AccountingSmall Business & Startups

Improving the Temporary CFO Model

As you know, every business of every size has money to manage. With that in mind, we ask you to look at the images below, and then we have a question for you.

Org chart for a productive accounting department.

What temporary CFOs typically sell.
What is wrong with this story?

Well, nothing if you look at them individually (except, of course, the second image looks more like a name tag than a department). If you look at them in combination, you’ll see that in the first image, there are eight boxes and only one is a CFO. In the second image, there’s just one lonely, overworked CFO (not a department does one CFO make).

Presuming that you buy into the idea of a departmental org chart, which includes a team of individuals doing specific jobs to meet varying tactical and strategic goals, the rule of thumb would be that for every day of accounting assistance in your business, you need:

One hour of CFO expertise (high level, strategic, expensive)
Two hours of controller services (blends strategic and tactical)
Five hours from a bookkeeper (tacking and blocking)
Why would you retain an expensive, high-level CFO to handle all of the roles in the department? (You don’t need to be an accountant to see that this would not be a good use of your funds.)

It’s not all that hard to find a contract CFO. Come to think of it, it’s not all that hard to find a temporary bookkeeper either. But neither is quite enough on his or her own, and hiring them both is probably just going to add to your stress level.

In general, the majority of the time your startup needs the basics – accountant, financial analyst, accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll. Traditionally, those things have been handled by a contract bookkeeper who shuffled paper on your behalf.

The advent of secure, cloud-based data storage, turnkey technologies and online banking has given savvy entrepreneurs the new option of virtual bookkeeping – all without the need for an extra desk in your office. Good start; but by itself, virtual bookkeeping lacks the benefit of personal consult. Often, remote bookkeepers still require that their clients scan and/or fax, or (gasp) mail receipts and documents for them to manage.

An alternative exists. (Spoiler alert. Shameless plug forthcoming.)

AcuityComplete is the alternative. Think of AcuityComplete as a fixed-price ‘bookkeeping as a service’ (BaaS) solution designed especially for startups. Blending remote, technology driven bookkeeping with support from a team of CPAs, it’s the whole departmental org chart in one neat, affordable, fixed-price package.

Our clients use our BaaS solution through the popular Quickbooks Online program. Fundamental day-to-day tactical accounting data is integrated seamlessly within a secure 256-bit AES system. Through regular roundtable sessions, our team makes sure that every piece of technology integrated in the AcutiyComplete system is the most up-to-date and best of breed.

The financials are managed by our team of expert bookkeepers who supply clients with actual financial reports whenever needed. That means that accounting data isn’t just corralled and managed – it’s aggregated into useful information that can be used for growth.

Each piece of the org chart is covered – affordably, virtually and expertly.

Bottom line, there are many ways to handle your accounting (heck, you could even spend the time doing it yourself). You can get that one-man contract CFO show. You can find a bookkeeper on Craig’s List. But why?

Thousands of new companies incorporate every month. It’s a competitive startup environment. The startups that win will be the ones that use their resources most effectively. It’s time to hire what you really need.

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