In a virtual world, virtually anything is possible.
This is becoming increasingly evident for the host of small and medium businesses who have transcended traditional boundaries of employment and communication to benefit from the sharpest financial minds in Australia.
These businesses operate on tighter budgets and limited resources yet can afford to engage Australia’s top Chief Financial Officers with impressive back catalogues and strong commercial acumen to help drive their business numbers.
The virtual world, of course.
In a phenomenon that’s democratising the executive class, Virtual CFOs are becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses which are smart enough to only pay for the support they need, when they need it.
The growing ‘Gig economy’ that’s already created Uber drivers, Air Tasker handymen and Instagram influencers is rising to executive ranks, delivering Virtual CFOs to the business world at large.
The advantage of a Virtual CFO is that they will only materialise (and incur costs) when the business needs their input. For the majority of organisations, that’s not on a full-time basis. And for just as many, there’s no need for these interactions to be time and cost-consuming meetings in person, meaning no more days and dollars lost to travel.
By cutting costs that are no longer necessary thanks to technology, Virtual CFOs have made top quality financial advice and expertise available to businesses of all sizes, not just large companies who have the resources to fund a six-figure salary.
This has levelled the playing field, giving SMEs access to a higher calibre of financial expertise that was previously unattainable to them.
So, why are small businesses deciding to work with a Virtual CFO over someone like an accountant or bookkeeper?
For one, it’s the ability to tap into someone with real commercial experience, who understands what is (and isn’t) profitable for your business. CFO On-Call, one of Australia’s leading providers of Virtual CFO services, recently conducted a survey of its clients and found an average profit growth of 51 percent over three years for those who took the virtual plunge.
Besides the clear financial benefits, here are some other ways small and medium businesses can reap the benefits of a Virtual CFO:
- Owners and managers no longer need to trudge across town to meet their accountant. Meetings can now be carried out over Skype or Facetime with ‘best of breed’ professionals, who understand commercial reality.
- Cloud-based accounting systems enable a Virtual CFO to access information and always keep tabs on what’s happening. They can alert clients to developments, so that issues can be addressed quickly. Addressing issues in ‘real time’ saves money and time, as opposed to reacting to a problem that’s been hidden for months.
- Having banking, accounting and budgeting systems linked up helps to make accurate profit and cash flow information available. This lets businesses know when they can afford to pay for things, rather than waiting to ask the bookkeeper or accountant.
- A Virtual CFO can act as a trusted sounding board for businesses. A client can speak with their Virtual CFO about the merits/drawbacks of an opportunity, potentially saving lots of time and money on projects that aren’t viable or speeding up profitable ones.
The professionals available from companies like CFO On-Call boast blue chip credentials, with years of experience streamlining the operations of ‘Top End of Town’ companies. Applying this experience to a smaller operation is likely to turbo-charge performance, particularly when it’s made available on a user pays basis.
With this in mind, it seems virtually inconceivable that Virtual CFOs won’t continue to boom as traditional employment models fragment, and technology offers improved opportunities to interface at minimal cost.
The next step, of course, is finding a Virtual CFO who is the right fit for your business. To help, CFO On-Call has developed a useful 18 point checklist, which outlines important considerations for business owners looking to tap into the Virtual CFO market.
About the Author
Director of CFO On-Call, Sue Hirst, aims to help business owners improve their business with straightforward and easy-to-understand advice. She has written a series of eBooks and enjoys writing about a variety of business topics.
Sue is passionate about educating business owners on important issues such as good cash flow management and financial control, in a straightforward manner. Her work has been published and regularly features in a range of industry publications including In The Black, BRW, Dynamic Business and Australian Businesswomen’s Network.