Pro Business advice

Addressing staffing gaps with a virtual CFO

Staffing has been a major talking point for many of our clients in the past few months, and we know businesses right across Hawke’s Bay are having similar issues. The market is tough, and businesses are having to manage competing priorities for their time and resources.

A permanent staff member might not be a priority, or the scope of the role may not require someone permanently – or you might just be struggling to find the right person. That’s where a virtual Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or temporary resource can help.

What is a virtual CFO?

When business owners think virtual CFO, they often envision someone operating at a strategic level, directing key financial matters. And while the virtual CFO role does allow for this, the scope covered by this role can vary from business to business or project to project. A virtual CFO allows organisations to get the benefits of a CFO and dedicated finance department without the commitment of permanently employing someone in this role. They can act as a trusted partner and sounding board for key business decisions or simply keep your finance department on track. One of the key benefits of a virtual CFO is that the role is fully scalable and can be specifically customised to meet the current needs of your business. No matter what stage of business you’re at, how big your operation is, or how long you need support for, a virtual CFO solution can be tailored to you.

When might you use a virtual CFO As an interim recruitment solution

The Hawke’s Bay market is tough when it comes to attracting top talent, which means businesses can often have gaps between hires. Recruitment for a CFO role can present challenges for organisations that need day-to-day business support. A virtual CFO can address this and plug the gaps while you’re searching for the right person.

When budgets are tight

The current economic climate means many businesses just don’t have the budget to hire a full-time, permanent CFO. With a virtual CFO, you get the security and expertise of a national network along with the local relationship and insights that come with engaging a Hawke’s Bay adviser.

Experienced experts can pull from a wide range of resources that other businesses and contractors may not have on hand, from business specialists to strategic and financial analysis tools. Our scalability and flexibility mean we can take on everything from a few days’ worth of work through to much larger-scale projects, with the ability to extend should you need more support. The flexibility also extends to the level of individuals available to undergo each stage of the project, from data entry through to analysis, reporting and implementation. We can work within a pre-agreed budget or scope of work, so you’ll always know what you’re getting.

On a project basis We know not every organisation wants or needs a fulltime CFO, but there are times during the year when that level of expertise is required. You can engage a virtual CFO for specific projects or periods of time. We all know that following Cyclone Gabrielle, many businesses were struggling to collate reports required for insurance claims or were overwhelmed with trying to re-forecast their cashflow or refinance.

It is these instances that we see the virtual CFO service become a lifeline for businesses to ensure that they are best placed and informed when forward planning.

About the author: Lisa Townshend is a Business Advisory Partner with BDO. She has extensive experience assisting both small and medium sized entities with a wide range of advisory services. BDO Hawke’s Bay are Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors. The firm is an independent member of BDO New Zealand and part of the global BDO network.