What is the difference between a Financial Manager and a Chief Financial Officer? Perhaps the best analogy is that of a Coxswain in charge of the Oxford Eight in the annual Oxford/Cambridge boat race. While each man in the team has a specific role to play, it is up to the Coxswain to steer the boat and execute the strategy that the coach has devised to get to the winning line first. While the Coxswain needs to understand the function, strengths and weaknesses of each member of his team, he does not need to physically fulfill each role but needs to know how to adjust the strategy should it be required and get the best out of his team to win the race. To be successful takes a lot of hard work and experience.A Chief Financial Officer’s role is very similar. It is his responsibility to surround himself with the right team and systems to get the job done – and then devise a financial strategy that dovetails with the company’s overall business strategy to create a winning formula for success. To get this right a CFO needs a sound knowledge of the day-to-day operational areas that are critical in all business – such as working capital management, margin improvement, controls, systems and reporting quality – but his involvement is more one of overseeing than a “hands-on” interaction. The CFO role is essentially strategic in nature and he should focus on the FUTURE of the business and how to maximize the return on the most important scarce resource of them all…YOUR CASH!The PAST and the PRESENT should be the responsibility of your Auditor and financial management team respectively.We have often heard entrepreneurs and business owners say that in the past they have relied on their intuition and “gut-feel” to make financial decisions and have largely made the correct decisions, but their companies are of such a size now that one mistake at that level could spell disaster for the company and while they still rely heavily on their intuition and “gut-feel”, they need an experienced financial person to put some science behind the intuition and limit the risk of making wrong decisions.
A Part-time or Interim CFO from The Finance Team will add value in the following critical areas of your business: Operational Efficiencies:
- Working Capital Management
- Margin Improvement
- Reporting Quality
- Financial Forecasting/Financial Modelling/Scenario Planning/ Sensitivity Analysis
- Risk assessment and mitigation
- Issues surrounding Capital Structure/Weighted Average Cost of Capital /Investment Strategy Valuations and Exit Strategy
- Internal and External funding requirements and relationships.