service they have to offer and what they’ll bring to the table as well as what their virtual CFO services cost

3. Do You Have Operational Experience and Can Help With Productivity?

There’s a big link between operational efficiency and financial performance of your company. Finding an outsourced CFO who can help you address both can help you conquer more than just cash flow problems and dig deeper into the biggest challenges your business is facing. Knowing exactly what your expectations of what a virtual CFO will do for your business can help you find the right person to work with.

Asking about additional experiences beyond CFO advisory services can help you get a better understanding of the scope of knowledge and expertise a virtual CFO can bring to your business. Do they have the ability to help you handle productivity issues, operational decisions that impact finances, and take care of issues that are directly tied to financial health?

For example, not only do I bring financial management knowledge to my CFO advisory role with my clients, I also bring the experience managing human resources and implementing software systems, and 20+ years of experience in business intelligence. I help my clients get a handle on financials as well as all the bits and pieces that go into the day-to-day operations of their companies, including software, processes, and team members.

4. What Should I Expect From CFO Services?

There’s a lot of options when it comes to choosing a virtual CFO to work with, from large consulting firms with hundreds of CFOs to independent consultants like me. Finding the right fit of how you’ll work with your CFO consultant is an important question to ask when you’re assessing options. Who will you work with and will that be the same throughout your relationship?

As well, you want to make sure that the person you bring into help you can work well with the other resources you already use in your business, whether you have an accounting person on your team or an outsourced bookkeeper. CFO services aren’t the same as day to day financial management provided by a bookkeeper so you want to understand how they’ll help you work with and manage other members of your financial team, if you have any.

As your business grows, your needs will too. It’s important to have a virtual CFO that will grow with you and can help you anticipate future challenges before you encounter them. When you’re hiring a CFO, you need to know that there’s room for growth by asking questions about how they’ll support you in the long term. 

It’s helpful to establish expectations up front and how a virtual CFO plans to continue to help you as your business changes.

Finding the Right Virtual CFO For You

Knowing the right questions to ask an outsourced CFO before hiring them can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure about some of the key elements that you need for your business when it comes to CFO services. The most important things to know is that they will work well with you, know how to handle your business operations, what their experience is, and how they work with their clients. 

It’s all about finding someone who has the right skills, experience, and personal rapport with you to help you overcome the challenges your business needs to tackle to get where you want to go.

I offer a Good Fit call to help you understand what it’s like to work with me, how I approach financial management and operations, and why my past experiences can help steer you in the right direction. If you’re interested in learning more about getting started with your virtual CFO experience, schedule your Good Fit call!

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