The Outsourced CFO as Superhero
A fractional or outsourced CFO has a particularly challenging job. They are often tasked with saving a company from financial horrors (instantaneously) while simultaneously creating trusted relationships with company leaders and employees. In short, they are asked to do one thing: become a superhero.
Superheros have special qualities. They can see what’s wrong and fix it. They can quickly identify who is an ally, fan, or enemy. And they use those powers to create miracles and long-lasting influence.
To help you be a successful outsourced CFO superhero, you’ll need to find your allies starting the first day on the job. Here’s who you should meet, find common ground, and partner with to solve strategic problems.
Founders, Executives, and Stakeholders
Founders are special. They birthed the company from an idea, and their original vision remains a part of them. You need to understand that vision, how it was created, and where the company is today because of it. Were the founders solving a problem, sharing a family recipe, or serving a greater mission? Find out what drove them to start the company, and you’ll understand the Big Picture of how your services fit into the company’s goals.
Executives and stakeholders often have the heavy responsibility for operational performance. Is the company profitable? Are they losing market share? Is there a new competitor in town? These are the questions that keep them up at night that you’re tasked to solve. Understand their fears, and later you’ll see if the actual financial results justify their concerns.
The Accounting Team
Your client’s accounting team may vary from a 25-year veteran to a new graduate who barely knows a debit from a credit. No matter what their experience, you’re now their boss and you’ll have to earn their respect. Uncover their interests, skills, what they do, and don’t like about their job, as well as process improvement recommendations. Their strengths and weaknesses will be an advantage (or a barrier) to your success.
Conversely, you may already be providing outsourced bookkeeping for your client. In that instance, you must make sure your team knows the company values, culture, and dynamics. They are now an extension of your client and need to understand the client’s vision and goals.
Your goal is to develop relationships with your accounting team, so that they will follow you into the future. You’re likely to make some big changes in the coming weeks and months, so having them on board from Day One will support your success.
Eventually, you’ll interact with other departments, peers, vendors, and customers and develop relationships with them. Much like a superhero, they’ll hear the “word on the street” about you from the executive branch and your staff, so your good reputation will proceed you.
You’ll use your expertise to know the numbers and make recommendations. But those recommendations will have to get implemented so if people respect and trust you, it will make your life easier. People will go to great lengths to support a superhero, so use your wit, wisdom, and knowledge to build relationships and influence within the company.
What’s Your Superhero Story?
Have you been a Superhero CFO? What’s your best story on how you helped to save a client company? Just comment below and let others share in your success.
And if you’re ready to put on your superhero cape, Vic.ai can help you become a CFO Superhero and earn the respect you deserve. We’ve developed a webinar that helps leaders like you understand what you need to do on day one to be successful as an Outsourced CFO. Watch our webinar recording, Top 10 Outsourced CFO Quick Wins, to find out more about serving your Outsourced CFO clients.