While you’re scouting for companies to acquire, you need someone comfortable with due diligence on your team. You’re in the business of investing in risk, but the portion of risk linked to getting bad company information is minimizable.
Many small businesses do well with the services of a bookkeeper or controller, but eventually many find it necessary to expand by bringing in a CFO. While accountants, bookkeepers, and controllers have their place, CFOs help with different things – like by offering actionable insights into how your business is faring financially.
If you’re unsure if this step is right for you, consider the following pros and cons to help you answer the question: "When do I need a CFO?"
I had an epiphany this morning. I woke up early, started my routine, and - like many of my fellow business owners - immediately started thinking about things I needed to get done today. I believe I start thinking about work tasks so early to temporarily forget about the one part of my morning routine I dread: oral hygiene. I don't dread it because I have hygienic issues; I dread it because I feel like if I spend 5 minutes, my dentist would say I should have spent 10; 20 minutes should have been 30. Childish? Maybe. (But I digress.)
For most small businesses, a bookkeeper is enough to maintain accounting records and create basic quarterly and year-end financial statements. Business growth, however, may necessitate hiring a controller. But what’s the difference between a bookkeeper and a controller, and how do you decide which role is appropriate for your company’s needs?
A controller is an important member of your company’s management team. In large companies, the CFO is responsible for the overall financial strategy while the controller manages the day-to-day aspects of your accountants, payroll managers, tax managers, credit managers, etc. The controller’s role in smaller companies, however, can include the broad strategic responsibilities of a CFO in addition to hands-on management.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan
The quote embodies something we believe in very strongly at Harbour Rock: big success requires collaboration. In our organization, we think of our clients as partners and our underlying responsibility to those partners maintains a position of paramount importance.