While it mightn’t seem obvious, people & businesses are actually very similar – both growing & maturing over time, passing through different life stages & developing new, more complex needs as they grow.
As children, we needed our parents to teach us how to read, walk & talk. As we grew older, teachers exposed us to the wonders of the world through education & broadened our horizons. As adults, friends & colleagues helped us bring these past experiences together to create unique personalities and build new ways of thinking and doing.
The guidance we get from all these different players isn’t mutually exclusive; they work together as a team to guide us through the ups and downs and navigate our way through the world.
As a result, for a business to maximize their profits and total value, you’ll need the help of both a High Growth CFO & impact accountant to help realize the full potential of your business! There is a reason investors put so much emphasis on the team, not just the model.
“You can go in circles trying to be an expert financial growth or accounting guru, burning resources and time, or build a team and lean on their expertise to guide you through the challenges. It’s about changing the odds and overcoming more than your competitors.”
Scott Thompson, Partner, Foresight CFO
Let’s look at the different growth stages:
Early Stage Business: Early stage is all about fundraising, investor relations, proving your business model and surviving through the first year, two or three. Money is tight at this stage. So, why do you need a High Growth CFO? How can you afford a High Growth CFO? You can’t, well not a full-time one, but how are you supposed to master the very sensitive investor community and relationships? Most CEOs and Founders have never raised money before, more importantly, they do not know what the investors are looking for and why. Ask yourself:
“If my entire business is riding on raising capital to survive, why on earth would I do it myself without any experience and likely be shut down at every turn? Is it worth the risk?”
Early stage CEOs need someone who can do the basics, such as taking responsibility for handling your businesses cash in and cash out, keeping tracking of the inflow/outflow capital & ensuring staff is paid on time. Most importantly, they work directly for the CEO and they must always guide the CEO on the performance thus far. The operations must be impactful and scale towards where the CEO is going. This is the time when an impact accountant and a High Growth CFO will be one of your key assets and give your business a solid foundation from which to build & grow. The impact accountant is heavy in the operations while the High Growth CFO is ensuring the CEO is the best setup for a capital raise.
High Growth Businesses: As a business matures, it will need someone more strategically minded, someone who will help the business’ capital work better for them by performing market analysis, helping secure credit and forecasting future performance. As these needs grow bigger, having a High Growth CFO on your team and take a more strategic role with an impact accountant becomes extremely important in order to remove these tasks from the CEO. This is the first sign of a CEO entering the #1 growth problem, the Owners Trap. The CEO must delegate and lean on the High Growth CFO to focus on the critical strategic and commercial tasks that drive the business forward. Most importantly, increase value and not run out of money!
Mature Businesses: As businesses continue to grow, they may look to go public or get involved in mergers or acquisitions or in our eyes, a HUGE PAYDAY!. At this stage, an excellent High Growth CFO is vital as not only will they have the financial acumen and knowledge to help with preparing the necessary documentation and ensuring everything is line, they should be a trusted and valuable partner who help shape the strategic vision of the company and are one of the CEO’s closest allies.
A true High Growth CFO is an integral part of the short and long-term success of your business and how it is valued by external buyers, investors, and even the board.
Choosing who manages your business’ finance is a major decision and should be given the time, effort & research it deserves to ensure you find the perfect match for your business.
The right combination of a High Growth CFO and Impact accountant(s) is one of the most powerful assets a CEO can have at their disposal. They provide a major competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced environment by providing the CEO with financial confidence and clarity leading to maximum impact!