Can you feel it?

The Big 4, the mid-market, the historical advisors, the retirees, the laid-off…

It’s a trend…everybody is now offering CFO Services.

But are they offering CFOs???

We’ve been committed to this for a while. We hope the newbies are too!

There are so many entrepreneurs, scale-ups, and CEOs that need a practical and scalable financial strategy that it is amazing to see alternatives come to market!

So what are the top questions to ask someone who is offering CFO Services?

1. Has the CFO you are assigning me had a CFO title before?

2. What strategy teams have the CFO been a leader on before? What strategy training does the CFO have?

3. How does the CFO approach scale and growth?

4. What support does the CFO have from the team or firm, or organization?

5. How does the CFO integrate into my culture and team? What change management or client experience training do they have to ensure this is a priority?

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We would ask these questions because of the following pitfalls.

  1. Has the CFO you are assigning me had a CFO title before?

    ​We know from our years in this space that being a first-time CFO is hard, and that’s not what you expect from CFO services.

    If CFO services are nothing but an advisory or wedge service, then you’ll find yourself with an auditor, a tax expert, a consultant or at best, a controller parading around as a CFO. Those are important and key roles for CPAs, but they are not transferable skills.

    One question to ask, besides the resumes, is their ability to make management decisions. If they are driven by tax and audit, they’ll have limits in this area due to independence. That’s the first sign you don’t have a CFO.

  2. What strategy teams have the CFO been a leader on before? What strategy training does the CFO have?

    Because it’s a struggle in our own Amplify hiring, we know that few CPAs or CFOs have actual strategy training, strategy mindsets, or strategy experience. As a result, we turn away amazing CFOs regularly. Besides their lack of strategy, they’d be fantastic employees. If you are paying for CFO services you deserve experience in strategy.

  3. How does the CFO approach scale and growth?

    We know that stereotypes exist for a reason, and most accountants are cost-oriented, compliance obsessed, risk and controls experts, and numbers people. Few accountants focus on scale, practicality, and growing the business, including the top line. If you already have an auditor, a bookkeeper, or a controller, then the last thing you need is another stereotypical numbers person scrutinizing you and your team.

    These pitfalls are what we built our business on and our client experience around avoiding. When you engage CFO services it should be directly impacting your growth and scale.

  4. What support does the CFO have from the team or firm, or organization?

    Some CFO shops have a partner model. That means it’s a leverage model. You need to understand what that does for your needs. A junior is not a CFO, so if 80% of the time or value you are purchasing is a young buck, you should know that. Other CFOs are part-time due to lifestyle. They don’t have a backup or resources behind them.

How do CFO services fit with your growth?

Many times hiring a solopreneur runs into expectation challenges because they’ve over-sold themselves or they are doing it because their lifestyle is their highest priority. If they are in the game because they are ready to slow down, does that align with what you are trying to accomplish? Are you slowing down?

5. How does the CFO integrate into my culture and team? What change management or client experience training do they have to ensure this is a priority?

A CFO that is not focused on what makes a business – its people – will be disruptive.

And no matter how smart they are or how right they are, they won’t have influence, and they could hurt your progress. You’ll dread your time with them, and you’ll avoid them. There isn’t much point in paying for CFO services and then avoiding that service.

Too often, we’ve seen CFOs strip the magic out of a culture.

They leave behind gorgeous budgets, excellent financial reporting, and not a kick of secret sauce left to execute a strategy. It’s devastation from their bulldozing that is impossible to recover from quickly.

Now that you have some questions to ask to get out there and find a CFO!

Or call us. We’ve been doing this since our inception, and we are dedicated to it. It’s not an add-on for us. It’s built into our purpose, our values, and our client experience promise.

We have a team of permanent CPAs plus Accounting Services, but we also have additional permanent team members that support our sales and Amplify Tech services. This epic team is always hiring. We are grateful for each other, the clients we get to support, and the community that we serve. Our contractors round out our epic team.

If any of the above topics are of interest, we’d all be happy to get on a call and discuss!

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