7 Signs It's Time to Hire a Virtual CFO

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1 7 Signs It's Time to Hire a Virtual CFO A SPECIAL REPORT FROM NEW DIRECTION CAPITAL

2 7 Signs It's Time to Hire a Virtual CFO The economy is ever changing and the needs of your business will change from one year to the next. Your company won't be in the same place one year from now, nor is it in the same place it was a year ago. Although things change, one thing remains the same: You want your business to continue to thrive and succeed. A key component of helping your company thrive is making sure it is on track to hit its goals, and that the goals you have set are the best fit. If you're ready to take your business to the next level, but aren't sure how to get there, the next step might be to hire a virtual chief financial officer (CFO). From needing assistance with your company's finances to laying the roadmap for your business' growth, there are many signs that point to the need for a virtual CFO. 1 YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON YOUR COMPANY Although it might have been easy for you to handle the financial details of your business in the beginning, as things change and those details become more complicated, you might find that they are pulling your attention away from where it is most needed: actually running your business. If you regularly feel that your attention is more heavily weighted toward the financial aspects of the business, it is most likely time to outsource some of those responsibilities to a person who is better equipped to handle them. Working with a virtual CFO also allows you to focus on the next steps for your company, whether that means staying on a path you're currently on, or branching out into a new area. Page 1

3 For years, there was a big focus on multi-tasking in the workplace and among entrepreneurs. But, research has shown that even though the sharpest of Working with a virtual CFO also allows you to focus on the next steps for your company, whether that means staying on a path you're currently on, or branching out into a new area. minds can multi-task, when the brain switches from one item to the next, it shifts attention and reduces efficiency. When a business owner is continually moving from one task to the next and then back again, the company as a whole suffers. Strategy isn't mapped out as well as it could be and small details are easily forgotten. For your company to run as smoothly as possible and succeed, you'll need to at some point begin to assign projects and duties to others. Start by hiring a virtual CFO to handle finances and strategy. 2 YOU NEED FINANCIAL HELP BEYOND PAYROLL AND TAXES You might wonder why you need to hire a CFO when it seems as though a bookkeeper or accountant will suffice. While a bookkeeper or accountant can easily handle the day-to-day transactions of your company's finances, such as making sure your employees get paid and that there's cash to pay them with, or making sure your tax payments and returns are submitted to the IRS on time, the role of a virtual CFO goes beyond all that. A virtual CFO can manage the financial operations of your business, but will also make sure that the day-to-day finances don't obscure your company's wider goals. They also look at the larger financial picture for your company and will help your business develop or improve its financial strategy. They can help you see where you're spending too much and offer suggestions for reducing spending. They can also help you determine which options are best for your company now and Page 2

4 A virtual CFO can manage the financial operations of your business, but will also make sure that the day-to-day finances don't obscure your company's wider goals. which might be worth considering in the future. For instance, your business might not currently have the capacity to borrow money or to pursue investors. But, with the help of a virtual CFO, you might be better suited to pursue financing options in a few months or a year. 3 YOU NEED ASSISTANCE BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS So much of business depends on relationships you have with other people. Whether it's finding an investor interested in helping your company move to the next phase, or finding a lender willing to give you a loan, a part of your company's success lies in establishing good relationships. If you're struggling with your bank, having trouble getting the attention of investors, or can't find a lender who's willing to take a chance on your company, a virtual CFO can provide that expertise. A virtual CFO can sit down with you and your banker and help you find common ground or better understand each other. For example, your bank might seem not to give you much attention because they don t understand what your business does, what your plan for the future is, and how you plan on getting there. As an outside party, a virtual CFO can provide unbiased guidance about whether it's worth it to continue to try to establish a relationship with a current bank or lender, or attempt to build a new relationship elsewhere. 4 YOU NEED HELP WITH FINANCING AND CASH FLOW Speaking of financing, a virtual CFO can also provide assistance when it comes to determining the financing options that will work best for your company. There are generally two options when it comes Page 3

5 to financing: debt and equity financing, and there are advantages and disadvantages for each option. For example, one potential disadvantage of debt financing is that you need to pay it back, often with interest. To minimize the risk, you want to make sure that you only borrow as much as you can afford to comfortably pay back. An advantage of debt financing is that the lender doesn't become involved in your business. Aside from making sure the loan is repaid, with interest, a lender has no say in the running of your company. In the case of equity financing, an investor looks at your business, likes what he or she sees, and wants to give you an influx of capital to continue operations or to move to the next phase of growth. In exchange for his or her investment, the investor gets a stake in your company. You now have someone rooting for and willing to work for the success of your business, as when your company's profits increase, the investor gets a share of those profits. A certain amount of attention and care is needed when sifting through your company's financing options. For example, not every investor is a good match for every company. While debt financing can be a great option for one business, another might be better served by a more diverse mix of financing, such as working with one investor who has experience in your business' industry and obtaining a smaller loan from a bank. There are also a variety of new funding options available, such as crowdfunding, which is different from a traditional equity financing or debt financing situation and which might be an appropriate option for your business. A virtual CFO can help you find the right balance of financing for your growing business, whether it's a mix of loans and equity financing, one or the other, or something else entirely. Obtaining capital is just one part of the financial equation. No matter what stage your business is in, it needs to have cash on hand to A virtual CFO can help you find the right balance of financing for your growing business, whether it's a mix of loans and equity financing, one or the other, or something else entirely. Page 4

