What is a CFO?

A Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, holds the top financial position in an organization. A CFO leads budgeting, cash flow forecasting, investments, and monitors revenue production, collections, and spending. In smaller organizations, it’s often impractical to have someone with the training and experience to excel in these duties.

How can we leverage the skills of an experienced CFO in our smaller organization?

A part-time CFO functions as a Chief Financial Officer for more than one organization. This position is often referred to by other names — for example, shared CFO, outsourced CFO, virtual CFO, interim CFO, contract CFO, or fractional CFO. By any name, the position offers flexibility and access to the expertise you need. That means making the most of revenue opportunities, being as efficient as you can be, minimizing risks — all of these add up to a more successful operation.

Hiring a full-time CFO with the skills you need — at a minimum of six figures annually — may be too much of a commitment and a financial risk. With a part-time CFO, you can get the benefits of high-level financial expertise without the commitment or risk.

We already have a good bookkeeper/accountant, which seems to work just fine. Why would we also need a CFO?

Your bookkeeper/accountant may not have the skills or experience to help you make complex financial decisions.

Counterpart CFO does not replace your current staff. We work with your bookkeeper/accountant to improve your accounting systems, processes, and financial reporting.

You and your staff will find our experience to be a healthy extension of the systems you currently have in place. And if you’re not satisfied with your current staff, we can help you identify the skills you really need and help with a transition.

Beyond simple accounting, we live in a complex world with pitfalls at every turn — tricky financial propositions, legal traps, tax compliance, health care and other insurance decisions, and a myriad of government bureaucracy. Our experience can help you navigate these issues.

Can you help with technology decisions?

Absolutely. We find that most nonprofits don’t utilize technology as effectively as they should. Technology consulting is often prohibitively expensive. Counterpart CFO can act as the link between the technical “eggheads” (a phrase we use with deep respect) and your needs to improve business processes. We’ve helped organizations to develop customer relationship management (CRM) databases, secure login websites, and other technology solutions.

We already have a CPA who does our annual audit and Form 990. Why would we need a part-time CFO?

Even organizations with a full-time CFO need an external accountant, often for tax compliance and audit services. Part-time CFO Services do not replace an external accountant. Counterpart CFO will work with your external CPA as another link in the multifaceted team you need to be successful.

What about confidentiality?

Your organization’s data will be kept strictly confidential and not shared with anyone else.

Can we afford it? Can you afford to not maximize your results?

Our services are based on the value we bring to your organization. The best way to find out what we can do for you is to meet — either in person, “virtually,” or by telephone — for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. Based on the information we gather about your goals and objectives, we will provide you with a specific cost for our services.

You should expect direct results that will provide many times the value of your investment in Counterpart CFO. And if we’re not completely sure we can deliver results, we will not accept an engagement.

We’ve hired consultants in the past with mixed results. How will this be different?

Consultants are usually hired on a short-term project basis. Part-time CFO services through Counterpart CFO are most effective as part of a long-term relationship. It is simply a flexible way to fulfill an ongoing need.

What if we don’t feel we’re getting our money’s worth?

Counterpart CFO services are flexible, so you may cancel with thirty days notice. There is absolutely no obligation to continue.

How do we know if our organization is ready for a part-time CFO?

Do you ever find yourself frustrated by the mystery behind your financial reports? Do you find it difficult to get the answers you need to make good decisions?

Would your organization be more stable with a disciplined budgeting process that requires each department to stick to a budget?

Would you like to know, based on a projection of expectations, whether it’s cost-effective to —
hire a new employee?
be a fiscal sponsor for another project?
buy new equipment?
launch a marketing campaign?

Ironically, many organizations grind to a halt because of their success. Growth usually ties up additional cash, requiring careful cash management, borrowing, and other cash infusions. Would it help you to have an “early warning” system in place to tell you when you’ll run out of cash?

As a successful manager, you probably have a knack for making “seat of the pants” decisions without too much information or analysis. As your organization grows and the numbers get bigger, would it help you to have more tools at your disposal to ensure your success?