Why one of 2020’s hottest nonprofit trends will continue to be the rise of the virtual CFO.
CFO. Chief Financial Officer. Head Honcho of All the Numbers.
If you’ve ever met one, your mental picture of a traditional CFO is likely one of a middle-aged white guy wearing glasses, khakis, and a button down shirt hunched over a computer with paperwork all over his desk. Let’s call him Bob.
We’re happy to report that, while Bob lives on in many businesses, a growing trend in finance is about to disrupt the C-suite for good. Enter the outsourced, virtual CFO, or vCFO.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, vCFOs may be called outsourced, part-time, or fractional CFOs. Google those terms and be amazed at the number of results. We think that 2020 will be another banner year for outsourced CFOs everywhere, so we thought it might be time to break it down for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
vCFOs may either be a firm or an individual. Usually they are CPAs, senior accountants or bookkeepers, or other experienced and educated individuals who’ve held CFO or senior finance or accounting roles in the past. Likely female (more than half of all accountants in the US are women), these folks are highly skilled numbers nerds who can fill the CFO role just as well as (better than?) Bob.
What does an outsourced CFO do? She may be charged with a variety of tasks including bookkeeping, accounting, month-end closes, payroll, and financial reporting. But the real leverage in a vCFO is the strategic guidance and financial planning she provides. Interpreting financial data in a way that makes sense to other members of the C-suite is job #1. The rest of the job is to take a proactive approach to finance with sustainability in mind. A vCFO helps organizations streamline its financial systems and processes, develop strategic budgets, manage financial risk, raise capital, and figure out exactly what is needed to get from where your business or nonprofit is today to where you would like it to go.
A growing number of nonprofits and social enterprises turn to vCFOs for these reasons:
When to hire a vCFO is something we’ll cover in a future blog, but a different type of when question we get about Blue Fox is: when can we call you? The answer is: anytime. One big bonus of a vCFO is that, in most cases, they are available to support you, ask questions, present at meetings, and generally do whatever you need them to do anytime. 100% uptime, to poach a tech industry phrase. That’s because vCFO firms like ours pair a bookkeeper and a senior accountant on each client’s work. You can always reach someone on your virtual finance team and you’re never left in the lurch. Again, our singular agenda is: support you and your organization to the best of our ability at all times.
(5) WHERE & HOW
This is an easy one – outsourced CFOs can be remote and tend to deliver their services through cloud-based technology. It’s actually the recent evolutions in cloud-based accounting tech that make what we do possible – 10 years ago, the tech just wasn’t there. But now we can work with any client anywhere at any time. As a vCFO client, that also means you can pick from the nation’s top service providers, rather than just your local market. You can source vCFOs who specialize in your industry, and they can work for you from anywhere. Video and conference calls bridge the communications gaps, and our cloud-based tools allow us to securely exchange data and provide live, real-time accounting information all day long.
Hopefully, now you can see why one of 2020’s hottest business trends will continue to be the rise of the virtual CFO. Your nonprofit or social enterprise can be an early adopter. Start the new year off with fresh and clean books, and the leverage a vCFO can provide to ensure you lead with 20/20 vision for this year and beyond!
Author: Blue Fox Founder & CEO, Chantal Sheehan
Welcome to the Blue Fox Blog! A fairly entertaining source of info and news related to our company, nonprofits, social sector trends, and, of course, accounting. Enjoy!
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