6 handle day-to-day bills and to pay vendors and employees. If you're worried about the flow of cash into your company drying up or you regularly struggle to make ends meet, even though you earn more money than you spend, you need to hire a virtual CFO. A virtual CFO can examine your company's past performance and help you create a forecast for future performance and future needs. Depending on how long you have been in business, a virtual CFO can use data from industry trends or data from your business to put together the forecast. One common reason for cash flow concerns is that the customers you work with aren't paying you on time or that you're giving customers too much time to pay. Your virtual CFO can help you take a closer look at your receivables, find where your business is running into trouble, and help you create a plan to get people to pay in a timely manner or to avoid non-paying clients in the future. 5 YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS Business growth can mean a variety of different things, but what remains the same is that a business can't grow without a plan. Your virtual CFO can help your company put together that plan and help you choose the most appropriate path for growth. It might be that you are planning on growing by acquiring a competitor or a similar business. There are many questions to be answered before an acquisition, such as, is the company worth purchasing and what are you really acquiring with the purchase? If you operate with a lean team, a virtual CFO can be the one to perform the due diligence on the company to help you avoid the wrong acquisition decision and know what you are really buying, before you hand over the money. Even if your plans for growth are smaller, you can still benefit from the services of virtual CFO. You might be facing the question of whether or not you're ready to hire more people or add a new manager to your team. Your virtual CFO can help you evaluate your current employee mix and help you see whether adding new people to that mix would increase efficiency and profits or ultimately end up costing you. Page 5

7 When you are considering growth, there are several financial concerns that come into play, from whether you have the capital available to reach your goals to whether you have the resources on hand to handle an increase in business. No matter what your goals are, you need a plan or a roadmap to help your company reach them. A virtual CFO will work with you to develop a strategic plan for your company's growth and to create a A virtual CFO will work with you to develop a strategic plan for your company's growth and to create a roadmap that will get you from where you are today to where you plan on going, in the least amount of time possible and for the lowest possible cost. roadmap that will get you from where you are today to where you plan on going, in the least amount of time possible and for the lowest possible cost. 6 YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR BUSINESS' VALUE Part of developing a strategic plan for your company is understanding where it currently stands. Knowing your company s value and the value of similar businesses lets you see where you are and how far you have to go until you can reach the next phase of growth. You can't effectively make plans for your company's growth and development if you don't know what it is worth today. Working with a virtual CFO can also help you plan for increasing your company's value over time. For example, a CFO can examine the current issues facing your company and provide you with options for overcoming the issues, so that your business becomes more valuable. It might be that you need to focus on increasing profits or securing more streams of revenue. If your plan is to sell your company at some point in the near future, potential buyers will be more reassured, and more likely to spend more on your business, if there are already built-in revenue streams and if the company's profits are continually increasing. A virtual CFO can provide specific guidance if you plan on selling your company to a competitor or to a Page 6

8 related business at some point in the near future or if your plan is to help your business grow by purchasing another company. There's no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to selling or buying a business. Your virtual CFO can closely examine the particulars of your company and offer advice on whether a sale or purchase will ultimately help or hinder you. 7 YOU DON'T HAVE THE BUDGET FOR A FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE One final sign it's time to work with a virtual CFO: You need financial assistance, help developing your business' strategy, or are ready to take the next step with your company, but you don't have the budget to hire a full-time CFO. Typically, full-time executives cost much more than their annual salaries. You also have to cover the cost of benefits, such as a retirement plan and health insurance, and offer the full-time employee perks such as stock options. Virtual CFOs usually prove to be the budget-friendly alternative to a new staff member, as they work for a pre-established fee. You get the benefits of a fulltime CFO, without the high cost of hiring a full-time executive. In many cases, the money a virtual CFO saves your company can mean that he ends up paying for himself in the long run. As an added bonus, when you outsource your CFO activities, you benefit from their objectivity. Your virtual CFO's goal is to help your business succeed, no matter what. That means that you're more likely to get insight and advice that you wouldn't get from someone within your organization. Page 7

9 When you think it s time to hire a virtual CFO, consider the team at New Direction Capital. We enjoy helping businesses grow - this is our passion and at the core of all we do. Our principal, Mike Breeze, can be reached at or Page 8

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