If your business is expanding and your commercial needs have outgrown your finance team’s expertise, it might be worth considering the benefits of a virtual financial director. Analysis of current financial data as well as guidance on the future financial management of your company is crucial to ongoing success.
Look no further than your accountant to provide this service. It makes business sense - your accountant is familiar with your operation, has a handle on your figures and a partnership is established and works well. Many accountants now offer an outsourced FD service with business coaching, saving their clients a fortune in employing an FD in-house. In addition, they have access to sophisticated software to analyse business performance and due to their experience with a range of clients can often offer more wide ranging advice than an in-house employee.
So let’s evaluate the benefits of a virtual financial director. Trust us to know - Rowdens provides this service to its clients and can vouch for the value it brings to their business.
Keep your costs down
Whilst the business may require the knowledge of an FD, that expertise may not be needed on a full-time basis. Not only that, but consider the financial costs of attracting and employing someone to a senior position (and the higher salary an FD commands) whilst your organisation is continuing to find its feet. It’s a gamble and a leap of faith.
You’ll then ask yourself the question, ‘Are there part-time FDs out there?’
Of course there are and at Rowdens, we pride ourselves on being flexible to individual business requirements. The added bonus is that a part-time FD doesn't necessarily need to be added to your headcount.
What services can a virtual FD provide?
So you know that you’re looking for expertise, that degree of certainty and continuity. What else will the virtual FD provide - how else will they support your business operations?
The services virtual financial directors can provide include:
- Real-time financial data
- Preparation and review of monthly management accounts
- Advising on accounting systems and cloud-based applications
- Preparation of budgets and monitoring thereof
- Cash flow management and forecasts
- Annual compliance service for year-end accounts, audit and taxation
- Input to monthly meetings
- Ongoing contact with key business partners i.e. bank manager
- Accounts team liaison
- Identification of training requirements for accounts team
- Overseeing recruitment and management of finance staff
- Provision of the latest information concerning regulatory changes.
One of the critical roles a virtual FD can play is to offer an additional strategic string to your bow. Obviously you’ll have access to the latest accounts and figures, but you’ll also have the advantage of strategic advice and insight. Reports on the current health of your business, as well as access to forecast data and analysis ensures the focus continues to be on driving ongoing commercial success.
On top of the typical role of an FD, you should expect a virtual FD to become a part of your team, just like any other team member. That's exactly our modus operandi at Rowdens. Whilst you benefit from our specialist services and financial focus, you can concentrate on other areas of your business.
A virtual FD can safeguard your financial interests, freeing you and your management team to consolidate and build on your commercial success. The service should be established in such a way that it’s scaleable and built around key milestones in the financial calendar.
An additional benefit is that a virtual FD will bring a different perspective to your business. If you find yourself having a ‘wood for the trees’ moment, a fresh approach can inject dynamism, creativity and motivation. Also consider the peace of mind you’ll experience by having a virtual FD on hand to ensure the financial management of the business is sound and meets compliance regulations.
Your virtual FD will be your business coach - we're here to help
Think of us as your business coach - who will:
- Help you define your key business goals
Does the business need to diversify, expand overseas? Are those goals set for short, medium or long term?
- Offer guidance on how to achieve these goals
Which parts of the business need to change? Which elements need to be let go? Which expectations are realistic and which aren’t?
- Provide insight which unpicks potential opportunities
Where are the gaps in the market? Does the business have a competitive edge - or what is needed to gain one? Can the business support a change in direction?
- Support the business in the planning for success
Are goals and timeframes realistic?
- Account for external influences
This includes VAT, National Insurance and other tax changes as well as identify trends within the company’s relevant industry.
- Advise on how to measure performance and success
What metrics and timeframes should be applied.
- Provide ongoing review against business targets
Why is there variance against expectation? How can these variances be built into the Business Plan? The FD will build in a provision for potential issues so you can agree a way forward.
Financial expertise at your side
In conclusion, a virtual FD will give your business all the expertise and knowledge of a full-time financial director, but with lower costs.
Services can be added or enhanced to react to the needs of the business which also adds to cost efficiencies.
Typically, smaller companies struggle with cash flow management; your virtual FD will keep a regular eye on your position and offer advice on how to manage cash more efficiently.
A virtual FD will drive your financial strategy, offer insights with a fresh perspective as well as keep your financial management costs down. With this level of expertise at your side, small businesses should give some serious thought to a collaboration with a dedicated (yet virtual) financial guru.
Contact us at Rowdens to discuss how we can help bring a virtual FD onto your team and add real value to your business.