At any level of business ownership, there are financial roles that need to be filled. It could be keeping track of your day-to-day numbers, filing taxes, or strategic financial planning. Your numbers indicate the health of your business. Many business owners never look too deeply at their finances as long as enough money is coming in to maintain the day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, that method creates a block to growth and financial abundance.
So, let’s outline the three primary small business financial roles you need in your business. Whether you plan to add one of these roles soon or in the DIY phase, it is important to know what each service offers and how it could help your long-term business success.
The term bookkeeper can seem all-encompassing for anything financial-related in a small business, but a bookkeeper has particular responsibilities. Think of a bookkeeper as a data collector. They take your financial data, organize it and generate financial statements. Some of the duties of a bookkeeper could include:
- Review and record financial transactions.
- Reconcile bank accounts regularly.
- Prepare financial statements.
- Manage accounts receivable (payments to your business).
- Process accounts payable (bills your business needs to pay).
- Work with your tax preparer to ensure they have all the data to file your business taxes.
- They may take on some payroll functions if that is part of the scope of your business needs.
A bookkeeper will make it possible to budget, identify your business’s financial trends, and plan for the future.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
A CPA or Certified Public Accountant is usually all about taxes. You can find CPAs that also offer bookkeeping services but we will focus on CPA-specific tasks here. While a bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining and reporting a record of financial transactions, a CPA is responsible for reporting those numbers to the government for tax purposes. They will also provide advice on managing tax burden better, paying less in taxes, and generally offering financial advice. Some job duties of a CPA include:
- Prepare and analyzing financial records
- Act as a client representative with the IRS for any issues that arise
- Create accounting procedures for clients
- Conduct regular audits
- Prepare and file tax returns
- Perform forensic accounting reviews if money is missing from the business
Not all CPAs are created equal or do the same thing. It’s important to ask questions when hiring a CPA to make sure your expectations and needs align with their expertise and services being provided.
A fractional CFO, which we are here at 4 Corners CFO, can be thought of as the air traffic control for the financial health of your business. We take a high-level view of your business finances and strategically plan for long-term success. A fractional CFO can offer the following:
- Prepare financial plans that align with your short and long term goals
- Help develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your financial goals
- Analyze your business financial strengths and weaknesses and suggestions for how to improve
- Analyze pricing and profit margins with suggestions for improvement
- Assist with raising capital
- Prepare financial presentations for stakeholders
- Perform ongoing financial planning and analysis, which includes budgeting, forecasting, and assessing long and short-term financial needs
If you have looked into hiring a bookkeeper, CPA, or CFO, you may have noticed that their services often overlap. You will find that bookkeepers and CPAs can offer similar services, and CPAs and CFOs might have similar offerings. We are frequently asked which role is the most important. In most cases, businesses do not go from start-up to needing a CFO initially. As your business grows, your financial needs will as well. The first two roles that all small businesses should hire as soon as possible are:
- Tax Preparation – No business owner should be preparing their taxes unless you are a CPA or Enrolled Agent. Business taxes can be far more complicated than your personal taxes. A professional will ensure they are completed correctly.
- Bookkeeping – Once you have some reliable income, a bookkeeper can keep all the numbers in order. They reconcile your accounts and create reports, so you are informed about the financial status of your business.
Depending on the packages and pricing available, a virtual or fractional CFO is an excellent hire once you begin to see six figures in revenue. At 4 Corners CFO, we offer packages with less frequent interaction but equally proven processes to help small businesses grow beyond their six-figure breakthrough. We believe a virtual CFO is absolutely necessary once you hit about 500K in revenue. This is generally when business owners need to think very strategically about the long-term financial plan for their business, and a CFO is a role that will create a proactive and strategic plan. Our job as your virtual CFO is to walk alongside you, guide you, and prepare you for the ups and downs of business ownership. Our interest is in the long-term financial health of your business and in helping you meet the goals you have over time, not just in the near future.
At 4 Corners CFO, we have relationships with great bookkeepers and CPAs that we communicate with on your behalf. Think of us as the financial team captain. We work with you to create a strategic financial plan and then lead the financial team to ensure that everything happens as it should.
Our clients are looking for someone to ensure the financial health of their business without having to be hands-on every day. They want to be free to work in their zone of genius and do the work they are passionate about. Since business financial strategy and execution are in our zone of genius, we are delighted to bring our approach and trusted contacts to our clients.
What Financial Roles Does Your Business Need Right Now?
Now that you know the difference between the three primary financial roles needed in your business, are you ready to hire? Or are you in the DIY phase? At 4 Corners CFO, we always recommend bringing on a trusted fractional CFO as early as possible. They can help you become more profitable at a faster rate in the long run.
We also know that hiring a CFO is not feasible at every stage of business. Luckily, many excellent resources are available to help you DIY your business finances like a pro! If you have not yet broken into the six-figure revenue range or aren’t quite ready to make a long-term commitment one of our favorite programs is Balance CFO’s Finacial Fitness Formula. Jaime is about to launch the next round in April. You can get a taste of her program when you Create Your Proffit Plan.
We love Financial Fitness Formula because it covers the nuts and bolts of business finances and digs into many of the mindset issues that women business owners face. We have found that mindset issues, like scarcity thinking or not deserving financial success, often hold our clients back more than anything else, and this program meets those challenges head-on.
You will also be guided through topics like financial goal setting, building your financial support team, and pricing strategies, to name a few. If you would like to take a quick quiz to find out if this program is right for you, click here!
Whether you are ready to bring on a professional to fill your financial roles, or need support in DIY’ing your finances while your business grows, we have you covered! Schedule a complimentary discovery call to discuss your options and see how we can help you reach your financial goals.