Every owner managed business needs a strong finance function
11 March 2020
There is always a debate around whether there is any natural succession from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The two roles probably require a slightly different set of skills, however many have made the step in the belief that the former position has given a wider set of management and leadership skills.
From personal experience and working closely with a wide range of businesses, we know that often, the Finance Director is one of the Owner Manager’s closest friends in the workplace. Their in-depth knowledge of the business means that they see everything.
So what about businesses that don’t have a Finance Director?
Along the way it is hard to ignore that many owner managed businesses, as they grow and develop, will require investment in the core functions of a business to enable them to strengthen the structure to allow continued growth and perhaps ultimately exit..
As in our own business, we review the functionality and requirement to enhance these disciplines, such as Sales & Marketing, Operations, People, Administration and Finance and the importance of leadership in each area.
It’s the finance function that can play a big part in the understanding of these requirements and ultimately enable better decision making. Making good decisions is the peak of the finance hierarchy – by processing the data, releasing timely and accurate reporting, making sense of the numbers and then looking outwards, the quality of the decisions will only get better.
As business advisors we can help to bridge this gap, working closely with our clients to understand their goals, share our knowledge and challenge their thinking if needed, bringing ideas and a fresh look at the business. Our approach is one of collaboration to help business owners deliver on their ambition.
business owners without a Finance Director should ask themselves the following questions:
Who processes your Data?
Is your management information timely and accurate?
Do you receive clearly presented information?
Do you understand the numbers and therefore understand the business?
Do you look outwards?
Could you make better decisions if all of the above were improved?
what about new technology ?
The rise in technology has without question improved key segments of the finance function, especially in volume driven processing, however to enable a strong finance function you still need good people, whether they are to be recruited or outsourced to professional business advisors and accountants. Highly skilled and experienced finance professionals give owner managers the comfort to make better decisions.
If you have your own business and have experienced working capital issues, you may wish to revisit the business in general or may immediately feel that the structure of the finance function is the limiting factor to moving forward.
Part of growing your business is about making better decisions at every level and making better decisions is enhanced from a deeper knowledge and a better understanding of your business.
Our Business Performance Improvement team can help you determine the areas of the business that need attention and help you put in place a plan to improve the certainty of the information and the outcomes from this.