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Vision, drive, ambition, innovation. These are the qualities usually attributed to small businesses that grow into big successes. The truth, however, is a lot more mundane: Most companies sustain growth through sound financial leadership.

Growth requires two things. The first is the ability to see opportunities in the market, seize those opportunities, and maximize their long-term impact. Having a CFO or controller in place is crucial in this regard. The second is the opposite, being able to see obstacles in advance and avoid them entirely. Without a finance leader in place, this is almost impossible.

Companies without a CFO or controller won’t necessarily stall out. But they will struggle to accomplish their objectives and envision what comes next. If your company is on the cusp of growth or adapting to a recent expansion – into another country for example – it’s worth asking if financial leadership is a missing asset.

The Limitations of Ordinary Accounting

Most small businesses rely on an in-house bookkeeper, accountant, or a small team of both. They handle routine tasks like running payroll, closing the books, and paying the tax bill. Those things are all essential, but they’re also backward-looking – things that have already happened that the company is simply keeping a record of. Accountants and bookkeepers can show a company where it’s been but not where it’s going.

As their name would imply, financial leaders do just the opposite. Their role is to provide the foresight and strategic thinking that companies need to engineer growth. CFOs and controllers provide critical insights into cash flow predictions, GAAP accounting, revenue collection, and the intricacies of international business. They also provide strong financial stewardship that institutional lenders and venture capitalists expect to see in the companies they choose to back.

Without financial leadership, companies lack the experience and expertise they need to scale what they do across borders, into new markets, or towards a strategic acquisition. Simply stated, they’re stuck in the status quo. Bringing a CFO or controller into the mix can shift a company’s focus from backward to forward.

A New Approach to Financial Leadership

The question facing small businesses is when and how to hire a CFO or financial executive? Qualified professionals don’t come cheaply or easily, but traditional hires aren’t the only option, either.

The services of CFOs and controllers are now available on an outsourced basis. Complex tasks like financial reporting, financial statement analysis, and bank loan compliance can be completed by offsite professionals who understand the details of client companies as well as they understand the intricacies of finance. Outsourced financial leadership is the true equal of in-house executives, only at a fraction of the cost and without the challenges of recruiting and onboarding.

CDH offers outsourced financial leadership, along with a range of other support and consultancy services designed to help promising businesses realize their full potential. When you’re ready to explore this asset further, please contact our team to discuss what’s possible.