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How An Outsourced CFO Works With Your Finance Team

How An Outsourced CFO Works With Your Finance Team

We have discussed in previous articles and videos how working with an outsourced CFO impacts you as a business owner. You may be keen to know how an outsourced CFO particularly impacts your finance team. That is a crucial point to discuss since it is your finance team that we will be working closely with the most!

One of the most important realizations we’ve had in our journey at CFO Dynamics and as an outsourced CFO provider is finance teams can be initially intimidated by our presence. It’s primarily because they are anxious that their own jobs with your company may be at risk. They fear you need us to come in because they’re not doing a good job, or we will discover how they are “messing up” and we will report their shortcomings to you.

Our first step in engaging a finance team is to address head-on such intimidation issues by letting them know what we are trying and not trying to achieve. We ease their anxiety and discomfort by establishing it is our goal to make their lives better and hopefully easier in their roles. In our experience, it has never been an objective to make them lose their jobs. On the contrary, we reassure them they will be very much a part of our journey and their involvement will be crucial to our success, which is reality not just a feel-good saying.

Once they realize our purpose for working with your business, their worries are generally removed. They are happy to learn of new ways to improve what they are doing to get better results. We want to ensure we get their buy-in to the process.

There were rare occasions, however, where we recommended to business owners a member of their finance team was not up to the position. Personally, I have only recommended this twice over several years so you could say it was more of the exception rather than the rule. We value honesty and transparency with business owners and includes being open about the performance, capacity, and competence of their finance team.

The second step is to get them to provide all the necessary information and access we need. It could be as simple as requesting a bank statement, an equipment contract, access to tax department, or whatever it is we may need. We rely on the finance team to facilitate our requirements.

The third step is to start training the finance team and establish systems and processes to be followed. We either work with individual team members or in groups and share what they need to do and how to do it. The great thing is our work dynamics with finance teams is usually characterised by a collaborative approach.

It is also important for us to get the finance team’s feedback on what we are doing. Our general experience working with finance teams is quite positive and encouraging. They are very receptive. They would often tell us they are on board with the changes we want to institute and in implementing new and improved systems. They are also open and participative with the training we give them. But also, if they believe our recommendations could be improved upon or provide further context in a situation, we want to ensure this is considered too.

The training required will depend on the status of the finance team. There will be circumstances where it is quite intense in time and focus and others where it may be finessing what they already do.

Once systems are in place, our engagement with the finance team comes down to just monthly check-ins as we respond to ad hoc questions. We aim to enhance what they already do, and should we see the need for it, we make adjustments over the journey as the businesses needs change over time too.All these with the end view of optimising the performance of your finance team to help you reach your targets and goals as business owners.

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