More and more Siouxland small businesses are incorporating part-time CFOs into their executive teams--and for good reason. A Chief Financial Officer can provide many financial and operational services that many CEOs and business owners have little time, training, or patience for, and having the professional experience available on a part-time basis not only makes it accessible, but also affordable.
Want to know more about what to expect and how to hire a part-time CFO? We've got the answers to our most commonly asked questions right here.
1. What's the difference between a full-time and a part-time CFO?
First, let's explain what a Chief Financial Officer is. In today's large and small business environments, the CFO is the person on the executive or management team whose main objective is to improve the bottom line while increasing cash flow. A CFO does this by creating and overseeing accurate financial reporting, safeguarding assets such as cash and inventory and looking for operational waste and efficiencies.
A CFO is a jack-of-all-trades type of executive; not only does he or she plan for financial success and prepare for potential pitfalls in the short- and long-term, a talented CFO also has the added responsibility of empowering and coaching employees to fulfill the company's financial objectives as well as engaging investors, banks, and other corporate entities along the same lines.
This all being said, the main difference between a part-time CFO and a full-time CFO is simply the number of hours they work for you. The beauty of a part-time, or interim, CFO is that the reduced hours creates a huge savings, especially for small businesses who cannot handle the financial weight of another executive salary. By offering services on a part-time or as-needed basis, Siouxland small businesses can benefit from sound financial advice without pouring all of their savings--or additional profits--into another name on the payroll.
2. What can I expect when I hire an interim CFO?
When you hire a firm like Timm Funk Associates, you can expect professional leadership and advice delivered by people who are passionate about their work. We pride ourselves on being equally no-nonsense as well as approachable. We understand on a fundamental level that your business is "your business." Think of us as your navigator: we will have ideas of where your business could go, but only you can steer the ship.
That being said, in order to do our job properly, we will have to dig deeply into your financial reports and ask some fairly pointed questions about the state of your business, how it came to be in its current position, and where you'd like to see it going. If your financial statements aren't giving us a full enough picture, we know how to set them up so that they can be a better resource going forward.
It is the "forward" part of the equation that always brings a sense of relief to the majority of our clients. Often we are hired by entrepreneurs to handle a variety of nagging problems that tend to stagnate or derail projects and companies. Our job is to remove or smooth out the obstacles and processes that get in the way of progress.
3. Is an "interim CFO" and "part-time CFO" the same thing?
In terms of how we at Timm Funk Associates look at it, yes, the two terms are often interchangeable."Interim" can sometimes mean "short-term" or "on an as-needed" basis. "Part-time" can sometimes refer to a relationship that is more "on-call". Either way, you are receiving the professional advice and experience of a Chief Financial Officer without adding their full salary (and benefits and office space) to your budget and office space. And, most importantly, you get our full attention whenever you need it. Not sure when you'll need it? Read our post on how to find out when it's time to ask for help with your small business.
4. Are you a tax preparation firm?
The short answer to this is "No." The question is an important one, however, and it deserves a long answer. We are uniquely equipped to help Siouxland entrepreneurs and small businesses make informed, strategic decisions that will serve them well on their taxes. We do this by having a good understanding of tax issues while working closely with the company's tax professional. We can provide the right information and frame up the correct questions. By doing so, we've helped small business owners then execute tax saving strategies.
We also go further with tax-related issues by forecasting net taxable income. The intent is to avoid surprises come tax season! Our goal is to create reporting tools that are so clear and accurate your tax preparation firm will jump at the chance of doing yours first. The truth of the matter is that tax preparation isn't a task; it's a test. It lets you know--and in fairly short order-- just how accurate your accounting and your reporting is.
The main difference between Timm Funk Associates and a tax preparation firm is involvement. We are regularly involved to assist with tax-saving practices. Our proactive mindset allows you to capitalize on tax-saving strategies, to find the best time to grow or downsize, to take advantage of certain tax incentives, and to avoid tax pitfalls. In contrast, many tax preparation firms are simply not involved until year-end or often don't have the proper information in time for tax saving ideas. We are not tax professionals; rather, we help your tax professional do what they do best.
5. How is Timm Funk Associates different from other firms?
At Timm Funk Associates, we have a small number of clients we deeply focus on. We are not like many CPA firms that offer tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to a large pool of clients. Our firm only succeeds when our clients see significant value in our ideas and our execution. We offer more than just outside perspective, and we provide more than just solutions. We can be as actively involved in your business as you need us to be, freeing up your time to do what you need to grow your business or to achieve the work-life balance that makes it all worthwhile.
Furthermore, we are not a consulting firm that assesses, advises, and then leaves. We like getting to know each client, and being an active participant in the growth and success of each one. We are a small business that believes in the power of the local economy, and we believe that when a small business thrives in Siouxland, everyone wins.