In today’s economy, hiring the right financial professional is critical to a company’s success. You need to make sure you have the right person who fits your company’s needs. Many mid-size business owners struggle or ask themselves, “Do I need a Controller or a CFO”? Everyone’s situation is different.
When looking for that person, you first need to know what is generally considered the difference between a Controller and a CFO.
A Controller is typically the day-to-day manager of the tactical accounting issues. The CFO serves more as a strategic advisor to the owner or CEO. A CFO also tends to become more involved with operational issues outside the accounting department.
Many questions should be asked by an Owner or President to determine what level of person you need to lead your financial function.
1. What are my growth projections? What will my company look like in 3 years and what will my needs to be in financial leadership?
2. Am I looking for my right hand person to advise me on a number of strategic, financial as well as operational issues?
3. How is my communication and relationship with my Bank? Do I get them accurate information on-time as requested? Do they have confidence in my lead financial person? How important is that to the bank?
4. How involved do I as the CEO or owner want to be in the financial matters?
5. Do I need to improve my budget process and disciplines? How about my strategic planning process and execution?
6. Do I need someone to negotiate risk insurance, benefits, and other key contracts for my company?
7. Do I just need a day-to-day manager to get tasks done such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, collections, reporting, month-end close, and payroll?
8. Do I need help to recruit, build and manage the accounting department? Will this be their primary focus or do I need someone who will get outside the accounting function to the other departments and locations?
9. Do I need to prepare a financial and management reporting package for Senior Management and the Board of Directors?
10. Do I need someone to interact with my Board or ownership group?
11. Am I capitalized right or do I need to raise more money?
12. How do I plan on growing – organically or through acquisition?
13. Do I need my financial professional to manage other areas such HR, IT, Administration, etc.?
These are all key elements you need to think about before you start looking for your financial professional. Having the right scorecard or roadmap can be the difference of a company that grows and thrives or one that does not get to the next level.