How would you describe a Virtual CFO?
As a Virtual CFO, I take on the role of CFO within a business on a part-time basis. This work can be from half-a-day a week to two days a week depending on the needs of the business. For me the key hallmarks of a Virtual CFO are: a commercial mind-set, flexibility, confidence and the ability to challenge the status-quo from an independent perspective.
What kind of clients do you service?
SME clients with either high growth or high growth potential and usually delivering services or products to the global market. My clients have a strong bias towards tech and are looking to be the “next big thing”!
What do clients appreciate most about a Virtual CFO?
- The high-touch/quasi-employee nature of the service with gives them a CFO in a highly cost-effective manner
- The fact that I work across multiple clients sharing those experiences to the benefits of my clients
- Providing them with a sounding board and sense check on any matter
What are the common misconceptions people have around Virtual CFOs?
That we’re only good at numbers! See the rest of this blog for why that is wrong! Also some clients believe they don’t need a CFO and can do it all themselves.
What's your favourite part of the role?
Variety! One day I’m reviewing a digital marketing campaign, the next I am helping a client negotiate the acquisition of a business and then I’m off to present at a board meeting. Once you build their trust, the breadth of work that clients will give you is quite staggering and the more you build trust and add-value the more they give you. I also get to travel a bit and work at client offices around the country which adds to the variety.
What's the most challenging part of the role?
Developing and maintaining a very broad and commercial skill set. I have to make sure I really know what is going on in the world so I can bring those learnings to my client interactions. Also, it would be the mental challenge of effectively having lots of part-time jobs with all the names of people that come with that!
Where is the industry headed with all the online accounting?
I think it is widely understood that the technology solutions available today mean that as an industry we need to keep moving up the value chain or risk becoming irrelevant. For me, the Virtual CFO as a proposition sits in the “most trusted advisor” position adding real value to our clients’ businesses on a daily basis. It should be quite hard to replace with some software but you never know!