CFO, VP of Finance, Controller, Accountant, Bookkeeper, Assistant, and Financial Analyst: these are often the titles you will encounter in an accounting and finance department. What are their responsibilities within a business and how do they help you grow? What is the value of an outsourced accounting and finance team?
Hiring Staff Time Consuming and Costly
Accounting transactions allow you to invoice and collect from customers, order and pay for goods and services, create paychecks, generate financial reports, and analyze business operations. In start-up organizations, these transactions are typically done by an administrative person who may or may not have accounting experience. Often, the bank statement is the most reliable and useful financial report – you’re either in the red, or (hopefully) the black.
As the business grows with more customers, suppliers, people and operations, the volume and complexity of transactions also increases. The ability to clearly see the health of the business becomes more difficult. This is often where a Bookkeeper would be added to the team. They may or may not have formal training, but they do understand the language of accounting transactions and how to get basic financial reports for tax, bank, and management purposes.
Accountants are usually added when more people are needed to process transactions. Accounts Receivable (A/R) and Accounts Payable (A/P), and Payroll are all areas where accountants or clerks with more specialized skills are necessary. Typically, there is a senior role to oversee the numerous functions and responsibilities. This may be where you start to hear the words “accrual,” “account reconciliations,” and “month end close process,” and you are likely outstripping your initial accounting system.
The next level will entail a Controller, which is when the full featured accounting department arrives. Controllers take on more extensive financial reporting and analysis, prepare basic budgets and forecasts, develop more robust internal controls and processes, and manage the outside accounting firm relationship. This is when you hear the words “GAAP,” “review,” “audit” and “compliance.” There are robust procedures in place to rely upon the numbers being reported, and analysis becomes a larger function overall.
Here is also where a Financial Analyst or VP of Finance can help offload some of the detailed business intelligence needs that may arise. These roles are often the first that comprise the finance team, requiring more interaction between lenders and investors due to increased complexity in the business model.
The final step is the addition of the CFO where the focus is to the future to strategize where the business is going and how best to maneuver the road map through goals and initiatives. The CFO focuses on strategic planning, interaction with the executive team, forecasting and projections, creating financial leverage, and accessing capital markets.
Consider Outsourced Accounting and Finance
If any of this is intimidating to think about as your business grows, consider relying on Signature Analytics to help you with ANY of these finance and accounting competencies. The benefit of relying on us is that you can pick and choose what you need, when you need it. You don’t have to go through the process of interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new staff.
Our talented, experienced accountants and financial analysts can complement your existing accounting employees, or act as your entire accounting department (CFO to staff accountant). We provide the ongoing accounting support and financial analysis necessary to more effectively run your company, analyze operations, and guide business decisions to help you grow. Contact us today.