Your Company Has Sustainable Growth. Does Your Financial Team?

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Financial Strategy

If you’re CEO of a growing company that has sustainable growth, you face a unique set of challenges specific to growth. Challenges that demand you make the hard decisions that will support continued success.

One of the most common challenges has to do with managing employees – especially those who’ve been with you from the start, but have not keep pace with your company. Most frequently, this happens in the area of finance.

In fledgling companies, the financial department is typically run by a bookkeeper or accountant. This person is usually successful early on because they have the necessary skills to manage the financials of a company just starting out. They’re often so successful that they’re promoted to “Controller.”

Then the company begins to grow, and so does the amount and complexity of the financial work required to run it. As a result, errors get made and the company may even face a cash crunch.

What the owner of every growing company needs to recognize is that investing in an experienced Controller at the onset of growth is essential to maintaining that growth.

But even with the best Controller on board, you still cannot afford to forgo strategic financial advice during growth.

Enter the difference between a Controller and a CFO.

A CFO is skilled at answering the financial strategy questions that will help your company navigate both growth and downturns. CFOs are more forward-looking than Controllers. A strong CFO will not just keep your department running, but will advice of you potential pitfalls so that you can avoid them.

Can your strong Controller become your strong CFO?

Some Controllers have the “book learning” to take on high-level financial management, but not the experience. In these cases, you can:

• Bring in a part-time CFO to assess your Controller’s skills and coach the gaps.
• Bring in a part-time CFO to handle what your Controller can’t.
• Replace your Controller with a full-time CFO or a more experienced Controller who will eventually be able to fill the financial strategy role.

Remember, inexperience is not a crime. There’s no reason to feel “bad” for looking hard at your financial team’s ability. Your company is growing and growth means change.

Smart business owners treat their employees as their most valuable asset and understand that means respecting them enough to honestly assess their performance.

Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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