As a partner with B2B CFO® I am often asked by those investigating the firm, “Just what do I do in an assignment?”. They ask about the type of work am I looking for and what I accomplish for my clients. What I love about my work is that no two clients are alike and because of this, I am always learning. I will describe some of my work to show not only what I initially do for the client, but how I turn this into an ongoing CFO assignment.
First, because of my affiliation with B2B CFO® I have access to information and best practices in almost any industry. This has allowed me to work in many diverse industries far from my core experience, which was construction, commercial real estate and not for profit. Accordingly I have had clients in retail, manufacturing, professional services, distribution, and education as well as in my core experience. What I have determined is that as you move from industry to industry in the small to mid-market, 85% of business is the same; it is the last 15% you need to focus on. What drives revenue and cost of this revenue is the distinguishing feature of any industry and if you can understand this, you can speak into it.
Usually I am brought into a client situation because there is pain. On client hired me to help them deal with a past payroll tax filing and paying problem. Since payroll taxes had not been filed or paid in 2 years there was a concern about how to correct this. I did this by cleaning up the accounting system, outsourced the payroll and bookkeeping operation, filed the tax returns, assisted the client in negotiations with the IRS and developed a cash forecast to help the client understand their financial situation. Because of the trust built up helping them with their problem, they kept me on to help with ongoing financial projections and decision making. I have been working with this client for over 2 years.
I have a second situation where the owner of a business saw red ink coming due to a declining market for his services. He brought me in with the statement that I do not want a “burn rate”. I developed a detailed cash projection for him along with recommendations on how to manage the business downward and still stay profitable. His business has declined by 67% but we have been profitable every year. I have been working with this client for over three years; again due to the value I brought to him he saw the gap in his internal financial operation that I continue to fill.
The benefit of being a partner with B2B CFO® is the wealth of knowledge I can draw from my partners. In the first example, I had never worked with the IRS like this before, so I reached out to my partners to see who had. I connected with a partner who was dealing with the same situation but was about a month in front of me. He gave me the game plan and I executed. The benefit of having a national firm and over 200 partners as my peers is something I would never trade.