What is an Outsourced CFO?


An outsourced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is an experienced business finance executive. They offer their knowledge to businesses on a part-time consulting basis. Also, outsourced CFOs usually have an Accounting or Finance designation (e.g. CPA or CFA). Or they have an extensive accounting and finance background. In addition, they have usually held full-time CFO or senior finance executive positions at corporations.

Companies that use an outsourced CFO are often small to mid-market businesses with complex financial needs. But without the need or resources to hire a full-time CFO. Examples may include startup companies that are approaching a seed, series A or series B raise, and growth companies that are on the IPO track. Or established small to medium businesses that are undertaking a pivot or an acquisition.

It’s common to use outsourced, part-time options while preparing to hire a full time CFO. If this sounds like you, keep reading!

Outsourced CFO job description

Outsourced CFOs duties can cover a lot of ground, depending on the needs of the client. In short, their focus areas are:

Corporate Development and Investor Activity

  • Providing advice on merger and acquisition opportunities. Coordinating with third party valuation experts and financiers
  • Offering guidance to management about investment/M&A term sheets and processes
  • Providing transparency to the board of directors in regards to reporting structures
  • Guiding management on preparing to go public (e.g. IPO, RTO)

Financial Management, Financial Planning, and Analysis

  • Managing cash flow
  • Preparing financial forecasts for management use
  • Preparing budgets with and for business units
  • Reporting progress towards goals, and budget to actuals
  • Overseeing FP&A functions
  • Providing “what-if” analysis, scenario analysis, and decision support

Internal Controls and Corporate Governance

  • Establishing appropriate internal controls (e.g. approvals processes, guidance on operating procedures, redundancy/oversight, reporting and systems)
  • Considering risk in everything from IT security to employee agreements
  • Establishing appropriate frequency and content of board/investor updates,

Compliance and Audit

  • Communicating with auditors and overseeing the audit process
  • Overseeing corporate tax, payroll tax, sales tax and other filings

Financial Reporting, KPIs

  • Helping the management team with setting meaningful goals
  • Defining KPIs and the data needed to support them. As well as reporting progress
  • Defining dashboards and reports that help create alignment within the organization

Common Outsourced CFO Rates

Outsourced CFOs provide high-value services. They are very experienced, and are usually in the middle to late stages of their career. Because of this, you can expect the consulting rates for outsourced CFOs to be at premium levels. Look for prices equal to other senior service professionals for businesses. Like senior accountants and lawyers. You might find that fees are in the range of $200 to $300 per hour. Or up to $500 per hour for certain services. Some part-time CFOs offer fixed monthly rates for convenience . Look for rates in the range of $2500 to $15,000 per month depending on the scope of work.

Outsourced CFO Companies

Some part-time CFOs choose to start their own companies. This way they can offer CFO services as well as other common accounting and finance services. There are benefits to working with an outsourced CFO company vs. an individual. First, you have a wider range of skills in their team. Secondly, they may have other staff like accountants and bookkeepers that can handle a more work, and a wide range of work, at a lower blended rate.

Therefore, these kinds of companies are an excellent choice for earlier stage companies. Especially those that do not yet have a solid accounting and finance team. Startups often struggle too long with just a bookkeeper. So, boost the team with a senior accountant, controller, tax specialist, payroll specialist, reporting/analysis specialist and finance systems specialist resources from an outsourced CFO firm. This way you can better meet workflow needs before starting to build these roles in house.

Entreflow is one of the leading Outsourced CFO Companies in Canada (Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON) and offers CFO Services to companies across Canada and the USA.

Helina Patience, CPA, CMA
Author: Helina Patience, Founder, CPA, CMA, BA (Hons), BEd

Helina is a CPA, CMA with over fifteen years of experience in finance & HR within multinational companies, across many industries. Also the CEO of entreflow consulting group where I help small to medium-sized businesses get organized, grow, and crush their goals. I hold vast global experience after living and working in Australia, India, the UK and Ireland. Connect on LinkedIn.

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