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Article Image - Bridging the Gap: How Fractional CFOs Offer Big Business Insights for Small Companies
Posted 7th February 2024

Bridging the Gap: How Fractional CFOs Offer Big Business Insights for Small Companies

There are fewer barriers to starting a small business than ever today, but owners and founders often face one core problem when trying to scale beyond the sole proprietor startup face – they need top-tier financial expertise but don’t have the resources to hire a full-time financial executive. This is where sourcing a Fractional Chief […]

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Bridging the Gap: How Fractional CFOs Offer Big Business Insights for Small Companies

There are fewer barriers to starting a small business than ever today, but owners and founders often face one core problem when trying to scale beyond the sole proprietor startup face – they need top-tier financial expertise but don’t have the resources to hire a full-time financial executive.

This is where sourcing a Fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) flips the script. A fractional CFO offers the same strategic insight and financial functions of a seasoned CFO at the enterprise-level, but on a part-time or contractual basis.

The Rise of Fractional CFOs

Modern business’ unique and evolving needs drive the fractional CFO’s expanding role – it isn’t just a trend. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), startups, and even larger companies in transitional phases often need the strategic financial guidance that a CFO provides. But hiring (and paying for) a full-time CFO can be daunting. A fractional CFO addresses this need by offering equivalent expertise on a part-time or project basis, making high-level financial advice more accessible and affordable.

What Does a Fractional CFO Do?

A fractional CFO carries out the same duties as a traditional CFO but enjoy a more flexible schedule. Typical responsibilities include strategic planning, financial forecasting, managing cash flow, budgeting, and managing risk. They also offer founders offer guidance on raising capital, financial reporting, and compliance – all of which are hot topics during growth phases. Through their seasoned experience, they introduce otherwise inaccessible financial management sophistication to drive a small business’s growth.

The Benefits for Small Businesses

Cost-Effective Expertise: Onboarding a fractional CFO offers businesses access to professional financial advice while avoiding the costs tied to a full-time executive’s salary and benefits. Better yet, since you pay for what you need, you aren’t burning cash on an executive position during periods of limited work.

Strategic Insight: Fractional CFOs draw from their background in larger firms across various industries to offer a deep well of knowledge and a fresh perspective to help guide leaders in uncovering new opportunities and streamlining operations.

Flexibility: Companies can hire a fractional CFO for tailored services – whether for a brief project or continuous strategic advice – giving them greater command over their financial outlay. Likewise, the company can scale utilization up or down depending on business cycle or specific need.

Scalability: A fractional CFO’s involvement and scope can adapt and expand in line with the company’s growth, providing the necessary financial leadership without the obligation of a permanent appointment.

What’s the Difference?

If you’re a large company with a traditional full-time CFO on staff, they’re likely earning close to $400,000 annually, excluding benefits and bonuses. That’s a huge chunk of change, especially if you’re a typical small to medium enterprises. To combat high costs, you can hire a fractional CFO for similar expertise but on a part-time basis. Their rate usually ranges between $250 – $350 per hour, equating to about $52,000 annually if you use them biweekly for 5 – 8 hours at a stretch. Alternately, you can use a fractional CFO to tackle a specific problem or project and, since their hourly rate is transparent, you’ll be able to cap costs to your budget ceiling by managing total time spent.

The Future: Embracing Virtual and Outsourced CFO Services

The rise of virtual and outsourced CFO services is a natural progression to digitized and democratized finance. These services offer even more flexibility and cost savings, particularly for businesses in remote locations or those operating in a virtual environment – which many firms are today, at least in part. Finance’s ongoing evolution means virtual CFOs can provide the same level of service remotely, leveraging technology for data-driven decision-making.

Actionable Takeaways

Here’s how to quickly begin leveraging the suite of opportunity fractional CFOs offer:

  1. Evaluate Your Needs: Assess the specific financial challenges and goals of your business to determine how a fractional CFO could add value.
  2. Seek the Right Fit: Look for a fractional CFO whose experience aligns with your industry and business stage.
  3. Embrace Flexibility: Utilize the flexible nature of this service to address immediate needs and plan for long-term strategic goals.
  4. Leverage Technology: Utilize digital tools and platforms to maximize the efficiency and impact of your fractional CFO’s advice and strategies.

Democratizing Financial Expertise

Fractional CFO services revolutionize the way small businesses access and utilize financial expertise. These professionals bridge the gap between the need for high-level financial advice and the constraints of limited resources, democratizing advanced financial management. They’re both a cost-effective solution for small companies aiming to grow and compete in the broader market and act as a strategic asset driving substantial business growth and success.

Categories: News


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